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  The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold] IN a city in India lived a little girl who had no name. Her mother died when she was j...

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams

 

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

IN a city in India lived a little girl who had no name. Her mother died when she was just a baby, before there was time for her to be named, and her father well, when he wanted to speak to her he just shouted, 'You, there," and she always obeyed him, so that seemed to be name enough.

 

As she grew older he found plenty for her to do. Early in the morning she had to get up to milk the cow, clean and polish everything in the house, and prepare breakfast for her father. If there were more than he wished to eat, little You There could have what was left. After that she had to take the cows of the village out to pasture and watch to keep them from wandering away. When the sun was straight above her she returned to her home and prepared dinner for her father, then went again to the fields to care for the cows. At sunset the tired girl re- turned with the cows to finish her work at home. 

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

Finally she became so worn out with all this work that she asked her father to bring home a wife to do the work of the house. The father brought home a new wife, just as she asked, but, dear me! what a poor sort of a wife she was! She was big and fat and lazy. She ate enough for three people, and wouldn't even drive the flies off her own food, much less prepare the meals for other people. So poor little You There had twice as much work to do as before. 

It was very hot out in the fields, too, for there were no trees near this village, not even a bush, nothing but the long grass. In fact, the people of that village hardly knew what a tree looked like, for only the men who had traveled far away to other towns had ever seen one. The poor little girl had to stay out in the hot sun all day, watching the cows, with nothing at all to shade her. No wonder that she grew very tired and sometimes fell fast asleep. 

One day she fell asleep and dreamed such a pleasant dream. She was sitting in a beautiful garden full of tall, feathery palms and spreading mango trees, and with a lovely fountain splashing its cool waters in the center. But something writhing and squirming in her lap awakened her. It was a huge spotted snake. Ugh! How it wriggled and slipped! 

She was just about to scream and run away, when she saw that the snake was in trouble, and she was sorry for even a snake who needed help. So she asked gently, "What do you want, poor snake? Can I help you?" 

"Yes," said the snake, "the hunters are after me and will kill me. Will you let me coil myself about your feet so that your skirt will hide me until they have gone away?" 

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

Now this little girl didn't like cold, crawling, slimy things coiling about her feet any better than you or I would, but she was very kind- hearted and did not want to see even a horrid spotted snake killed, so she said, "Well, coil around quickly, and please, oh, please lie very still and don't squirm one bit, and I'll promise to hide you until they are gone." 

The snake had no sooner hidden than the hunters came. "Have you seen a big spotted snake going this way?" they asked. 

“I was asleep," said the little girl. "The sun was hot, and I was tired. I just woke up, but I don't see any snake here now." So, the hunters went on, thinking the snake was ahead of them. 

After they were gone the snake came out and said, "Little girl, I want to make you a gift as a reward for saving my life. Ask the finest thing you can think of, for I can give you anything." 

'There are just two things I should like to have," said the girl. "One is a name, something besides You There, which I don't like at all; the other is a beautiful garden, full of tall palm and mango trees, with a lovely fountain splashing its cool waters in the center. I really think I'd rather have the garden, for this sun is so very hot." 

"All right," said the snake. "A garden you shall have, a wonderful Garden of Dreams, the most beautiful one possible. You shall have the name, too, but that will come later. Just close your eyes one moment." 

She closed her eyes, and what the snake did then I'll never tell you, but when he said, "Open," she opened her eyes to see the garden of her dreams. 

How cool and pleasant it was in the shade of the tall palm tree, with a fountain, tinkling like a silver bell, in the center of the garden! 

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

Just then she noticed the cows were straying away, so she hopped up and ran after them. Then what do you think became of the garden? Why, it hopped up and ran along, too. Really, it did -that beautiful garden full of tall palm and mango trees, with the lovely fountain splashing its cool waters in the center. The tallest palm tree ran right along beside the little girl. Its cool shade covered her every movement, and when she was ready to sit down, there was her beautiful garden with her, and she could rest in its shade. 

When the sun had set and she drove the cows home to the village her garden went with her, and waited all night just outside her door, and the fountain tinkled her a song while she slept. 

One day, as she was sleeping under her palm tree, the great King from a distant city chanced to be riding that way. He was tired, and he was hot, and he was thirsty, and when he saw the cool shade of the trees and heard the tinkle of falling water he cried to his men, "See, here is a garden, as lovely as one in a dream, and the only one in all this treeless land. Dismount, tie your elephants and camels, and rest while I sleep in the shade of this mango tree." 

The King slept, and he awoke to find his mango tree running away and pushing him along as it ran. The palm tree ran, the mango tree ran, the fountain ran; the elephants bellowed and the camels grunted, but they ran also, all after one stray cow. When the little girl, under the tallest palm tree, had driven the cow back to the other cows, she sat down and the beautiful garden settled into quiet again. 

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]

Then the great King spoke to the little girl, and will you believe it, he called her by a beautiful new name Aramacobha, which means "Wonderful Garden of Dreams" -so at last she had a name, just as the snake had said. The King asked her about her wonderful garden, and she told him all about the snake and how he came to give the garden to her. 

The more the King saw of the garden the better and better he liked it, and he wanted it and the little girl for his own. So he asked her to come to his palace with him and be his Queen, and share her wonderful Garden of Dreams with him always.

 When they reached the palace of the great King the garden sat down outside the door of the palace, just under the windows of the new Queen Aramacobha, and the little fountain tinkled her a song all through the day and all through the night.

The Wonderful Garden Of Dreams [Hindu Tales Retold]



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