Raja Rasalu: The Dog and the Cat

This story is part of the Raja Rasalu unit. Story source: Tales of the Punjab by Flora Annie Steel, with illustrations by J. Lockwood Kipling (1894).

The Dog and the Cat

Notwithstanding these brave and boastful words, he was in reality very much afraid, having heard of Rasalu's renown. And learning that he was stopping at the house of an old woman in the city till the hour for playing chaupur arrived, Sarkap sent slaves to him with trays of sweetmeats and fruit, as to an honoured guest. But the food was poisoned.

Now when the slaves brought the trays to Raja Rasalu, he rose up haughtily, saying, "Go, tell your master I have nought to do with him in friendship. I am his sworn enemy, and I eat not of his salt!"

So saying, he threw the sweetmeats to Raja Sarkap's dog, which had followed the slave, and lo! the dog died.

Then Rasalu was very wroth, and said bitterly, "Go back to Sarkap, slaves! And tell him that Rasalu deems it no act of bravery to kill even an enemy by treachery."

Now, when evening came, Raja Rasalu went forth to play chaupur with King Sarkap, and as he passed some potters' kilns, he saw a cat wandering about restlessly, so he asked what ailed her that she never stood still, and she replied, "My kittens are in an unbaked pot in the kiln yonder. It has just been set alight, and my children will be baked alive; therefore, I cannot rest!"

Her words moved the heart of Raja Rasalu and, going to the potter, he asked him to sell the kiln as it was, but the potter replied that he could not settle a fair price till the pots were burnt, as he could not tell how many would come out whole.

Nevertheless, after some bargaining, he consented at last to sell the kiln, and Rasalu, having searched all the pots, restored the kittens to their mother, and she, in gratitude for his mercy, gave him one of them,  saying, "Put it in your pocket, for it will help you when you are in difficulties."

So Raja Rasalu put the kitten in his pocket and went to play chaupur with the King.

(300 words)

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