Indian Fairy Tales: Princess Labam
Reading time: (4 minutes).
When it was quite black night the princess got up. She dressed herself in her rich clothes and jewels, and rolled up her hair, and across her head she put a band of diamonds and pearls. Then she shone like the moon and her beauty made night day. She came out of her room and sat on the roof of her palace. In the daytime she never came out of her house; she only came out at night. All the people in her father's country then went about their work and finished it. The Raja's son watched the princess quietly, and was very happy. He said to himself, " How lovely she is!"
At midnight, when everybody had gone to bed, the princess came down from her roof and went to her room; and when she was in bed and asleep, the Raja's son got up softly and sat on his bed. "Bed," he said to it, "I want to go to the Princess Labam's bedroom."
So the little bed carried him to the room where she lay fast asleep.
The young Raja took his bag and said, "I want a great deal of betel-leaf," and it at once gave him quantities of betel-leaf. This he laid near the princess's bed, and then his little bed carried him back to the old woman's house. Next morning all the princess's servants found the betel-leaf, and began to eat it.
"Where did you get all that betel-leaf?" asked the princess.
"We found it near your bed," answered the servants. Nobody knew the prince had come in the night and put it all there.
In the morning the old woman came to the Raja's son. "Now it is morning," she said, "and you must go; for if the king finds out all I have done for you, he will seize me."
"I am ill today, dear aunty," said the prince; "do let me stay till tomorrow morning."
"Good," said the old woman. So he stayed, and they took their dinner out of the bag, and the bowl gave them water.
When night came the princess got up and sat on her roof, and at twelve o'clock, when every one was in bed, she went to her bedroom, and was soon fast asleep. Then the Raja's son sat on his bed, and it carried him to the princess.
He took his bag and said, "Bag, I want a most lovely shawl." It gave him a splendid shawl, and he spread it over the princess as she lay asleep. Then he went back to the old woman's house and slept till morning.
In the morning, when the princess saw the shawl she was delighted. "See, mother," she said; "Khuda must have given me this shawl, it is so beautiful." Her mother was very glad too.
"Yes, my child," she said; "Khuda must have given you this splendid shawl."
When it was morning the old woman said to the Raja's son, "Now you must really go."
"Aunty," he answered, "I am not well enough yet. Let me stay a few days longer. I will remain hidden in your house, so that no one may see me." So the old woman let him stay.
When it was black night, the princess put on her lovely clothes and jewels and sat on her roof. At midnight she went to her room and went to sleep. Then the Raja's son sat on his bed and flew to her bedroom.
There he said to his bag, "Bag, I want a very, very beautiful ring." The bag gave him a glorious ring. Then he took the Princess Labam's hand gently to put on the ring, and she started up very much frightened.
"Who are you?" she said to the prince. "Where do you come from? Why do you come to my room?"
"Do not be afraid, princess," he said; "I am no thief. I am a great Raja's son. Hiraman parrot, who lives in the jungle where I went to hunt, told me your name, and then I left my father and mother and came to see you."
"Well," said the princess, "as you are the son of such a great raja, I will not have you killed, and I will tell my father and mother that I wish to marry you."
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Indian Fairy Tales (1890), by Joseph Jacobs, illustrated by John Batten. Weblink..
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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