Literature / The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate
The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate
is an Indian Fairy Tale
, collected by Andrew Lang
and included by him in The Brown Fairy Book
A king has a beautiful daughter and loves hunting. One day, chasing a white stag, he became very lost and stumbled on a hermit, who, after being pressed, tells him that his daughter is fated to marry a slave-girl's son. He immediately treats with the king who owns her, and having been given both the woman and her son, takes them to the wilderness, where he kills the woman and abandons the baby.
A poor widow, without any family, lived in that wilderness. She supported herself with her goats, but wondered what she would do if she were ill or injured. One day, her best nanny goat did not have a drop of milk. When this happened again and again, she followed it one day and found the baby and his dead mother. She buried the woman and took in the baby to help her in old age. He grew up into a brave, beautiful, and industrious young man.
One day, he found a peddler's donkey eating their cabbages, so he beat it, defending himself to his neighbor. The neighbor exaggerated, claiming he had threatened the peddlar, and the king, who had been the peddlar in disguise, had him arrested on the pretence that even a poor peddlar could have justice in his lands. He realized who he was, because his mother was too old, and then said that he could be pardoned if he enrolled in the army, because he looked to be a good soldier and needed some discipline. Once in, he was sent on many dangerous missions, which he survived. Then the king tries to have him poisoned, but a dog eats some of his food first, alerting him. Finally, the king sent him off with a message, to a governor — whose wife the princess was visiting.
The young man arrived with the message and was told the governor was resting, and would receive him in the evening. He himself went to sleep in the garden. The princess did not like the custom of sleeping during the day, and pretended to do so, so that her ladies would sleep, and she could wander as she pleased. She came upon the young man and was much taken with his looks, and stole the message to find it was one for his execution. She altered it to say that they should marry at once. The governor, being the king's most faithful servant, carried it out at once.
The king was much distressed, but stopped fighting fate. He received his son-in-law, who was his heir after he died.
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