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DECCAN NURSERY TALES

Suddenly none of the looms would work. They began looking about to see if any stranger had come. After a little while they found the queen. So they beat her soundly and drove her away. Then she ran out of the town back into the jungle. There she wandered about until she came to the cave of a rishi or sage. The rishi was sitting lost in meditation. But she bided her time, and, when he went to bathe, she slipped into the cave and swept it and neaped it and tidied up all the utensils used by him for worship. Then she slipped out of the cave and ran back into the jungle. This went on every day for twelve years without the rishi showing that he was aware of what she was doing. But in his heart he was really pleased with her. And one day he called out in a loud voice, "Who is it who sweeps and neaps my cave? Whoever she is, let her step forward." The queen stepped into the presence of the rishi and threw herself at his feet and said, "If you promise not to punish me, I shall tell you." The rishi promised, and she told him her story. The rishi took out his magic books and, consulting them, learned that Mahalaxmi

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