|India Folk Tales
The Boy who had a Moon on his Forehead
and a Star on his Chin
a country were seven daughters of poor parents, who used to come daily
to play under the shady trees in the King's garden with the gardener's
daughter; and daily she used to say to them, "When I am married I shall
have a son. Such a beautiful boy as he will be has never been seen. He
will have a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin." Then her
playfellows used to laugh at her and mock her.
But one day the
King heard her telling them about the beautiful boy she would have when
she was married, and he said to himself he should like very much to
have such a son; the more so that though he had already four Queens he
had no child. He went, therefore, to the gardener and told him he
wished to marry his daughter. This delighted the gardener and his wife,
who thought it would indeed be grand for their daughter to become a
princess. So they said "Yes" to the King, and invited all their friends
to the wedding. The King invited all his, and he gave the gardener as
much money as he wanted. Then the wedding was held with great feasting
A year later the day drew near on which the
gardener's daughter was to have her son; and the King's four other
Queens came constantly to see her. One day they said to her, "The King
hunts every day; and the time is soon coming when you will have your
child. Suppose you fell ill whilst he was out hunting and could
therefore know nothing of your illness, what would you do then?"
the King came home that evening, the gardener's daughter said to him,
"Every day you go out hunting. Should I ever be in trouble or sick
while you are away, how could I send for you?" The King gave her a
kettle-drum which he placed near the door for her, and he said to her,
"Whenever you want me, beat this kettle-drum. No matter how far away I
may be, I shall hear it, and will come at once to you."
morning when the King had gone out to hunt, his four other Queens came
to see the gardener's daughter. She told them all about her
kettle-drum. "Oh," they said, "do drum on it just to see if the King
really will come to you."
"No, I will not," she said; "for why should I call him from his hunting when I do not want him?"
mind interrupting his hunting," they answered. "Do try if he really
will come to you when you beat your kettle-drum." So at last, just to
please them, she beat it, and the King stood before her.
"Why have you called me?" he said. "See, I have left my hunting to come to you."
"I want nothing," she answered; "I only wished to know if you really would come to me when I beat my drum."
"Very well," answered the King; "but do not call me again unless you really need me." Then he returned to his hunting.
next day; when the King had gone out hunting as usual, the four Queens
again came to see the gardener's daughter. They begged and begged her
to beat her drum once more, "just to see if the King will really come
to see you this time." At first she refused, but at last she consented.
So she beat her drum, and the King came to her. But when he found she
was neither ill nor in trouble, he was angry, 'and said to her, "Twice
I have left my hunting and lost my game to come to you when you did not
need me. Now you may call me as much as you like, but I will not come
to you," and then be went away in a rage.
The third day the'
gardener's daughter fell ill, and she beat and beat her kettle-drum;
but the King never came. He heard her kettle-drum, but he thought, "She
does not really want me; she is only trying to see if I will go to her."
the four other Queens came to her, and they said, "Here it is the
custom before a child is born to bind its mother's eyes with a
handkerchief that she may not see it just at first. So let us bind your
eyes." She answered, "Very well, bind my eyes." The four wives then
tied a handkerchief over them.
Soon after, the gardener's
daughter had a beautiful little son, with a moon on his forehead and a
star on his chin, and before the poor mother had seen him, the four
wicked Queens took the boy to the nurse and said to her, "Now you must
not let this child make the least sound for fear his mother should hear
him; and in the night you must either kill him, or else take him away,
so that his mother may never see him. If you obey our orders, we will
give you a great many rupees." All this they did out of spite. The
nurse took the little child and put him into a box, and the four Queens
went back to the gardener's daughter.
First they put a stone
into her boy's little bed, and then they took the handkerchief off her
eyes and showed it her, saying, "Look! this is your son!" The poor girl
cried bitterly, and thought, "What will the King say when he finds no
child?" But she could do nothing. When the King came home, he was
furious at hearing his youngest wife, the gardener's daughter, had
given him a stone instead of the beautiful little son she had promised
him. He made her one of the palace servants, and never spoke to her.
the middle of the night the nurse took the box in which was the
beautiful little prince, and went out to a broad plain in the jungle.
