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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Jewelled Arrow"

The Jewelled Arrow

"You must ride this horse," said Rupa-Sikha, "who will obey you if you but whisper in his ear; and you must take earth, water, wood and fire with you, which I will give you. You must go straight to the temple, and when you have called out your message, turn without a moment's delay, and ride for your life as swiftly as your steed will go, looking behind you all the time. No guidance will be necessary; for Marut—that is my horse's name—knows well what he has to do."

Then Rupa-Sikha gave Sringa-Bhuja a bowl of earth, a jar of water, a bundle of thorns and a brazier full of burning charcoal, hanging them by strong thongs upon the front of his saddle so that he could reach them easily. "My father," she told him, "has given my uncle instructions to kill you, and he will follow you upon his swift Arab steed. When you hear him behind you, fling earth in his path; if that does not stop him, pour out some of the water; and if he still perseveres, scatter the burning charcoal before him."

17. Can you discover any hidden meaning in the use of earth, water, thorns and fire, to stop the course of the wicked magician?

18. Do you think the prince loved Rupa-Sikha better than he loved himself?

Chapter X

Away went the prince after he had received these instructions; and very soon he found himself opposite the temple, with the images of three of the gods worshipped in India to prove that it had been a sanctuary before the magician took up his abode in it. Directly Sringa-Bhuja shouted out his message to Dhuma-Sikha, the wicked dweller in the temple came rushing forth from the gateway, mounted on a huge horse, which seemed to be belching forth flames from its nostrils as it bounded along. For one terrible moment Sringa-Bhuja feared that he was lost; but Marut, putting forth all his strength, kept a little in advance of the enemy, giving the prince time to scatter earth behind him. Immediately a great mountain rose up, barring the road, and Sringa-Bhuja felt that he was saved. He was mistaken: for, as he looked back, he saw Dhuma-Sikha coming over the top of the mountain.

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