The Jewelled Arrow
"Of course, I can," she replied, "for I live in it. It is called Dhuma-Pura, and it belongs to my father: he is a great magician named Agni-Sikha, who loves not strangers. Now tell me who you are and whence you come?"
Then Sringa-Bhuja told the maiden all about himself, and why he was wandering so far from home. The girl, whose name was Rupa-Sikha, listened very attentively; and when he came to the shooting of the crane, and how he had followed the bleeding bird in the hope of getting back his father's jewelled arrow, she began to tremble.
"Alas, alas!" she said. "The bird you shot was my father, who can take any form he chooses. He returned home but yesterday, and I drew the arrow from his wound and dressed the hurt myself. He gave me the jewelled arrow to keep, and I will never part with it. As for you, the sooner you depart the better; for my father never forgives, and he is so powerful that you would have no chance of escape if he knew you were here."
Hearing this, Sringa-Bhuja became very sad, not because he was afraid of Agni-Sikha, but because he knew that he already loved the fair maiden who stood beside him, and was resolved to make her his wife. She too felt drawn towards him and did not like to think of his going away. Besides this, she had much to fear from her father, who was as cruel as he was mighty, and had caused the death already of many lovers who had wished to marry her. She had never cared for any of them, and had been content to live without a husband, spending her life in wandering about near her home and winning the love of all who lived near her, even that of the wild creatures of the forest, who would none of them dream of hurting her. Often and often she stood between the wrath of her father and those he wished to injure; for, wicked as he was, he loved her and wanted her to be happy,
7. Do you think that a really wicked man is able to love any one truly?
8. What would have been the best thing for Sringa-Bhuja to do, when he found out who the bird he had shot really was?