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Sunlight and Moonlight


The Khan shrank in horror. He loved his eldest child Sunlight more than life itself, and to kill him would be impossible. Nevertheless, something must be done quickly.

"The queen," he thought to himself, "is mad; she must be humored, and I've already given my kingly word which must not be broken. I will have a goat killed instead, and its heart given to her. When she is well again, she will be as glad as I that I deceived her in this way!" So he drew near the queen and spoke reassuringly to her.

"My love, your life is more precious to me than that of many sons! You shall have the heart's blood of Sunlight this very night without fail. Meanwhile, try to sleep."

As he turned to the door, he met the queen's son Moonlight coming in. One look at the lad's face told the Khan that his last terrible words had been overheard. "I must explain my plan to the lad," he thought, but at that moment a messenger came to him bearing important news, and he straightaway forgot all about the boy.

Moonlight, however, was like one struck dumb with surprise and fear. He had indeed heard part of the conversation between the Khan and his mother, the queen, for the two had been talking loudly as he approached their door. He thought, of course, that his brother was in deadly peril. As soon as he had recovered from the shock of his discovery, he ran to find Sunlight and poured the whole story into his ears.

Sunlight was more grieved to hear that his own father would be willing to kill him, than he was worried about his own life, but there was no time to weep, for he must leave the palace at once and be far away in some safe hiding place by nightfall.

"I will go with you!" declared Moonlight.

"Nay," said Sunlight, with a grateful smile. "I do not know what dangers I may meet. You must not think of it!"

"Indeed, yes!" cried Moonlight. "What will home be without you, my dear brother? Your life shall be my life, whatever and wherever it takes us!

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