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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Magic Shoes and Staff"

The Magic Shoes and Staff

What shall I do now? I will not raise an alarm which might lead to this beautiful young lover being killed and the heart of my dear mistress broken."

27. If you had been the lady who found Putraka in Patala's room, what would you have done?

28. What could Putraka have done to guard against being discovered?

Chapter XV

After hesitating a long time, the lady made up her mind that she would only put some mark in the turban of Putraka, so that he could be known again, and let him escape that night at least. So she stole back to her room, fetched a tiny, brooch, and fastened it in the folds of the turban, where the wearer was not likely to notice it himself. This done, she went back to listen at the door.

It was nearly morning when Putraka woke up, very much surprised at finding himself lying on the couch, for he did not remember throwing himself down on it. Starting up, he woke Patala, who was terribly frightened, for she expected her ladies to come in any minute to help her to dress. She entreated Putraka to make himself invisible and fly away at once. He did so; and, as usual, wandered about until the time should come to go back to the palace. But he still felt too tired to fly, and instead walked about in the town belonging to Patala's father.

The lady who had been on guard had half a mind to tell her mistress that her secret was discovered. But before she could get a chance to do so, she was sent for by the king, who asked her if she had seen or heard anything during the night. She tried very hard to escape from betraying Patala; but she hesitated so much in her answers that the king guessed there was something she wanted to hide, and told her, if she did not reveal the whole truth, he would have her head shaved and send her to prison. So she told how she had found a handsome man, beautifully dressed, fast asleep in Patala's room; but she did not believe her mistress knew anything about it, because she too was asleep.

The king was of course in a terrible rage, and the lady was afraid he would order her to be punished; but he only went on questioning her angrily about what the man was like, so that he might be found and brought before him.

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