The sage next turned to the third queen and asked, “What are you quarrelling about?” The queen answered, “Why should I do nothing but fiddle about the nursery?” Vasishta thought for a while and said, “In a former life, O Queen, you were a maid of a jungle tribe. Every Monday you used to fast yourself and offer the choicest fruits that you picked to the god Shiva. In return for them he has made you a queen, and he has entrusted the king’s children to you. Therefore look after them and be kind to them, and in the end he will take you to live with him in Kailas.” The rishi then blessed the third queen, and she prostrated herself before him. Then she ran off, her face all smiles, to play with the king’s children.
Vasishta last of all turned to the fourth queen and said, “What are you quarrelling about?” She answered, “Why should I do nothing but look after the king’s clothes?” The rishi said, “In a former life, O Queen, you were a kite that flew high up in the heavens. Beneath where you used to fly was an altar to Shiva, and every day at noon you would spread your wings over it and shade it from the sun’s heat. So the god was pleased with you and in this life made you one of the queens of Atpat. As you spread your wings over Shiva’s altar, so now a canopy hangs over your bed. And just as you served Shiva, now do service to the king, your husband. And you will thereby gain full merit and in the end reach Kailas.” Then the rishi blessed her, and she went off quite gaily to attend to the king’s clothes.
And the four queens never quarrelled any more, but lived happily ever afterwards with the king. And all little girls who hear this story should try to be as good as the queens were after Vasishta had cured them of their squabbling.
The Lamps and the King’s Daughter-in-Law
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,