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The Jewelled Arrow

The king consented at once, thinking to himself, "perhaps she has found out that what she told me about my dear Guna-Vara is not true."

Great then was his disappointment when the wicked woman told him she had discovered a plot against his life. The son of Guna-Vara and some of the chief men of the kingdom, she said, had agreed together to kill him, so that Sringa-Bhuja might reign in his stead. She and some of the other wives had overheard conversations between them, and were terrified lest their beloved Lord should be hurt. The young prince, she declared, had had some trouble in persuading the nobles to help him, but he had succeeded at last.

Vira-Bhuja simply could not believe this story, for he trusted his son as much as he loved him; and he sent the mischief maker away, telling her not to dare to enter his presence again. For all that he could not get the matter out of his head. He had Sringa-Bhuja carefully watched; and as nothing against him was found out, he was beginning to feel more easy in his mind, and even to think of going to see Guna-Vara in her prison to ask her to confide in him, when something happened which led him to fear that after all his dear son was not true to him. This was what made him uneasy. He had a wonderful arrow, set with precious jewels, which had been given to him by a magician, and had the power of hitting without fail whatever it was aimed at from however great a distance. The very day he had meant to visit his ill-treated wife, he missed this arrow from the place in which he kept it concealed. This distressed him very much; and after seeking it in vain, he summoned all those who were employed in the palace to his presence, and asked if any of them knew anything about the arrow. He promised that he would forgive any one who helped him to get it back, even if it were the thief himself; but added that, if it was not found in three days, he would have all the servants beaten until the one who had stolen it confessed.

3. Do you think this was the best way to find out who had taken the arrow?

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