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A Cruel Queen

One beautiful night the animals were singing their spring songs. The leaves and flowers grew fast and green. The bright spring moon shone on the mountains and lakes. It seemed like a million stars were shining. On this night the queen had a baby boy, delighting everyone. Some years later the queen became very ill. As she was dying she said to the king, "Please don't look down into a forest if you go to a mountaintop. It will only bring you sadness." The queen's voice became quieter and quieter and then she died. The king felt very sad and wondered why his wife had said this to him.

Despite his wife's warning, a few weeks later he went to a mountaintop, looked into the forest, and there he saw a beautiful woman. She was a devil, but looked like a goddess. The king was so fascinated by her that he married her. She became his queen and soon gave birth to a son.

Some years later the new queen pretended to be ill. The king loved his beautiful wife very much and worriedly asked, "What can I do to help you get well?"

First she slyly said nothing because she knew that the king loved her so much that he would do anything for her, but at last she said, "There is one thing that can make me well again, but alas, it must not be given me!"

The king quickly asked, "What?"

"The heart of your oldest son," answered the queen.

The king loved his wife so much that he decided to kill his son. The next day he took his son to a lake to drown him. By the bank they saw a mother goose swimming with her goslings. The king said, "Kill these geese!"

The son anwered, "No, they're very happy. If Mother were still alive, we would be as happy as they."

When the king heard this, he could not kill his son. He killed a dog instead and gave his wife its heart. She happily ate the heart and said, "Now, I am well."

Next day when she saw the boy playing in the garden, she became angry and pretended to be ill again. She said to the king, "The heart you gave me was not the right one, for I'm ill again."

The king then ordered one of his servants to kill the boy and cut out his heart. But the servant could not kill the boy. He killed a cat instead and gave its heart to the cruel queen. She ate it and said she was well.

A few days later when she saw the boy, she again pretended to be ill. This time she said, "I'll kill him myself." Her own son overheard what she said and told his half-brother what she planned to do. Then the two brothers decided to run away together.

After many hours they were very hungry and thirsty and the younger brother became ill. The older brother went looking for water and found some in a horse's hoofprint. He soaked his shirt in the water and took it to the younger boy. The younger boy drank the water and was then strong enough to walk further.

They walked on for many hours. Tthen the younger brother became ill again. The older brother put him under a tree. He knew that when it rained the water would drip into his brother's mouth from the leaves. He then went looking for help from a monk that he thought lived nearby. But it took him many days to find the monk.

When he found the monk he told him his troubles. The monk gave him some medicine and told him to return to his half-brother. When he found his half-brother again, he was shocked to see that he had become wild like an animal and hunted with other animals and did not recognise him. What a change had come over him!

But after the younger brother got the medicine he remembered all, and they decided to go back home. But when they got there, they found that their father was in prison and the queen planned to have him killed.

They saw a chance to visit him in prison, and then their father said to his eldest son, "Run away or the queen will kill you too."

Instead of fleeing, his eldest son and his half-brother devised a plan. They slipped sleeping powder into her soup, and then freed their father from prison. He put his wife in a jail with much thicker walls and bars than usual and no contact with the keepers, and then he and his sons lived happily together.

[Retold]

A Beautiful Shining Star

Caireng lived with his parents until one terrible year when all of his family's crops withered and died. When no food remained in his home, Caireng left to try to find a job in order to support his parents. After he had walked for a while he met an old man carrying a heavy wicker basket on his back. Caireng ran up and said, "Let me help you carry this heavy wicker basket."

The old man gave him the basket and said, "How kind of you."

As they were walking along, the sky suddenly grew dark. A roaring dragon suddenly flew overhead. Caireng was a brave boy, but he was terribly afraid of dragons. He cried out in fear, dropped to the ground, and covered his head with his hands.

"Boy, the dragon is an ordinary animal. Why are you so afraid of it?" asked the old man.

"You don't fear dragons until you really see them," replied Caireng.

"Well, we can go together to see the dragons. Then you can see that I don't fear them," said the old man. He was actually a magician. Now he said some magic words, and suddenly he and Caireng were flying above the clouds like birds. Caireng saw beautiful, snowy mountains in front and blue oceans behind him. When he looked up, there were many stars hanging in the sky. He stretched out his hand, picked a beautiful one, looked at it, and then put it in his pocket.

