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VII

MAHALAXMI AND THE TWO QUEENS

ONCE upon a time there was a town called Atpat. In it there lived a king who had two queens. Of one of them he was very fond, but the other one he did not care for. The name of the favoured one was Patmadhavrani, and the name of the unloved one was Chimadevrani. Now the king had an enemy called Nandanbaneshwar. Such a terrible enemy he was too! He could jump into the clouds or dive into the bottom of the ocean. At one moment he would shoot up into heaven. At another he would sink down into hell, and through fear of his enemy, the king had become as dry and as thin as an old bit of stick. One day the king, in despair, assembled all his subjects and ordered them to seek out and kill Nandanbaneshwar. All the subjects said,

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