The Magic Shoes and Staff
She is a princess, and her name is Patala. She is so very lovely that every man who sees her falls in love with her and wants to carry her off. So she is most carefully guarded in the top rooms of a great palace, as high as the summits of the loftiest mountains." When Putraka heard this he was all eagerness to see the princess, and at once determined to go forth to seek her. He was more than ever glad now that he had stolen the shoes, because he knew that they would carry him even to the top of the highest mountains.
23. What qualities did the old woman show when she told Putraka about the Princess?
24. What faults of character did the young king show when he decided at once to leave the old woman who had been so good to him?
The very evening of the day when Putraka heard about the princess, he started on his journey, taking with him his bowl and staff. The old woman gave him very careful instructions which way to go, and begged him to come back to tell her how he had got on. He promised he would, thanked her for all she had done for him, and flew away in a great state of excitement. She watched him till he was quite out of sight, and then went sadly into her lonely home, wondering if she would ever see him again.
It was not long before Putraka came in sight of the palace. It was a beautiful night, and the moon was shining full upon the room in which the princess was asleep. It was a very big one, with costly furniture and priceless tapestry hung round the walls, and there were doors behind the tapestry leading to other apartments, in some of which the attendants on Patala slept, whilst others kept watch lest anyone should intrude upon their mistress. No one thought of guarding the windows, for they were so high up that only a bird could reach them.
The young king alighted on the ledge of the window of the princess' room, and looked in. There, on a golden bed, amongst soft cushions and embroidered coverings, lay the most lovely creature he had ever beheld, so lovely that he fell in love with her at once and gave a loud cry of delight.