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Main > Tibet folktales > Fairy tale "Sunlight and Moonlight"

Sunlight and Moonlight

Then they were cast into an open, rocky cave by a river, where the demon-bears came daily to drink.

Sunlight sighed deeply as he saw the princess beside him, her fair face and long hair showing from above the sack.

"Alas!" said he. "And ten times ten alas! That I should die is nothing, for what am I but a stranger and an outcast? But oh, the cruel pity of it, that you, loveliest princess, should perish too!"

"Nay, fair youth," said the Khan's elder daughter. "Do not mourn for me. I am only an unthinking girl whose life or death can mean nothing to the world - and since it is my father's will that I die in this way, willing am I to obey him. But that you should meet such a cruel fate - and only because you are a stranger! Indeed, that seems more than my sad heart can bear!"

While these two noble young creatures were grieving for the hard lot of the other one, forgetting their own troubles, the three demon-bears drew near and overheard their talk, and the heart of the chief of them was softened at their words. He turned to his companions.

The unselfishness of these two young mortals moves me to pity! If there is such bravery in the heart of humans, I am minded never to eat human flesh again!"

The other two, also being touched by the beauty and nobleness of their captives, readily agreed with the chief, and they resolved to begin at once to be the friends and not the fearful enemies of humans. As they entered the cave, they saw that Sunlight and the princess grew white with terror at the sight of them, so the chief called out, "Be not afraid! The heart of a demon-bear is not always as cruel as men say! We have come, not to devour you but to set you free. A lad and lass who, in such a dire strait, think only of each other, deserve to live long in peace. By my magic power I declare your bonds broken! Go, and from henceforth think of the demon-bears as no longer enemies but friends!"

Once freed, the princess went back to her father, who was overcome with sorrow and regret now that his anger had cooled, and Sunlight hastened back to the cave in the desert to relieve the minds of the good old hermit and Moonlight, his faithful brother.

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