“Yes,” answered Dhairya-Sila, “all is still well with me. I have slept well, feeling confident that my dear one would bring all that is needed for my safety; but I dread the great heat of another day, and we must lose no time in getting away from this terrible tower. Now attend most carefully to all I bid you do; and remember not to speak loud, or the sentries posted within hearing will take alarm and drive you away. First of all, tie the end of the silken thread round the middle of the beetle, leaving all its legs quite free. Then rub the drop of honey on its nose, and put the little creature on the wall, with its nose turned upwards towards me. It will smell the honey, but will not guess that it carries it itself, and it will crawl upwards in the hope of getting to the hive from which that honey came. Keep the rest of the silk firmly held, and gradually unwind it as the beetle climbs up. Mind you do not let it slip, for my very life depends on that slight link with you.”
7. Which do you think had the harder task to perform—the husband at the top of the tower or the wife at the foot of it?
8. Do you think the beetle was likely to imagine it was on the way to a hive of bees when it began to creep up the tower?
Buddhi-Mati, though her hands shook and her heart beat fast as she realized all that depended on her, kept the silk from becoming entangled; and when it was nearly all unwound, she heard her husband’s voice saying to her: “Now tie the cotton thread to the end of the silk that you hold, and let it gradually unwind.” She obeyed, fully understanding now what all these preparations were for.
When the little messenger of life reached the top of the tower, Dhairya-Sila took it up in his hand and very gently unfastened the silken thread from its body. Then he placed the beetle carefully in a fold of his turban, and began to pull the silken thread up—very, very slowly, for if it had broken, his wonderful scheme would have come to an end. Presently he had the cotton thread in his fingers, and he broke off the silk, wound it up, and placed it too in his turban. It had done its duty well, and he would not throw it away.
“Half the work is done now,” he whispered to his faithful wife. “You have all but saved me now. Take the twine and tie it to the end of the cotton thread.”
Very happily Buddhi-Mati obeyed once more; and soon the cotton thread and twine were also laid aside, and the strong rope tied to the last was being quickly dragged up by the clever vizier, who knew that all fear of death from sunstroke or hunger was over. When he had all the rope on the tower, he fastened one end of it to the iron railing which ran round the platform on which he stood, and very quickly slid down to the bottom, where his wife was waiting for him, trembling with joy.
9. Do you see anything very improbable in the account of what the beetle did?