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The Sick King

One upon a time, there was a king who was sick. All the doctors in his kingdom and outside could not provide a remedy for his disease and he continued to suffer until he fell very ill. The best of the medicine men saw no hope for him and predicted that there was about a month or so for him to live.

The king did not want to die, for he was not very old. He called the royal astrologer who told him,

"I see you with an woman, not the queen, who will either save your life or bring you back from the dead."

The king saw a glimmer of hope and asked,

"But who is that woman?"

"I cannot say that. Her face is not very clear, but she is certainly not the queen. But I see you living with this woman in a healthy state."

Though he was already married to a beautiful and charming woman, the king proclaimed through his land that he was ready to marry any woman who could save his life or revive him after death.

But none could keep him alive. The king took her last breath one day and opened his eyes no more.

Shortly after his death, an woman came to the palace and told the king's mother that she could make him live again. She asked for permission to be admitted into the room where the king's corpse had been kept. This was readily granted and while Maria, the queen, was busy superintending the preparations for burial and getting ready the collation for the mourners, this woman put her hand on the king's head and uttered some magic words. Soon the king arose, but he had lost his memory. He embraced the woman tightly and spoke many sweet words to her.

News soon spread across the land that the king had fallen in love with a woman and could not recognize his own wife Maria. Meanwhile, the woman forced the queen to obey her and work as a slave in the kitchen, while she wore the queen's robes and lay on the queen's couch. Maria, being a gentle woman by nature and due to her gratitude to the woman for reviving her husband, obeyed her orders without any protest and suffered silently.

But the royal astrologer could not bear this. One day, as the woman forced the queen to mop the floors, he went to the king and told him about all that happened after his death. The king was at first disbelieving, but then he slowly began to remember it all. When Maria was brought to him, he could finally recognize her as the real queen. Infuriated beyond words, he called for the woman who was his life-giver and said to her,

"I thank you for the fact that you gave me a new life. But because you maltreated Maria, I will make you pay dearly."

He did not marry the woman but gave her a lot of gold and other valuables. Then he had her caned for a hundred times and banished from his kingdom.

Together, the King and the Queen lived happily for ever after.


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