The Magic Shoes and Staff
12. Was there any other way in which the king's father could have gained a share in governing the land?
After many meetings the three wicked men decided that they would pay some one to kill the king, first making the murderer they chose swear that he would never tell who had ordered him to do the terrible deed. It was not very difficult to find a man bad enough to take money for such an evil purpose, and the next thing to do was to decide where and when the deed was to be done. Putraka had been very well brought up by his mother, and he often went to a beautiful temple near his palace to pray alone. He would sometimes stop there a long time, winning fresh wisdom and strength to do the work he was trusted with, and praying not only for himself, but for his father, his mother, his aunts and uncles, and for the people he loved so much.
The murderer was told to wait in this temple, and when the young king was absorbed in prayer, to fall suddenly upon him and kill him. Then, when Putraka was dead, he was to take his body and bury it far away in the depths of the forest where it could never be found. At first it seemed likely that this cruel plot would succeed. To make quite sure, the murderer got two other men as wicked as himself to come and help him, promising to give them a share in the reward. But the god who had taken care of Putraka ever since he was born, did not forget him now. As the young king prayed, forgetting everything in his earnest pleading for those he loved, he did not see or hear the evil men drawing stealthily close to him. Their arms were uplifted to slay him, and the gleam of the weapons in the light that was always kept burning flashed upon him, when suddenly the heavenly guardian of the temple, who never left it day or night, but was generally invisible, appeared and cast a spell upon the wicked men, whose hands were arrested in the very act to strike.
What a wonderful sight that must have been, when Putraka, disturbed in his prayers, looked round and saw the men who had come to kill him, with the shadowy form of the guardian threatening them!