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THE GOLDEN TEMPLE

went and hid herself in the woods. Now it so happened that that very day a band of serpent-maidens[1] had come up from Patâla. After wandering through the forest and bathing in the running streams, they had joined a bevy of wood-nymphs and were coming in her direction. At first she was too terrified to say a single word. But at last she asked, "Ladies, ladies, where are you going?" "To the temple of Shiva," they replied, "to worship the god. For by doing that, one wins the love of one's husband, one obtains children, and one comes by the wish of one's heart." When the ugly daughter-in-law heard that by doing what the serpent-maidens and the wood-nymphs were about to do she could win love for herself, she at once thought that in this way she, too, might win the love of her father-in-law. So she told the serpent-maidens of Patâla and the wood-nymphs that she would go with them. They went deeper and deeper into the forest until at last they came to a temple of the god Shiva. There the serpent-

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  1. Nag-kanya. These are the maidens of the race of the Nagas, who are said to have sprung from Kadru, wife of Kasyapa. One of them, Ulupi, married the hero Arjuna. They live in Patâla, the lowest of the seven underground regions.