There she dug a hole, made the fastenings of the box sure, and put the
box into the hole, although the child in it was still alive. The King's
dog, whose name was Shankar, had followed her to see what she did with
the box. As soon as she had gone back to the four Queens (who gave her
a great many rupees), the dog went to the hole in which she had put the
box, took the box out, and opened it. When he saw the beautiful little
boy, he was very much delighted and said, "If it pleases Khuda that
this child should live, I will not hurt him; 'I will not eat him, but I
will swallow him whole and hide him in my stomach." This he did.
six months had passed, the dog went by night to the jungle, and
thought, "I wonder whether the boy is alive or dead." Then he brought
the child out of his stomach and rejoiced over his beauty. The boy was
now six months old. When Shankar had caressed and loved him, he
swallowed him again for another six months. At the end of that time he
went once more by night to the broad jungle-plain. There he brought up
the child out of his stomach (the child was now a year old); and
caressed and petted him a great deal, and was made very happy by his
But this time the dog's keeper had followed and
watched the dog; and he saw all that Shankar did, and the beautiful
little child, so he ran to the four Queens and said to them, "Inside
the King's dog there is a child! the loveliest child! He has a moon on
his forehead and a star on his chin. Such a child has never been seen!"
At this the four wives were very much frightened, and as soon as the
King came home from hunting they said to him, "While you were away your
dog came to our rooms, and tore our clothes and knocked about all our
things. We are afraid he will kill us." "Do not be afraid," said the
King. Eat your dinner and be happy. I will have the dog shot to-morrow
Then he ordered his servants to shoot the dog at dawn,
but the dog heard him, and said to himself, "What shall I do? The King
intends to kill me. I don't care about that, but what will become of
the child if I am killed? He will die. But I will see if I cannot save
So when it was night, the dog ran to the King's cow, who
was called Suri, and said to her, "Suri, I want to give you something,
for the King has ordered me to be shot tomorrow. Will you take great
care of whatever I give you?"
"Let me see what it is," said
Suri, "I will take care of it if I can." Then they both went together
to the wide plain, and there the dog brought up the boy. Suri was
enchanted with him. "I never saw such a beautiful child in this
country," she said. "See, he has a moon on his forehead and a star on
his chin. I will take the greatest care of him." So saying she
swallowed the little prince. The dog made her a great many salaams, and
said, "To-morrow I shall die;" and the cow then went back to her stable.
Next morning at dawn the dog was taken to the jungle and shot.
child now lived in Suri's stomach; and when one whole year had passed,
and he was two years old, the cow went out to the plain, and said to
herself, "I do not know whether the child is alive or dead. But I have
never hurt it, so I will see." Then she brought up the boy; and he
played about, and Suri was delighted; she loved him and caressed him,
and talked to him. Then she swallowed him, and returned to her stable.
the end of another year she went again to the plain and brought up the
child. He played and ran about for an hour to her great delight, and
she talked to him and caressed him. His great beauty made her very
happy. Then she swallowed him once more and returned to her stable. The
child was now three years old.
But this time the cowherd had
followed Suri, and had seen the wonderful child and all she did to it.
So he ran and told the four Queens, "The King's cow has a beautiful boy
inside hen. He has a moon on his. forehead and a star on his chin. Such
a child has never been seen before!"
At this the Queens were
terrified. They tore their clothes and their hair and cried. When the
King came home at evening, he asked them why they were so agitated.
"Oh," they said, "your cow came and tried to kill us; but we ran away.
She tore our hair and our clothes." "Never mind," said the King. "Eat
your dinner and be happy. The cow shall be killed to-morrow morning."
