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VASISHTA AND THE FOUR QUEENS

queen, and she prostrated herself and went off quite cheerfully to cook the king's dinner.

The sage next turned to the third queen and asked, "What are you quarrelling about?" The queen answered, "Why should I do nothing but fiddle about the nursery?" Vasishta thought for a while and said, "In a former life, O Queen, you were a maid of a jungle tribe. Every Monday you used to fast yourself and offer the choicest fruits that you picked to the god Shiva. In return for them he has made you a queen, and he has entrusted the king's children to you. Therefore look after them and be kind to them, and in the end he will take you to live with him in Kailas." The rishi then blessed the third queen, and she prostrated herself before him. Then she ran off, her face all smiles, to play with the king's children.

Vasishta last of all turned to the fourth queen and said, "What are you quarrelling about?" She answered, "Why should I do nothing but look after the king's clothes?" The rishi said, "In a former life, O Queen, you were a kite that flew high up in the heavens. Beneath where you used to fly was an altar to

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