| The Boy Who Had A Moon On His Forehead And A Star On His Chin |
HEN SHE 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.
One 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, he 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."
The 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."
The King 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.
"I 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 your palace."
"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.
While 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 he 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?"
"But 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 me."
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 joy.
"Now," said the King, "you must come with me to my palace, and live with me always."
"No," 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."
"That 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.