Once upon a time there was a man who had a daughter, who was called Clever Alice; and when she was grown up, her father said, We must see about her marrying. Yes, replied her mother, whenever a young man shall appear who is worthy of her. ... Read more of Clever Alice at Children Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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The Lamps And The King's Daughter-in-law

from Deccan Nursery Tales





Once upon a time there was a town called Atpat. In it there lived a
king who had one little daughter-in-law. Now she was a very greedy
little girl, and one day when some sweetmeats were got ready for all
the family she went quietly and ate them all up herself. Then she
got very frightened, for she knew that, if the king knew what she
had done, he would order her to be well slapped. So, when the family
began asking where the sweetmeats were she said that the mice had
eaten them. And then every one began abusing the mice, saying what
horrid little wretches they were, and what a good thing it would be
if the cat caught and ate them up. But, when the mice heard all this,
they were very angry with the little daughter-in-law for bringing a
false charge against them, and they all met together and vowed that
they would be revenged on her. Some days later the king invited a
guest to his house, and the same night the mice went into the little
daughter-in-law's room and dragged out one of her bodices and put
it across the guest's bed. Next morning the bodice was discovered
in the stranger's bed, and the little daughter-in-law was utterly
disgraced. Her father-in-law and all her brothers-in-law scolded her
dreadfully, and at last the king drove her out of the house. Now it
so happened that it had till then always been the work of the little
daughter-in-law to look after the lamps in the king's palace. Every
morning she used to rub them well and trim the wicks. She used to light
them herself and neap the burners with sugar-candy, and on Divali [16]
Day she used to worship them and make them suitable offerings. But,
directly the little daughter-in-law was driven away, none of the
lamps were any longer cared for. On the next Divali Day the king was
returning from a hunt, and he camped under a tree. Suddenly he saw all
the lamps in his town of Atpat come and settle on its branches. One
lamp after another told what was happening in its house--when there had
been a dinner party, what there had been to eat, who had been invited,
how they themselves had been cared for, and what honours they had
received on Divali Day. After all the other lamps had told their story,
the big lamp from the king's palace began, "Brother lamps, I do not
know how to tell you. For none among you is so wretched as I am. In
former years I was the most fortunate of all the lamps in Atpat. No
other lamp had such honours paid it as I had, and this year I have
to drag out my days In unspeakable misery." All the other lamps tried
to comfort it, and asked it how it was that ill-fortune had overtaken
it. "O brother lamps, how can I tell you?" repeated the big lamp. "I
am the chief among the lamps that shine In the palace of the King of
Atpat. One day the king's little daughter-in-law ate some sweetmeats
and to save herself blamed the mice. To revenge themselves, they in
turn brought a false charge against her by putting her bodice on the
bed of one of the king's guests. So she was disgraced and driven out
of the house. And after she left ill-fortune came upon me. For every
year it was she who worshipped me and paid me honour; and wherever she
is I wish her well, and I give her my blessing." The king listened
attentively to the talk between the lamps, and thus he learnt that
his daughter-in-law was innocent. He went home and asked whether
there was any other evidence against her besides her bodice. And
when he learnt that there was none, and that no one had seen anything
happen between her and the king's guest, he sent a messenger for her
and had her brought home. And he begged her pardon for the past, and
gave her full authority over all his household; and the king lived
and ruled ever afterwards as wisely and as well as King Ramchandra
of Ayodhya. And if any one brings a false charge against any of us,
may the lamps save us as they did the king's little daughter-in-law.





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