The Jewelled Arrow
I have ten sisters all exactly like me, all wearing dresses and necklaces which are exact copies of each other, so that few can tell me from the others, Soon you will be sent for to the great Hall and we shall all be together there. My father will bid you choose your bride from amongst us; and if you make a mistake all will be over for us. But I will wear my necklace on my head instead of round my neck, and thus will you know your own true love. And remember, my dearest, to obey no future command without hearing from me, for I alone am able to outwit my terrible father,"
Everything happened exactly as Rupa-Sikha described. The prince was sent for by Agni-Sikha, who, as soon as he appeared, gave him a garland of flowers and told him to place it round the neck of the maiden who was his promised bride. Without a moment's hesitation Sringa-Bhuja picked out the right sister; and the magician, though inwardly enraged, pretended to be so delighted at this proof of a lover's clear-sightedness that he cried:
"You are the son-in-law for me! The wedding shall take place to-morrow!"
13. Can you understand how it was that the magician did not notice the trick Rupa-Sikha had played upon him?
14. What fault blinds people to the truth more than any other?
When Sringa-Bhuja heard what Agni-Sikha said, he was full of joy; but Rupa-Sikha knew well that her father did not mean a word of it. She waited quietly beside her lover, till the magician bade all the sisters but herself leave the hall. Then the magician, with a very wicked look on his face, said:
"Before the ceremony there is just one little thing you must do for me, dear son-in-law that is to be. Go outside the town, and near the most westerly tower you will find a team of oxen and a plough awaiting you. Close to them is a pile of three hundred bushels of sesame seed. This you must sow this very day, or instead of a bridegroom you will be a dead man to-morrow."
Great was the dismay of Sringa-Bhuja when he heard this.