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VASISHTA AND THE FOUR QUEENS

out, "Why should I have all the children to look after?" And the fourth cried out, "Why should I have all the bother of sorting out all the king's clothes?" The king said, "You must do these things because I ordered you to." But the queens did not mind a word that he said, and they all screamed together so loud that the king and the rishi had to put their fingers in their ears to save themselves from being deafened. For a while the rishi became absorbed in thought, and then he turned to the first queen and said, "You have been placed in charge of the dairy, have you not?" The first queen assented. "Then listen to me," said Vasishta. "In a former life you were a cow, and near the spot in the jungle where you used to graze was an altar to Shiva. And every day at noon you used to come and stand near it and let milk drop upon it. And, because in this way you honoured the god Shiva, you have in this life become one of the queens of the king of Atpat. But you did not in your former life attain to full merit. So the god Shiva directed the king to place you in charge of his dairy, and the king conveyed the god's directions to you.

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