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p. 31


A CERTAIN King Dekun had a wife named Isokun who bore him no children, on which account there was great unhappiness in the palace.

 One day Isokun disappeared and was absent for many weeks, and though search was made, no trace of her could be found. The truth was that Isokun had set out to visit the shrines of all the gods, in the hope that one of them would promise her a child. But though she travelled far and wide, the gods of all the trees and streams and rocks refused her prayer.

 When she was at last nearing home again, she came upon a poor woman asleep by the wayside with her baby two days old.

  Isokun stole the baby and hastened to the palace, where she informed the King that she had disappeared in order to give him the joyous surprise of his little son.

 There were great rejoicings in the palace, p. 32 sacrifices were made, and the drums beat loudly.

 Meanwhile the real mother awoke and discovered that her baby had been stolen. She ran into the town distracted, and insisted on searching in every house, but without success.

 At last she came to the palace and insisted on entering there also, which was possible at that moment because all were celebrating the arrival of the King’s heir.

 All this time the baby cried with hunger, and as Isokun could not feed him, she invented other reasons for the crying and sought in vain to pacify him without arousmg suspicion.

 Drawn by the cries, the mother entered and snatched the baby to her breast, where it was at once contented.

 In a few moments the deception was made clear, the mother departed with her child, and Isokun, ashamed and fearing the anger of the King, fled from the palace and never returned.