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The Two Princesses

When she came back she found the door wide open and no one standing there. She thought it very odd, for her sister always came every night to the door to meet her on her return. She went upstairs; her sister was not there; the whole house was empty and deserted. There she must stay all alone, for the evening had closed in and it was impossible to go outside and seek her with any hope of success. So all night long she waited, crying, "Someone has been here, and they have stolen her away; they have stolen my darling away. Oh, sister! My sister!"

Next morning, very early, going out to continue the search, she found one of the pearls belonging to her sister's necklace tied up in a small piece of sari. A little further on lay another, and yet another, all along the road the Ranee had gone. Then the princess understood that her sister had left this clue to guide her on her way, and she at once set off to find her. Very, very far she went - a two month's journey through the jungle - for she could not travel fast, the many days' walking tired her so much, and sometimes it took her two or three days just to find the next piece of sari with the pearl. At last she came near a large town, to which it was evident her sister had been taken. Now this young princess was very beautiful indeed - as beautiful as she was wise - and when she got near the town she thought to herself, "If people see me they may steal me away as they did my sister, and then I shall never find her again. I will disguise myself." As she was thus thinking, she noticed by the side of the road a skeleton and a shriveled, dry fur of an old tiger. The princess took the skin and washed it, and drew it on over her own lovely face and neck, as one draws a glove on one's hand. The skin was so old nothing remained of the shape of the tiger, and only a yellowish hue, and it hung on her the way an old woman's skin might hang. Then she took a long stick and began hobbling along, leaning on it, toward the town.

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