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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Loving Laili"

Loving Laili

They had the garden searched for the terrible old woman, but found nothing, and King Dantal told his son he was very silly to be so much frightened. However, Prince Majnun would not walk in the garden any more.

The next day Laili turned into a pretty little dog; and in this shape she came into the palace, where Prince Majnun soon became very fond of her. She followed him everywhere, went with him when he was out hunting, and helped him to catch his game, and Prince Majnun fed her with milk, or bread, or anything else he was eating, and at night the little dog slept in his bed.

But one night the little dog disappeared, and in its stead there lay the little old woman who had frightened him so much in the garden; and now Prince Majnun was quite sure she was a Rakshas, or a demon, or some such horrible thing come to eat him; and in his terror he cried out, "What do you want? Oh, do not eat me; do not eat me!" Poor Laili answered, "Don't you know me? I am your wife Laili, and I want to marry you. Don't you remember how you would go through that jungle, though I begged and begged you not to go, for I told you that harm would happen to me, and then a fakir came and threw powder in my face, and I became a heap of ashes. But Khuda gave me my life again, and brought me here, after I had stayed a long, long while in the jungle crying for you, and now I am obliged to be a little dog; but if you will marry me, I shall not be a little dog any more." Majnun, however, said "How can I marry an old woman like you? how can you be Laili? I am sure you are a Rakshas or a demon come to eat me," and he was in great terror.

In the morning the old woman had turned into the little dog, and the prince went to his father and told him all that had happened. "An old woman! an old woman! always an old woman!" said his father. "You do nothing but think of old women. How can a strong man like you be so easily frightened?" However, when he saw that his son was really in great terror, and that he really believed the old woman would came back at night, he advised him to say to her, "I will marry you if you can make yourself a young girl again.

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