Suri heard the King give this order to the servants, so she said to
herself, "What shall I do to save the child?" When it was midnight, she
went, to the King's horse called Katar, who was very wicked, and quite
untamable. No one had ever been able to ride him; indeed no one could
go near him with safety, he was so savage. Suri said to this horse,
"Katar, will you take care of something that I want to give you,
because the King has ordered me to be killed to-morrow?"
said Katar; "show me what it is." Then Suri brought up the child, and
the horse was delighted with him. "Yes," he said, "I will take the
greatest care of him. Till now no one has been able to ride me, but
this child shall ride me." Then he swallowed the boy, and when he had
done so, the cow made him many salaams, saying, "It is for this boy's
sake that I am to die." The next morning she was taken to the jungle
and there killed.
The beautiful boy now lived in the horse's
stomach, and he stayed in it for one whole year. At the end of that
time the horse thought, "I will see if this child is alive or dead." So
he brought him up; and then he loved him, and petted him, and the
little prince played all about the stable, out of which the horse was
never allowed to go. Katar was very glad to see the child, who was now
four years old. After be had played for some time, the horse swallowed
him again. At the end of another year, when the boy was five years old,
Katar brought him up again, caressed him, loved him, and let him play
about the stable as he had done a year before. Then the horse swallowed
But this time the groom had seen all that happened,
and when it was morning, and the King had gone away to his hunting, he
went to the four wicked Queens, and told them all he had seen, and all
about the wonderful, beautiful child that lived inside the King's horse
Katar. On hearing the groom's story the four Queens cried, and tore
their hair and clothes, and refused to eat. When the King returned at
evening and asked them why they were so miserable, they said, "Your
horse Katar came and tore our clothes, and upset all our things, 'and
we ran away for fear he should kill us."
"Never mind," said the
King. "Only eat your dinner and be happy. I will have Katar shot
to-morrow." Then he thought that two men unaided could not kill such a
wicked horse, so he ordered his servants to bid his troop of sepoys
So the next day the King placed his sepoys all round
the stable, and he took up his stand with them; and he said he would
himself shoot any one who let his horse escape.
Click to enlarge
the horse had overheard all these orders. So he brought up the child
and said to him, "Go into that little room that leads out of the
stable, and you will find in it a saddle and bridle which you must put
on me. Then you will find in the room some beautiful clothes such as
princes wear; these must you put on yourself; and you must take the
sword and gun you will find there too. Then you must mount on my back."
Now Katar was a fairy-horse, and came from the fairies' country, so he
could get anything he wanted; but neither the King nor any of his
people knew this. When all was ready, Katar burst out of his stable,
with the prince on his back, rushed past the King himself before the
King had time to shoot him, galloped away to the great jungle-plain,
and galloped about all over it. The King saw his horse had a boy on his
back, though be could not see the boy distinctly. The sepoys tried in
vain to shoot the horse; he galloped much too fast; and at last they
were all scattered over the plain. Then the King had to give it up and
go home; and the sepoys went to their homes. The King could not shoot
any of his sepoys for letting his horse escape, for he himself had let
him do so.
Then Katar galloped away, on, and on, and oil; and
when night came they stayed under a tree, he and the King's son. The
horse ate grass, and the boy wild fruits which he found in the jungle.
Next morning they started afresh, and went far, and far, till they came
to a jungle in another country, which did not belong to the little
prince's father,but to another king. Here Katar said to the boy, "Now
get off my back." Off jumped the prince. "Unsaddle me and take off my
bridle; take off your beautiful clothes and tie them all up in a bundle
with your sword and gun." This the boy did. Then the horse gave him
some poor, common clothes, which he told him to put on. As soon as he
was dressed in them the horse said, "Hide your bundle in this grass,
and I will take care of it for you. I will always stay in this
jungle-plain, so that when you want me you will always find me. You
must now go away and find service with some one in this country."
This made the boy very sad. I know nothing about anything," he said. "What shall I do all alone in this country?"
not be afraid," answered Katar. "You will find service, and I will
always stay here to help you when you want me. So go, only before you
go, twist my right ear." The boy did so, and his horse instantly became
a donkey. "Now twist your right ear," said Katar. And when the boy had
twisted it, he was no longer a handsome prince, but a poor,
common-looking, ugly man; and his moon and star were hidden.
he went away further into the country, until he came to a grain
merchant of the country, who asked him who he was. "I am a poor man,"
answered the boy, "and I want service." "Good," said the grain
merchant, "you shall be my servant."
