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XVII

THE KING AND THE WATER-

GODDESES

ONCE Once upon a time there was a town called Atpat. Over it there ruled a king. One day he founded a new village, and close by he built a village tank. But no matter how hard he tried he could not get it filled with water. So he prayed to the water-goddesses to help him, and the water-goddesses were pleased and said, "O King, O King, sacrifice to us the eldest son of your daughter-in-law, and the tank will fill with water." The king heard it and went home very troubled. He was ready to sacrifice his grandson; for though he loved the boy, yet he knew that the life of one was less than the welfare of many. But he knew that his daughter-in-law would never agree. At last he thought of a trick. He went up to her and said, "Daughter-in-law, it is a long time since you went to see your parents. You had

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