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INDIRA AND OTHER STORIES

of the other odious things he said; I cannot write them down. The older man was, it seems, the leader of the gang. He raised his staff and said, "I will break your head, scoundrel, if you talk thus. Are such sins for the like of us?" So saying, he departed with his followers. As long as I could hear their voices, I retained consciousness. When I could hear them no more, I fell into a dead faint.


II.

I suppose I must have slept, for when I came to my senses the crows and kokilas were already awake and noisy. The light of dawn was shining through the delicate leaves of the bamboo clumps. I rose to my feet and started in search of a village, and after a time came upon human habitations. I asked the people I met if they could tell me the way to my father's village or to that where my father-in-law lived. No one knew. Soon I found, that I was safer in the forest than here. In the first place it was painful for me, a maiden bred in the

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