Now the grain merchant
lived near the King's palace, and one night at twelve o'clock the boy
was very hot; so he went out into the King's cool garden, and began to
sing a lovely song. The seventh and youngest daughter of the King heard
him, and she wondered who it was who could sing so deliciously. Then
she put on her clothes, rolled up her hair, and came down to where the
seemingly poor common man was lying singing. "Who are you? where do you
come from?" she asked.
But he answered nothing.
this man who does not answer when I speak to him?" thought the little
princess, and she went away. On the second night the same thing
happened, and on the third night too. But on the third night, when she
found she could not make him answer her, she said to him: "What a
strange man you are not to answer me when I speak to you." But still he
remained silent, so she went away.
The next day. when he had
finished his work, the young prince went to the jungle to see his
horse, who asked him, "Are you quite well and happy?" "Yes, I am,"
answered the boy. "I am servant to a grain merchant. The last three
nights I have gone into the King's garden and sung a song, and each
night the youngest princess has come to me and asked me who I am, and
whence I came, and I have answered nothing. What shall I do now?" The
horse said, "Next time she asks you who you are, tell her you are a
very poor man, and came from your own country to find service here?"
boy then went home to the grain merchant, and at night, when every one
had gone to bed, he went to the King's garden and sang his sweet song
again. The youngest princess heard him, got up, dressed, and came to
him. "Who are you? Whence do you come?" she asked.
"I am a very
poor man," he answered. "I came from my own country to seek service
here, and I am now one of the grain merchant's servants." Then she went
away. For three more nights the boy sang in the King's garden, and each
night the princess came and asked him the same questions as before, and
the boy gave her the same answers.
Then she went to her father,
and said to him, "Father, I wish to be married; but I must choose my
husband myself." Her father consented to this, and he wrote and invited
all the Kings and Rajas in the land, saying, "My youngest daughter
wishes to be married, but she insists on choosing her husband herself.
As I do not know who it is she wishes to marry, I beg you will all come
on a certain day, for her to see you and make her choice."
great many Kings, Rajas, and their sons accepted this invitation and
came. When they had all arrived, the little princess's father said to
them, "To-morrow morning you must all sit together in my garden" (the
King's garden was very large), "for then my youngest daughter will come
and see you all, and choose her husband. I do not know whom she will
The youngest princess ordered a grand elephant to be
ready for her the next morning, and when the morning came, and all was
ready, she dressed herself in the most lovely clothes, and put on her
beautiful jewels; then she mounted her elephant, which was painted
blue. In her hand she took a gold necklace.
Then she went into
the garden where the Kings, Rajas, and their sons were seated. The boy,
the grain merchant's servant, was also in the garden: not as a suitor,
but looking on with the other servants.
The princess rode all
round the garden, and looked at all the Kings and Rajas and princes,
and then she hung the gold necklace round the neck of the boy, the
grain merchant's servant. At this everybody laughed, and the Kings were
greatly astonished. But then they and the Rajas said, "What fooling is
this?" and they pushed the pretended poor man away, and took the
necklace off his neck, and said to him, "Get out of the way, you poor,
dirty man. Your clothes are far too dirty for you to come near us!" The
boy went far away from them, and stood a long way off to see what would
Then the King's youngest daughter went all round the
garden again, holding her gold necklace in her hand, and once more she
hung it round the boy's neck. Every one laughed at her and said, "How
can the King's daughter think of marrying this poor, common man!" and
the Kings and the Rajas, who had come as suitors, all wanted to turn
him out of. the garden. But the princess said, "Take care! take care!
You must not turn him out. Leave him alone." Then she put him on her
elephant, and took him to the palace.
The Kings and Rajas and
their sons were very much astonished, and said, "What does this mean?
The princess does not care to marry one of us, but chooses that very
poor man!" Her father then stood up, and said to them all, I promised
my daughter she should marry any one she pleased, and as she has twice
chosen that poor, common man, she shall marry him." And so the princess
and the boy were married with great pomp and splendour: her father and
mother were quite content with her choice; and the Kings, the Rajas and
their sons, all returned to their homes.
