and the little daughter-in-law was utterly disgraced. Her father-in-law and all her brothers-in-law scolded her dreadfully, and at last the king drove her out of the house. Now it so happened that it had till then always been the work of the little daughter-in-law to look after the lamps in the king’s palace. Every morning she used to rub them well and trim the wicks. She used to light them herself and neap the burners with sugar-candy, and on Divali  Day she used to worship them and make them suitable offerings. But, directly the little daughter-in-law was driven away, none of the lamps were any longer cared for. On the next Divali Day the king was returning from a hunt, and he camped under a tree. Suddenly he saw all the lamps in his town of Atpat come and settle on its branches. One lamp after another told what was happening in its house—when there had been a dinner party, what there had been to eat, who had been invited, how they themselves had been cared for, and what honours they had received on Divali Day. After all the other lamps had told their story, the big lamp from the king’s palace began, “Brother lamps, I do not know how to tell you. For none among you is so wretched as I am. In former years I was the most fortunate of all the lamps in Atpat. No other lamp had such honours paid it as I had, and this year I have to drag out my days In unspeakable misery.” All the other lamps tried to comfort it, and asked it how it was that ill-fortune had overtaken it. “O brother lamps, how can I tell you?” repeated the big lamp. “I am the chief among the lamps that shine In the palace of the King of Atpat. One day the king’s little daughter-in-law ate some sweetmeats and to save herself blamed the mice. To revenge themselves, they in turn brought a false charge against her by putting her bodice on the bed of one of the king’s guests. So she was disgraced and driven out of the house. And after she left ill-fortune came upon me. For every year it was she who worshipped me and paid me honour; and wherever she is I wish her well, and I give her my blessing.” The king listened attentively to the talk between the lamps, and thus he learnt that his daughter-in-law was innocent. He went home and asked whether there was any other evidence against her besides her bodice. And when he learnt that there was none, and that no one had seen anything happen between her and the king’s guest, he sent a messenger for her and had her brought home. And he begged her pardon for the past, and gave her full authority over all his household; and the king lived and ruled ever afterwards as wisely and as well as King Ramchandra of Ayodhya. And if any one brings a false charge against any of us, may the lamps save us as they did the king’s little daughter-in-law.
Parwati and the Priest