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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The prince and the fakir"

The prince and the fakir

There was once upon a time a King who had no children. Now this King went and laid him down to rest at a place where four roads met, so that every one who passed had to step over him.

At last a Fakir came along, and he said to the King, "Man, why are you lying here?"

He replied, "Fakir, a thousand men have come and passed by; you pass on too."

But the Fakir said, "Who are you, man?"

The King replied, "I am a King, Fakir. Of goods and gold I have no lack, but I have lived long and have no children. So I have come here, and have laid me down at the cross-roads. My sins and offences have been very many, so I have come and am lying here that men may pass over me, and perchance my sins may be forgiven me, and God may be merciful, and I may have a son."

The Fakir answered him, "Oh King! If you have children, what will you give me?"

"Whatever you ask, Fakir," answered the King. The Fakir said, "Of goods and gold I have no lack, but I will say a prayer for you, and you will have two sons; one of those sons will be mine."

Then he took out two sweetmeats and handed them to the King, and said, "King! take these two sweetmeats and give them to your wives; give them to the wives you love best."

The King took the sweetmeats and put them in his bosom.

Then the Fakir said, "King! in a year I will return, and of the two sons who will be born to you one is mine and one yours."

The King said, "Well, I agree."

Then the Fakir went on his way, and the King came home and gave one sweetmeat to each of his two wives. After some time two sons were born to the King. Then what did the King do but place those two sons in an underground room, which he had built in the earth.

Some time passed, and one day the Fakir appeared, and said, "King! bring me that son of yours!"

What did the King do but bring two slave-girls' sons and present them to the Fakir. While the Fakir was sitting there the King's sons were sitting down below in their cellar eating their food. Just then a hungry ant had carried away a grain of rice from their food, and was going along with it to her children.

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