Now the princess's six
sisters had all married rich princes, and they laughed at her for
choosing such a poor ugly husband as hers seemed to be, and said to
each other, mockingly, "See! our sister has married this poor, common
man!" Their six husbands used to go out hunting every day, and every
evening they brought home quantities of all kinds of game to their
wives, and the game was cooked for their dinner and for the King's; but
the husband of the youngest princess always stayed at home in the
palace, and never went out hunting at all. This made her very sad, and
she said to herself," My sisters' husbands hunt every day, but my
husband never hunts at all."
At last she said to him, "Why do
you never go out hunting as my sisters' husbands do every day, and
every day they bring home quantities of all kinds of game? Why do you
always stay at home, instead of doing as they do?"
One day he said to her, "I am going out to-day to eat the air."
"Very good," she answered; "go, and take one of the horses."
said the young prince, "I will not ride, I will walk." Then he went to
the jungle-plain where he had left Katar, who all this time had seemed
to be a donkey, and he told Katar everything. "Listen," he said; "I
have married the youngest princess; and when we were married everybody
laughed at her for choosing me, and said, 'What a very poor, common man
our princess has chosen for her husband!' Besides, my wife is very sad,
for her six sisters' husbands all hunt every day, and bring home
quantities of game, and their wives therefore are very proud of them.
But I stay at home all day, and never hunt. To-day I should like to
hunt very much,"
"Well," said Katar, "then twist my left ear;"
and as soon as the boy had twisted it, Katar was a horse again, and not
a donkey any longer. "Now," said Katar, "twist your left ear, and you
will see what a beautiful young prince you will become." So the boy
twisted his own left ear, and there he stood no longer a poor, common,
ugly man, but a grand young prince with a moon on his forehead and a
star on his chin. Then he put on his splendid clothes, saddled aud
bridled Katar, got on his back with his sword and gun, and rode off to
He rode very far, and shot a great many birds and a
quantity of deer. That day his six brothers-in-law could find no game,
for the beautiful young prince had shot it all. Nearly all the day long
these six princes wandered about looking in vain for game; till at last
they grew hungry and thirsty, and could find no water, and they had no
food with them. Meanwhile the beautiful young prince had sat down under
a tree, to dine and rest, and there his six brothers-in-law found him.
By his side was some delicious water, and also some roast meat.
they saw him the six princes said to each other, "Look at that handsome
prince. He has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin. We have
never seen such a prince in this jungle before; he must come from
another country." Then they came up to him, and made him many salaams,
and begged him to give them some food and water. "Who are you?" said
the young prince. "We are the husbands of the six elder daughters of
the King of this country," they answered; "and we have hunted all day,
and are very hungry and thirsty." They did not recognise their
brother-in-law in the least.
"Well," said the young prince, "I
will give you something to eat and drink if you will do as I bid you."
"We will do all you tell us to do," they answered, "for if we do not
get water to drink, we shall die." "Very good," said the young prince.
"Now you must let me put a red-hot pice on the back of each of you, and
then I will give you food and water. Do you agree to this?" The six
princes consented, for they thought, "No one will ever see the mark of
the pice, as it will be covered by our clothes; and we shall die if we
have no water to drink." Then the young prince took six pice, and made
them red-hot in the fire; he laid one on the back of each of the six
princes, and gave them good food and water. They ate and thank; and
when they had finished they made him many salaams and went home.
young prince stayed under the tree till it was evening; then he mounted
his horse and rode off to the King's palace. All the people looked at
him as he came riding along, saying, "What a splendid young prince that
is! He has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin." But no one
recognised him. When he came near the King's palace, all the King's
servants asked him who he was; and as none of them knew him, the
gate-keepers would not let him pass in. They all wondered who he could
be, and all thought him the most beautiful prince that had ever been
At last they asked him who he was. "I am the husband of your youngest princess," he answered.
