Read on line
Listen on line
Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Hermit's Daughter"

The Hermit's Daughter

"You must tell the barber all you have already told me. But be very careful to give some proof of your story. For if you do not do so, you will only have wasted the fifty gold pieces you have already given to me; and, more than that, you will be terribly punished for trying to hurt the queen, whom everybody loves."

9. Do you think this plot against Kadali-Garbha was likely to succeed?

10. Can you think of any way in which the wise woman might have helped the queen and also have gained a reward for herself?

Chapter VI

The wicked woman went back to the palace, thinking all the way to herself, "How can I get a proof of what is not true?" At last an idea came into her head. She knew that the queen loved to wander in the forest, and that she was not afraid of the wild creatures, but seemed to understand their language. She would tell the barber that Kadali-Garbha was a witch and knew the secrets of the woods; that she had been seen gathering wild herbs, some of them poisonous, and had been heard muttering strange words to herself as she did so.

Early the next morning the cruel woman went to see the barber, and promised him a reward if he would tell the king what she had found out about his wife. "He won't believe you at first," she said; "but you must go on telling him till he does. You are clever, enough," she added, "to make up something he will believe if what I have thought of is no good."

The barber, who had served the king for many years, would not at first agree to help to make him unhappy. But he too liked money very much, and in the end he promised to see what he could do if he was well paid for it. He was, as the wicked woman had said, clever enough; and he knew from long experience just how to talk to his master. He began by asking the king if he had heard of the lovely woman who was sometimes seen by the woodmen wandering about alone in the forest, with wild creatures following her. Remembering how he had first seen Kadali-Garbha, Dridha-Varman at once guessed that she was the lovely woman.

Also read