He saw two dragons leading a horse loaded with a huge bucket of water. When the dragons' tails clashed together, it made a loud sound. Caireng realized that this was how thunder was made. Three god-boys took water out of the bucket and watered the clouds.

When the god-boys saw Caireng, they called, "Come and help us bring rain water to the dry ground."

Caireng was very happy to help. He took a big ladle and poured water on the fields. He poured extra water on his father's fields. The three god-boys thanked him for his help. They also helped him return home: They tied Caireng to the dragon's tail with a rope and then lowered him slowly to the ground.

Caireng was happy to be home again. He was also happy because it was raining, and his parents were overjoyed to see him home safe and sound.

Caireng went into the living room, took the beautiful star out of his pocket, and put it on a table. It lit up the room.

After many days, everybody in the village knew that Caireng had picked a beautiful shining star from the sky. At last the news reached the king. He wanted the star so much that he gave Caireng a heap of gold money for it. Caireng then became the richest man in that place. He built a lovely house for his parents and himself. He also gave much money to poor people.

A Chest of Stones

Pencu lived a happy life with his wife Lhamo and their sons Dorji, Renchin, and Gama in a big tent near a river. Lhamo worked at home, milking and collecting yak dung for fuel. Every morning Pencu took the livestock to the mountain. Dorji, Renchin, and Gama did much housework and helped their mother fetch water.

Twenty years passed. Pencu and Lhamo got older. One by one the sons left their parents' home and each established his own tent.

Now, Pencu and Lhamo's led simple lives in their old tent and only had two sheep left after they gave their other livestock to their sons. Now they had only simple food.

One day Lhamo died. Pencu was now alone. Some time later his cousin Tsomu visited his tent and was very sad to see the old man. He had not eaten for days. He was old, weak and thin. Tsomu gave Pencu some hot milk and barley porridge, saying, "Pencu, you don't need to live like this!"

Then she left the tent and found two of Pencu's other relatives. They talked about Pencu for half an hour and then hurried away. That afternoon Tsomu and the two men returned. Tsomu sat beside Pencu and said gently, "You need someone to care for you. Please come outside the tent and see who are there."

Pencu grasped his walking stick and came out of the tent. Outside were his three sons waiting for him. They said, "One month he will live with Dorji, then with Renchin, and the following month with Gama."

Pencu did as he was told, but he was treated unkindly by each of them during his stay at their homes. Three months later Tsomu came to visit again. She learned what had happened and was saddened by what she heard. She whispered something to Pencu and then returned home.

The next day Pencu got up early and told Renchin that he would go to Lhasa. "Many years ago I loaned one thousand yuan [dollars] to a man in Lhasa. Now that I have some more time left, so I'll go to Lhasa for a little while and see what I can get back with from there," he said. He mounted a horse and rode away. Some days later he came back. His sons smiled when they saw him return and helped him get off his horse. They had noticed that Pencu was holding a chest, and thought it contained the money.

"Father, did you get the money?" Renchin asked softly.

Pencu said nothing. He sat down on the grassland. His three sons sat around him.

"I was wrong, Father," Renchin went on sadly. "I'm sorry. I broke a promise to our mother. She wanted me to take care of you. I didn't keep my promise and was unkind to you."

Pencu did not feel angry. He felt sorry for his son.

Renchin went on, "Please come and stay in my tent as long as you wish. I'll be kind to you." Renchin helped Pencu stand up and they walked together to Renchin's tent. Pencu entered the warm tent with his sons.

That night Pencu was happy. He had mutton to eat, drank milk tea, and talked with his sons all night. All his sons were very kind to him because they were thinking of the locked chest. They were eager to inherit the money they thought was in it.

When Pencu died, his sons were not all too sad. They took the heavy chest, looked at each other and smiled. Renchin opened the chest. It was full of stones. They took the stones out of the chest and found there was no money inside it. They looked at their dead father and shouted angrily at him.

Tsomu heard them from her tent. She knew what had happened and laughed.

[Retold]

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