"No, no, indeed you are not," they said; "for he is a poor, common-looking, and ugly man."
"But I am he," answered the prince; only no one would believe him.
"Tell us the truth," said the servants; "who are you!"
you cannot recognise me," said the young prince, "but call the youngest
princess here. I wish to speak to her." The servants called her, and
she came. "That man is not my husband," she said at once. "My husband
is not nearly as handsome as that man. This must be a prince from
Then she said to him, "Who are you? Why do you say you are my husband?"
"Because I am your husband. I am telling you the truth," answered the young prince.
you are not, you are not telling me the truth," said the little
princess. "My husband is not a handsome man like you.: I married a very
poor, common-looking man."
"That is true," he answered, "but
nevertheless I am your husband. I was the grain merchant's servant; and
one hot night I went into your father's garden and sang, and you heard
me, and came and asked me who I was and where I came from, and I would
not answer you. And the same thing happened the next night, and the
next, and on the fourth I told you I was a very poor man, and had come
from my country to seek service in yours, and that I was the grain
merchant's servant. Then you told your father you wished to marry, but
must choose your own husband; and when all the Kings and Rajas were
seated in your father's garden, you sat on an elephant and went round
and looked at them all; and then twice hung your gold necklace round my
neck, and chose me. See, here is your necklace, and here are the ring
and the handkerchief you. gave me on our wedding day."
believed him, and was very glad that her husband was such a beautiful
young prince. "What a strange man you are!" she said to him. "Till now
you have been poor, and ugly, and common-looking. Now you are beautiful
and look like a prince; I never saw such a handsome man as you are
before; and yet I know you must be my husband." Then she worshipped God
and thanked him for letting her have such a husband. "I have," she
said, "a beautiful husband. There is no one like him in this country.
He has a moon on his forehead and a star on his chin." Then she took
him into the palace, and showed him to her father and mother and to
every one. They all said they had never seen any one like him, and were
all very happy. And the young prince lived as before in the King's
palace with his wife, and Katar lived in the King's stables.
day, when the King and his seven sons-in-law were in his court-house,
and it was full of people, the young prince said to him, "There are six
thieves here in your court-house." "Six thieves!" said the King. "Where
are they? Show them to me." "There they are," said the young prince,
pointing to his six brothers-in-law. The King and every one else in the
court-house were very much astonished, and would not believe the young
prince. "Take off their coats," he said, "and then you will see for
yourselves that each of them has the mark of a thief on his back." So
their coats were taken off the six princes, and the King and everybody
in the court-house saw the mark of the red-hot pice. The six princes
were very much ashamed, but the young prince was very glad. He had not
forgotten how his brothers-in-law had laughed at him and mocked him
when he seemed a poor, common man.
Now, when Katar was still in
the jungle, before the prince was married, be had told the boy the
whole story of his birth, and all that had happened to him and his
mother. "When you are married," he said to him, "I will take you back
to your father's country." So two months after the young prince had
revenged himself on his brothers-in-law, Katar said to him, "It is time
for you to return to your father. Get the King to let you go to your
own country, and I will tell you what to do when we get there."
prince always did, what his horse told him to do; so he went to his
wife and said to her, "I wish very much to go to my own country to see
my father and mother." "Very well," said his wife; "I will tell my
father and mother, and ask them to let us go." Then she went to them,
and told them, and they consented to let her and her husband leave
them. The King gave his daughter and the young prince a great many
horses, and elephants, and all sorts of presents, and also a great many
sepoys to guard them. In this grand state they travelled to the
prince's country, which was not a great many miles off. When they
reached it they pitched their tents on the same plain in which the
prince had been left in his box by the nurse, where Shankar and Suri
had swallowed him so often.
