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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/299

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291
Balochi Tales.

it, and the king summoned Naina Bai. All the people crowded together to see the sight of Naina Bai undergoing the ordeal by fire.

The goatherd perceived that Naina Bai, being false, would have to be protected from the effects of the fire by some trick. So he dressed his brother the prince in the dress of a faqīr, he made him like a half-witted beggar, and stationed him in the crowd, and instructed him, when Naina Bai came to the end of the trench, to rush up like a madman and throw his arms round her, and cry out, "King, why are you going to throw such a beauty into the fire?"

When all was ready Naina Bai came up to the fire, and a faqir ran up and threw his arms round her neck, and called out to the king in the words taught him by the goatherd. Then Naina Bai turned towards the king and said: "I have never been embraced by any other than my husband, and by this faqīr whom God has sent me, and by the king my lover. No other has touched me, and if I speak falsely may the fire burn me!" Then she entered into the trench, and as she spoke true she was cleared.[1]

The king gave Naina Bai leave to depart, and she went to her home. The king returned to his palace and sent for the soothsayer, and told him to beware against making false charges against Naina Bai again, but pardoned him that time.

What was the goatherd's next trick, but to dress up his own prince as a woman! He made him into a beautiful woman, and took him to the house of Naina Bai's fatherin-law, and said to him: "I have come to this town from outside, and everyone tells me that yours is the most respectable ward of the town. This woman is my brother's wife, and I want you to take charge of her, and keep her in your ward, and look after her until I come back with my brother to take her away." The father-in-law agreed,

  1. As long as the words used were literally true, her actual guilt or innocence did not matter.