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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 139 pages of information about Sakoontala or the Lost Ring.

Help! help! to the rescue!

KING.

[Recovering himself.  Listening.

Ha!  I heard a cry of distress, and in Ma[t.]havya’s voice too.  What ho there!

VETRAVATI. [Entering.

Your friend is in danger; save him, great King.

KING.

Who dares insult the worthy Ma[t.]havya?

VETRAVATI.

Some evil demon, invisible to human eyes, has seized him, and carried him to one of the turrets of the Palace of Clouds.

KING. [Rising.

Impossible!  Have evil spirits power over my subjects, even in nay private apartments?  Well, well;—­ Daily I seem, less able to avert Misfortune from myself, and o’er my actions Less competent to exercise control; How can I then direct my subjects’ ways, Or shelter them from tyranny and wrong?

A VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.

Halloo there! my dear friend; help! help!

KING. [Advancing with rapid strides.

Fear nothing—­

THE SAME VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.

Fear nothing, indeed!  How can I help fearing when some monster is twisting back my neck, and is about to snap it as he would a sugar-cane?

KING. [Looking round
What ho there! my bow!

SLAVE. [Entering with a bow.

Behold your bow, Sire, and your arm-guard.

[The KING snatches up the bow and arrows.

ANOTHER VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.

  Here, thirsting for thy life-blood, will I slay thee,
  As a fierce tiger rends his struggling prey. 
  Call now thy friend Dushyanta to thy aid;
  His bow is mighty to defend the weak;
  Yet all its vaunted power shall be as nought.

KING. [With fury.

What! dares he defy me to my face?  Hold there, monster!  Prepare to die, for your time is come.

[Stringing his bow.]

Vetravati, lead the way to the terrace.

VETRAVATI.

This way, Sire.

[They advance in haste.

KING. [Looking on every side.

How’s this? there is nothing to be seen.

A VOICE BEHIND THE SCENES.

Help!  Save me!  I can see you, though you cannot see me.  I am like a mouse in the claws of a cat; my life is not worth a minute’s purchase.

KING.

Avaunt, monster!  You may pride yourself on the magic that renders you invisible, but my arrow shall find you out.  Thus do I fix a shaft That shall discern between an impious demon, And a good Brahman; bearing death to thee, To him deliverance—­even as the swan Distinguishes the milk from worthless water[101].

[Takes aim.

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