A Royal Thief-Catcher
When the king heard that the doctor had ordered Matri-Datta to take the juice of the nagaballa plant, he cried "No more doctors need come to see me!" and after sending away the one who had told him what he wanted to know, he gave orders that Matri-Datta should be sent for at once.
13. Can you guess why the king sent for the doctors?
14. Do you think Matri-Datta had anything to do with stealing the Brahman's treasure?
Ill and suffering though he was, Matri-Datta did not dare disobey the king: so he came at once. As soon as he appeared, Prasnajit asked him how he was, and said he was sorry to have to make him leave his home when he was ill, but the matter on which he wished to see him was of very great importance. Then he suddenly added: "When your doctor ordered you to take the juice of the nagaballa plant whom did you send to find it?"
To this Matri-Datta replied trembling with fear: "My servant, O king, sought it in the forest; and having found it, brought it to me."
"Go back and send that servant to me immediately," was the reply; and the merchant hurried away, wondering very much why the king wanted to see the man, and hoping that he himself would not get into disgrace on account of anything he had done to make Prasnajit angry.
15. Have you any idea why the king wanted the servant sent to him?
16. From what the story tells you so far, do you think Prasnajit was a good ruler of his kingdom?
When Matri-Datta told his servant that he was to go to the palace to see the king, the man was dreadfully frightened, and begged his master not to make him go. This made Matri-Datta pretty sure that he had done something wrong and was afraid of being found out. "Go at once," he said, "and whatever you do, speak the truth to the king. That will be your only chance if you have offended him." Again and again the servant entreated Matri-Datta not to insist, and when he found it was no good, he asked him at least to come with him to the palace and plead for him with Prasnajit.