Page:Hindu Tales from the Sanskrit.djvu/88

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81
THE JEWELLED ARROW

magician, of whose marvellous deeds he had heard. Who could that magician have been but you, my father?" She added, "I told him I was your daughter, and he entreated me to ask you to grant him an interview."

Agni-Sikha listened to all this without answering a word. He was pleased at this fresh proof that his fame had spread far and wide; but he guessed at once that Rupa-Sikha had not told him the whole truth. He waited for her to go on, and as she said no more, he suddenly turned angrily upon her and in a loud voice asked her:

"And what did my daughter answer?"

Then Rupa-Sikha knew that her secret had been discovered. And rising to her full height, she answered proudly, "I told him I would seek you and ask you to receive him. And now I will tell you, my father, that I have seen the only man I will ever marry; and if you forbid me to do so, I will take my own life, for I cannot live without him."

"Send for the man immediately," cried the magician, "and you shall hear my answer when he appears before me."

"I cannot send," replied Rupa-Sikha, "for none knows where I have left him; nor will I fetch him till you promise that no evil shall befall him."

At first Agni-Sikha laughed aloud and declared that he would do no such thing. But his daughter was as obstinate as he was; and finding that he could not get his own way unless he yielded to her, he said crossly:

"He shall keep his fine head on his shoulders, and