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Raja Harichand’s Punishment
by [?]

The angels said to them, “For three weeks you will not be able to eat anything; you will not be able to eat any food you may find or may have given you. But you will not die, you will live.” Then the angels went away.

The Rájá was very sad when he looked round his palace and saw everything in it, and all the people in it, stone, and saw all his gold and silver turned to charcoal. He said to his wife, “I cannot stay here. I must go to some other country. I was a great Rájá; how can I ask my ryots to give me food? We will dress ourselves like fakírs, and go to another country.”

They put on fakírs’ clothes and went out of their palace. They wandered in the jungle till they saw a plum-tree covered with fruit. “Do gather some of those plums for me,” said the Rání, who was very hungry. The Rájá went to the tree and put out his hand to gather the plums; but when he did this, they at once all left the tree and went a little way up into the air. When he drew back his hand, the plums returned to the tree. The Rájá tried three times to gather the plums, but never could do so.

He and the Rání then went on till they came to a plain in another country, where was a large tank in which men were fishing. The Rání said to her husband, “Go and ask those men to give us a little of their fish, for I am very hungry.” The Rájá went to the men and said, “I am a fakír, and have no pice. Will you give me some of your fish, for I have not eaten for four days and am hungry?” The men gave him some fish, and he and his wife carried it to a tank on another plain. The Rání cleaned and prepared the fish for cooking, and said to her husband, “I have nothing in which to cook this fish. Go up to the town (there was a town close by) and ask some one to give you an earthen pot with a lid, and some salt.”

The Rájá went up to the town, and some one in the bazar gave him the earthen pot, and a grain merchant put a little salt into it. Then he returned to the Rání, and they made a fire under a tree, put the fish into the pot, and set the pot on the fire. “I have not bathed for some days,” said the Rájá. “I will go and bathe while you cook the fish, and when I come back we will eat it.” So he went to bathe, and the Rání sat watching the fish. Presently she thought, “If I leave the lid on the pot, the fish will dry up and burn.” Then she took off the lid, and the fish instantly jumped out of the pot into the tank and swam away. This made the Rání sad; but she sat there quiet and silent. When the Rájá had bathed, he returned to his wife, and said, “Now we will eat our fish.” The Rání answered, “I had not eaten for four days, and was very hungry, so I ate all the fish.” “Never mind,” said the Rájá, “it does not matter.”

They wandered on, and the next day came to another jungle where they saw two pigeons. The Rájá took some grass and sticks, and made a bow and arrow. He shot the pigeons with these, and the Rání plucked and cleaned them. Her husband and she made a little fire, put the pigeons in their pot, and set them on it. There was a tank near. “Now I will go and bathe,” said the Rání; “I have not bathed for some days. When I come back, we will eat the pigeons.” So she went to bathe, and the Rájá sat down to watch the pigeons. Presently he thought, “If I leave the pot shut, the birds will dry up and burn.” So he took off the lid, and instantly away flew the pigeons out of the pot. He guessed at once what the fish had done yesterday, and sat still and silent till the Rání came back. “I have eaten the pigeons in the same way that you ate the fish yesterday,” he said to her. The Rání understood what had happened, and saw the Rájá knew how the fish had escaped.