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The Jewelled Arrow

He was too cunning to let Sringa-Bhuja guess that he knew him, and pretended to be very glad to see him. He even went so far as to say that he had long wished to find a prince worthy to wed his youngest and favourite daughter. "You," he added, "seem to me the very man, young, handsome and—to judge from the richness of your dress and jewels—able to give my beloved one all she needs."

The prince could hardly believe his ears, and Rupa-Sikha also was very much surprised. She guessed however that her father had some evil purpose in what he said, and looked earnestly at Sringa-Bhuja in the hope of making him understand. But the prince was so overjoyed at the thought that she was to be his wife that he noticed nothing. So when Agni-Sikha added, "I only make one condition: you must promise that you will never disobey my commands, but do whatever I tell you without a moment's hesitation," Sringa-Bhuja, without waiting to think, said at once, "Only give me your daughter and I will serve you in any way you wish."

"That's settled then!" cried the magician, and he clapped his hands together. In a moment a number of attendants appeared, and their master ordered them to lead the prince to the best apartments in the palace, to prepare a bath for him, and do everything he asked them.

11. What great mistake did the prince make when he gave this promise?

12. What answer should he have made?

Chapter VII

As Sringa-Bhuja followed the servants, Rupa-Sikha managed to whisper to him, "Beware! await a message from me!" When he had bathed and was arraying himself in fresh garments provided by his host, waited on, hand and foot, by servants who treated him with the greatest respect, a messenger arrived, bearing a sealed letter which he reverently handed to the prince. Sringa-Bhuja guessed at once from whom it came; and anxious to read it alone, he hastily finished his toilette and dismissed the attendants.

"My beloved," said the letter—which was, of course, from Rupa-Sikha—"My father is plotting against you; and very foolish were you to promise you would obey him in all things.

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