The Magic Shoes and Staff
The wives were at first very sad and lonely, but presently a great joy came to one of them which made the other two very happy as well. This joy was the birth of a little boy, whose two aunts loved him almost as much as his mother did. The story does not tell how they all got food whilst the famine was going on, though it is very evident that they were not starved, for the baby boy grew fast and was a strong healthy little fellow.
One night all the three wives had the same dream, a very wonderful one, in which the god Siva, who is very much honoured in India, appeared to them. He told them that, looking down from Heaven, he had noticed how tenderly they cared for the new-born baby, and that he wished them to call him Putraka. Besides this he astonished them by adding that, as a reward for the unselfish way in which they had behaved, they would find one hundred thousand gold pieces under the little child's pillow every morning, and that one day that little child would be a king.
3. Do you think the three women wanted to be rewarded for loving the baby?
4. Is it a good thing to have a great deal of money?
The wonderful dream was fulfilled, and the mother and aunts called the boy Putraka. Every morning they found the gold pieces under his pillow, and they took care of the money for him, so that when he grew up he was the very richest man in the whole country. He had a happy childhood and boyhood, his only trouble being that he did not like having never seen his father. His mother told him about the famine before he was born, and how his father and uncles had gone away and never come back. He often said, "When I am a man I will find my father and bring him home again." He used his money to help others, and one of the best things he did was to irrigate the land; that is to say, he made canals into which water was made to flow in times when there was plenty of rain, so that there was no danger of there being another famine, such as that which had driven his father and uncles away.