When the King, his father, the
gardener's daughter's husband, saw the prince's camp, he was very much
alarmed, and thought a great King had come to make war on him. He sent
one of his servants, therefore, to ask whose camp it was. The young
prince then wrote him a letter, in which he said, "You are a great
King. Do not fear me. I am not come to make war on you. I am as if I
were your son. I am a prince who has come to see your country and to
speak with you. I wish to give you a grand feast, to which every one in
your country must come--men and women, old and young, rich and poor, of
all castes; all the children, fakirs, and sepoys. You must bring them
all here to me for a week, and I will feast them all."
was delighted with this letter, and ordered all the men, women, and
children of all castes, fakirs, and sepoys, in his country to go to the
prince's camp to a grand feast the prince would give them. So they all
came, and the King brought his four wives too. All came, at least all
but the gardener's daughter. No one had told her to go to the feast,
for no one had thought of her.
When all the people were
assembled, the prince saw his mother was not there, and he asked the
King, "Has every one in your country come to my feast?"
"Yes, every one," said the King.
"Are you sure of that?" asked the prince.
"Quite sure," answered the King.
am sure one woman has not come," said the prince. "She is your
gardener's daughter, who was once your wife and is now a servant in
"True," said the King, "I had forgotten her." Then
the prince told his servants to take his finest palanquin and to fetch
the gardener's daughter. They were to bathe her, dress her in beautiful
clothes and handsome jewels, and then bring her to him in the palanquin.
the servants were bringing the gardener's daughter, the King thought
how handsome the young prince was; and he noticed particularly the moon
on his forehead and' the star on his chin, and he wondered in what
country the young prince was born.
And now the palanquin arrived
bringing the gardener's daughter, and the young prince went himself and
took her out of it, and brought her into the tent. He made her a great
many salaams. The four wicked wives looked on and were very much
surprised and very angry. They remembered that, when they arrived, the
prince had made them no salaams, and since then had not taken the least
notice of them; whereas he could not do enough for the gardener's
daughter, and seemed very glad to see her.
When they were all at
dinner, the prince again made the gardener's daughter a great many
salaams, and gave her food from all the nicest dishes. She wondered at
his kindness to her, and thought, "Who is this handsome prince, with a
moon on his forehead and a star on his chin? I never saw any one so
beautiful.. What country does be come from?"
Two or three days
were thus passed in feasting; and all that time the King and his people
were talking about the prince's beauty, and wondering who he was.
One day the prince asked the King if he had any children., "None," he answered.
"Do you know who I am?" asked the prince.
"No," said the King. "Tell me who you are."
"I am your son," answered the prince, "and the gardener's daughter is my mother."
The King shook his head sadly. "How can you be my son," he said, "when I have never had any children?"
I am your son," answered the prince. "Your four wicked Queens told you
the gardener's daughter had given you a stone and not a son; but it was
they who put the stone in my little bed, and then they tried to kill
The King did not believe him. "I wish you were my son," he
said; "but as I never had a child, you cannot be my son." "Do you
remember your dog Shankar, and how you had him killed? And do you
remember your cow Suri, and how you had her killed too? Your wives made
you kill them because of me. And," he said, taking the King to Katar,
"do you know whose horse that is?"
The King looked at Katar, and
then said, "That is my horse Katar." "Yes," said the prince. "Do you
not remember how he rushed past you out of his stable with me on his
back?" Then Katar told the King the prince was really his son, and told
him all the story of his birth, and of his life up to that moment; and
when the King found the beautiful prince was indeed his son, he was so
glad, so glad. He put his arms round him and kissed him and cried for
"Now," said the King, "you must come with me to my palace, and live with me always."
said the prince, "that I cannot do. I cannot go to your palace. I only
came here to fetch my mother; and now that I have found her, I will
take her with me to my father-in-law's palace. I have married a King's
daughter, and we live with her father."
"But now that I have
found you, I cannot let you go," said his father. "You and your wife
must come and live with your mother and me in my palace."
we will never do," said the prince, "unless you will kill your four
wicked Queens with your own hand. If you will do that, we will come and
live with you."
So the King killed his Queens, and' then he and
his wife, the gardener's daughter, and the prince and his wife, all
went to live in the King's palace, and lived there happily together for
ever after; and the King thanked God for giving him such a beautiful
son, and for ridding him of his four wicked wives.
Katar did not return to the fairies' country, but stayed always with the young prince, and never left him.