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DECCAN NURSERY TALES

the goddess vanished and flew to Kolhapur, [1] and the old woman's son went home. Now at dawn Queen Patmadhavrani got up and went into the king's courtyard, and there she saw Nandanbaneshwar lying dead from a broken neck. She was overjoyed, and ran back into the palace to tell the king. The king inquired who had killed Nandanbaneshwar. Every one said that the old woman's son must have killed him, because he stayed behind when the others went home. The king sent for the old woman's son. He was very frightened, and when he reached the royal hall he called out, "I have made no false charge against any one. I have done no one any harm. Why, therefore, O King, have you sent for me?" "Do not be afraid," said the king. "My enemy Nandanbaneshwar is dead, and every one says that it is you who killed him. Tell me if this is true." "No, O King," said the boy, "he was killed by the arts of Mahalaxmi." "Where did you meet her?" asked the king. The boy said, "I stayed when the other villagers returned home, and during the night there came the serpent-maidens from

  1. Kolhapur is the chief seat of the worship of Mahalaxmi.

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