Page:Hindu Tales from the Sanskrit.djvu/114

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107
THE BEETLE AND THE SILKEN THREAD

from which that honey came. Keep the rest of the silk firmly held, and gradually unwind it as the beetle climbs up. Mind you do not let it slip, for my very life depends on that slight link with you."

7. Which do you think had the harder task to perform—the husband at the top of the tower or the wife at the foot of it?

8. Do you think the beetle was likely to imagine it was on the way to a hive of bees when it began to creep up the tower?

CHAPTER V.

Buddhi-Mati, though her hands shook and her heart beat fast as she realized all that depended on her, kept the silk from becoming entangled; and when it was nearly all unwound, she heard her husband's voice saying to her: "Now tie the cotton thread to the end of the silk that you hold, and let it gradually unwind." She obeyed, fully understanding now what all these preparations were for.

When the little messenger of life reached the top of the tower, Dhairya-Sila took it up in his hand and very gently unfastened the silken thread from its body. Then he placed the beetle carefully in a fold of his turban, and began to pull the silken thread up—very, very slowly, for if it had broken, his wonderful scheme would have come to an end. Presently he had the cotton thread in his fingers, and he broke off the silk, wound it up, and placed it too in his turban. It had done its duty well, and he would not throw it away.