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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Loving Laili"

Loving Laili

Then she must go to the palace, and she will only regain her human shape when Prince Majnun loves her, feeds her with his own food, and lets her sleep in his bed."

So the angel came to Laili again as a fakir and carried her to King Dantal's garden. "Now," he said, "it is Khuda's command that you stay here till Prince Majnun comes to walk in the garden, and then you may show yourself to him. But you must not speak to him, if he is afraid of you; and should he be afraid of you, you will the next day become a little white dog." He then told her what she must do as a little dog to regain her human form.

Laili stayed in the garden, hidden in the tall grass, till Prince Majnun and Husain Mahamat came to walk in the garden. King Dantal was now a very old man, and Husain Mahamat, though he was really only as old as Prince Majnun, looked a great deal older than the prince, who had been made quite young again when he married Laili.

As Prince Majnun and the Wazir's son walked in the garden, they gathered the fruit as they had done as little children, only they bit the fruit with their teeth; they did not cut it. While Majnun was busy eating a fruit in this way, and was talking to Husain Mahamat, he turned towards him and saw Laili walking behind the Wazir's son.

"Oh, look, look!" he cried, "see what is following you; it is a Rakshas or a demon, and I am sure it is going to eat us." Laili looked at him beseechingly with all her eyes, and trembled with age and eagerness; but this only frightened Majnun the more. "It is a Rakshas, a Rakshas!" he cried, and he ran quickly to the palace with the Wazir's son; and as they ran away, Laili disappeared into the jungle. They ran to King Dantal, and Majnun told him there was a Rakshas or a demon in the garden that had come to eat them.

"What nonsense," said his father. "Fancy two grown men being so frightened by an old ayah or a fakir! And if it had been a Rakshas, it would not have eaten you." Indeed King Dantal did not believe Majnun had seen anything at all, till Husain Mahamat said the prince was speaking the exact truth.

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