“You can do everything that is needed to help me,” answered Dhairya-Sila quietly, “if you only obey every direction I give you. Do not for one moment suppose that I am in despair. I am more powerful even now than my master, who has but shown his weakness by attempting to harm me. Now listen to me. Come to-morrow night at this very hour, bringing with you the following things: first, a beetle; secondly, sixty yards of the finest silk thread, as thin as a spider’s web; thirdly, sixty yards of cotton thread, as thin as you can get it, but very strong; fourthly, sixty yards of good stout twine; fifthly, sixty yards of rope, strong enough to carry my weight; and last, but certainly not least, one drop of the purest bees’ honey.”
3. Do you think the vizier thought of all these things before or after he was taken to the tower?
4. What special quality did he display in the way in which he faced his position on the tower?
Buddhi-Mati listened very attentively to these strange instructions, and began to ask questions about them. “Why do you want the beetle? Why do you want the honey?” and so on. But her husband checked her. “I have no strength to waste in explanations,” he said. “Go home in peace, sleep well, and dream of me.” So the anxious wife went meekly away; and early the next day she set to work to obey the orders she had received. She had some trouble in obtaining fine enough silk, so very, very thin it had to be, like a spider’s web; but the cotton, twine and rope were easily bought; and to her surprise she was not asked what she wanted them for. It took her a good while to choose the beetle. For though she had a vague kind of idea that the silk, the cotton, twine, and rope, were to help her husband get down from the tower, she could not imagine what share the beetle and the honey were to take. In the end she chose a very handsome, strong-looking, brilliantly coloured fellow who lived in the garden of her home and whom she knew to be fond of honey.
5. Can you guess how the beetle and the honey were to help in saving Dhairya-Sila?
6. Do you think it would have been better if the vizier had told his wife how all the things he asked for were to be used?
All the time Buddhi-Mati was at work for her husband, she was thinking of him and looking forward to the happy day of his return home. She had such faith in him that she did not for a moment doubt that he would escape; but she was anxious about the future, feeling sure that the Raja would never forgive Dhairya-Sila for being wiser than himself. Exactly at the time fixed the faithful wife appeared at the foot of the tower, with all the things she had been told to bring with her.
“Is all well with my lord?” she whispered, as she gazed up through the darkness. “I have the silken thread as fine as gossamer, the cotton thread, the twine, the rope, the beetle and the honey.”