THE PRINCESS AND THE GOLD RING
The king's two children continued to grow. At the age of sixteen, princess Mara had already developed into such a beautiful maiden that the news of her beauty spread far and wide. And being the first child, the king loved her so much that almost every time, he was thinking about what to do to protect her from all harm. For she was so beautiful that she looked rather too delicate and fragile for the earth. 'What happened if by chance the serpent regained the power to hurt people?' the king thought like a child. 'Being so wicked, would the beast not go straight after his beloved daughter?'
Although the king knew too well the fact that as long as the gold ring was there the serpent would not hurt anybody in Mayomi, he allowed this thought to gradually become a part of him. But he never told his wife about it. Instead, he decided on something he felt must be done to make sure his beautiful daughter wa
With the ring almost always in her finger, princess Mara became rather too quiet and pensive. She suddenly boycotted all social gatherings and no longer went out to swim with the virgins of Mayomi. Her mother called her to herself a number of times to tell her there was no need to live a solitary life because of the gold ring. But all she said were to no avail. When the princess started living so much on her own, her brother as well became worried. One evening, however, six weeks after she was given the ring, the princess was sitting in her room hearing her maid read her a story.'All these hours you have been reading me stories.' She said to her. 'Now keep the book aside. I will tell you a story.'The maid closed the book and placed it on a nearby table.'Have you ever heard any story about the terrible serpent?'There was a knock on the door before the maid could answer her question. So she i
There was silence inside the room. The brother and sister looked at each other as if they had never met before. None of them knew what next to say. The princess had however already decided on what to do. She loved her brother more than she had been able to express.As she had already said, she could not afford to lose him or her fiancé. So she must stop them from continuing with that plan. To stop them, however, she must do something she would never have liked to do. Scarcely did her brother leave her room than she found herself in her father's bedroom.'You look terribly flushed, Mara,' her father said, 'what is the matter?’'Nothing,' she said, smiling. 'I've only come to make a request.’'Oh, go on my daughter. But don't ask for what you don't deserve.’'Is there anything I won't get from you just for the asking?’'Well, well, well. Of
THE HANGING SENTENCEAt the end of the third year after these happenings, an alarming thing happened. Knowing how important her gold ring was, princess Mara kept it with every care. It was during the time of the Virgins' Festival also called The Festival of Pure Lily. On that day, all the virgins of Mayomi went to the various rivers of the land to swim as a part of the festival of the season. They were usually accompanied by some of their brothers to protect them from assaults if there happened to be any such thing. It was however the princess' habit to remove her ring and put it into a little box before going out to swim. But on that day, she was rather so excited about the event of the day that she forgot to remove it. And unfortunately, neither her brother nor any of her maids bosom friends noticed she had brought the ring to the river. If any of them had seen the ring on her finger, there would never have been the need for a
Meanwhile, however, the river having now settled considerably, the young men had already slipped into the water, quietly swimming about in search of the ring. The prince was in fact also with them. But for the next forty-five minutes, they moved about inside the river, going down, deep and almost across to the other bank in the serious search. But there was nothing like the ring to be found. So, at the end, they came out of the water completely exhausted. It was the saddest day in the prince's live. For since he grew up, that was the first time he saw his sister weeping so bitterly. It was with the greatest art of persuasion that the princess was made to accept leaving the river bank. She said it would be better to die in the river than go home without the ring. She could not help imagining what was really going to happen to the people of Mayomi now the ring was lost. As for her own fate, she knew she was simp
The news was immediately sent to the king. And without waiting for the slightest moment, he had personally left the palace with some guards, all on horses' back. That was exactly how they came to be there. And when the king saw his son staggering away without even recognizing his presence, he almost did not know how he alighted from his horse as he rushed to his aid. When he picked him up and saw his body full of blood, he raised his voice and cried bitterly. The prince would have liked to tell him not to worry since he felt he was alright, but he could scarcely open his mouth to speak. So, waving his hands for the guards to clear, he pointed at the dead snakes some yards away and said:'The serpent is dead. I killed it. Seven snakes, one serpent,' - and collapsed into his father's arms.King Adino almost could not believe it. How he held and embraced his beloved son, how he wept with joy! For at