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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Loving Laili"

Loving Laili

By degrees he got tired and went slower, and a crow came and perched on his back, and said "Caw, caw." "Oh, Mr. Crow," said the poor fish "do see what is in my stomach that makes such a noise."

"Very well," said the crow, "open your mouth wide, and I'll fly down and see."

So the Rohu opened his jaws and the crow flew down, but he came up again very quickly. "You have a Rakshas in your stomach," said the crow, and he flew away.

This news did not comfort the poor Rohu, and he swam on and on till he came to Prince Majnun's country. There he stopped. And a jackal came down to the river to drink. "Oh, jackal," said the Rohu "do tell me what I have inside me."

"How can I tell?" said the jackal. "I cannot see unless I go inside you." So the Rohu opened his mouth wide, and the jackal jumped down his throat; but he came up very quickly, looking much frightened and saying, "You have a Rakshas in your stomach, and if I don't run away quickly, I am afraid it will eat me." So off he ran. After the jackal came an enormous snake. "Oh," says the fish, "do tell me what I have in my stomach, for it rattles about so, and keeps saying, 'Majnun, Majnun; I want Majnun.'"

The snake said, "Open your mouth wide, and I'll go down and see what it is." The snake went down: when he returned he said, "You have a Rakshas in your stomach, but if you will let me cut you open, it will come out of you." "If you do that, I shall die," said the Rohu. "Oh, no," said the snake, "you will not, for I will give you a medicine that will make you quite well again." So the fish agreed, and the snake got a knife and cut him open, and out jumped Laili.

She was now very old. Twelve years she had wandered about the jungle, and for twelve years she had lived inside her Rohu; and she was no longer beautiful, and had lost her teeth. The snake took her on his back and carried her into the country, and there he put her down, and she wandered on and on till she got to Majnun's court-house, where King Majnun was sitting.

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