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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "A Royal Thief-Catcher"

A Royal Thief-Catcher

He had also heard that the Brahman meant to kill himself, and this distressed him more than anything else, because he thought it a very wicked and terrible thing to do.

The king stood so exactly in the path of the Brahman that it was impossible to pass him by without taking any notice of him, and the unhappy man stood still, hanging down his head and looking very miserable. Without waiting for a moment, Prasnajit said to the Brahman: "Do not grieve any more. I will find your treasure for you, and give it back to you; or if I fail to do so I will pay you as much as it was worth out of my own purse: for I cannot bear to think of your killing yourself. Now tell me very carefully where you hid your gold and jewels, and everything about the place, to help me to make sure of it."

The Brahman was greatly delighted to hear this, because he knew full well that the king would keep his word, and that, even if his own treasure was never found, he would have plenty of money given to him by the king. He at once told Prasnajit exactly where he had put his store, and offered to take him there. The king agreed to go with him at once, and he and the Brahman went straight away to the big hole in the forest, the attendants following them a little way behind.

11. If you had been the king, how would you have set about finding the treasure?

12. Was it a good or a bad thing for the Brahman to have secured the help of the king?

Chapter VII

After the king had seen the big empty hole, and noticed exactly where it was, and the nearest way to it from the town, he returned to his palace, first telling the Brahman to go back to the house he lived in, and wait there till he received a message from him. He promised to see that he wanted for nothing, and sent one of his attendants to a rich merchant of Sravasti, who had already done a good deal for the Brahman, to order him to supply the holy man with all he needed. Very glad that after all he was not going to die, the Brahman obeyed willingly, and for the next few days he was taken care of by the merchant, who supplied him with plenty of food.

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