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

The Two Princesses

As the daughter of a Rajah you shall be a proper wife for my son." But the more she spoke to the princess the more frightened the princess became, and could do nothing but cry.

Now the girl had said nothing to the queen about her sister, nor even told her that she had one, for she thought, "This Ranee says she will kill me; if she hears that I have a sister, they may kill her too."

At last the Ranee said to one of her servants, "Place this young lady in one of the palanquins and we will set off for home." And so they did.

When the princess found herself shut up in the palanquin and being carried she knew not where, she thought how terrible if would be for her sister to return home and find her gone, and determined, if possible, to leave some sign to show her which way she had been taken.

Round her neck were many strings of pearls. She untied them, and tearing her sari (robe) into little bits, tied one pearl in each piece of the sari, that it might be heavy enough to fall straight to the ground. And so she went on, dropping one pearl and then another and another, all the way she went along, until they reached the palace where the queen lived. She threw the last remaining pearl down just as they reached the palace gate.

The Ranee commanded her son to appear. When he did, she said, "My son, you have tarried long enough in choosing a bride. I told you that if you did not choose one for yourself I would find one for you and so I have. Here she is." And she thrust the girl forward. She was still weeping and the prince could tell that she was hardly a willing bride. When they were alone, he whispered, "Fear not, maiden. I will postpone the wedding for as long as I can. And if the wedding must take place, you will not be forced to say or do anything you do not want to do." But she barely heard him, thinking only of her sister, and too distraught and fearful to say or do anything else.

Meanwhile the younger princess, who had been out with her flocks when the queen took her sister away, had returned home.

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