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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "The Two Princesses"

The Two Princesses

ONCE UPON A TIME there lived a Rajah (king) who was left with two little daughters when his wife died. Not very long after his first wife died, he married again. His second wife did not care for her step-children and was often unkind to them. The Rajah, their father, never troubled himself to look after them, but allowed his wife to treat them as she liked. This made the poor girls very miserable, and one day one of them said to the other, "Let's not stay here any more. Come away into the jungle, for nobody here cares whether we go or stay."

So they both walked off into the jungle and lived for many days on jungle fruits. After they had wandered on for a long while, they came to a fine palace which belonged to an Ogre, but both the Ogre and his wife were out when they got there.

One of the princesses said to the other, "This fine palace, in the middle of the jungle, can belong to no one but the horrible Ogre that has plagued our people for so long. But no one is at home now; let's go in and see if we can find anything to eat. I am so tired of jungle fruit."

So they went into the Ogres' house and found some rice. One princess kept watch out the window while the other boiled their dinner. But hardly had they finished their meal and returned the dishes to the sink when the Ogre and his wife returned home. The two princesses were so frightened that they ran up to the top of the house and hid themselves on the flat roof, where they could look down on one side into the inner courtyard of the house, and from the other could see the open country. The rooftop was a favorite resort of the Ogre and his wife. Here they would sit on the hot summer evenings; here they winnowed the grain, and hung out the clothes to dry; and the two princesses found shelter behind some sheaves of corn that were waiting to be thrashed.

When the Ogre came into the house he looked around and said to his wife, "Somebody has been moving the furniture, everything looks different.

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