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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Raja Rasalu"

Raja Rasalu

Time enough to take them away when you have won my head!"

Now, Raja Sarkap, seeing Rasalu's confident bearing, began to be afraid, and ordered all the women of his palace to come forth in their gayest attire and stand before Rasalu, so as to distract his attention from the game. But he never even looked at them, and drawing the dice from his pocket, said to Sarkap, "We have played with your dice all this time; now we will play with mine."

Then the kitten went and sat at the window through which the rat Dhol

Raja used to come, and the game began.

After a while, Sarkap, seeing Raja Rasalu was winning, called to his rat, but when Dhol Raja saw the kitten he was afraid, and would not go further. So Rasalu won, and took back his arms. Next he played for his horse, and once more Raja Sarkap called for his rat; but Dhol Raja, seeing the kitten keeping watch, was afraid. So Rasalu won the second stake, and took back Bhaunr, the Arab steed.

Then Sarkap brought all his skill to bear on the third and last game, saying,

"Oh moulded pieces! favour me to-day!

For sooth this is a man with whom I play.

No paltry risk—but life and death at stake;

As Sarkap does, so do, for Sarkap's sake!"

But Rasalu answered back,

"Oh moulded pieces! favour me to-day!

For sooth it is a man with whom I play.

No paltry risk—but life and death at stake;

As Heaven does, so do, for Heaven's sake!"

So they began to play, whilst the women stood round in a circle, and the kitten watched Dhol Raja from the window. Then Sarkap lost, first his kingdom, then the wealth of the whole world, and lastly his head.

Just then, a servant came in to announce the birth of a daughter to Raja Sarkap, and he, overcome by misfortunes, said, "Kill her at once! for she has been born in an evil moment, and has brought her father ill luck!"

But Rasalu rose up in his shining armour, tender-hearted and strong, saying, "Not so, oh king! She has done no evil. Give me this child to wife; and if you will vow, by all you hold sacred, never again to play chaupur for another's head, I will spare yours now!

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