Once upon a time, a king and a queen lived with their only daughter in a small kingdom. Unfortunately, the queen fell terminally ill. On her death bed, she requested the king to take care of their daughter and keep her away from all troubles.

The king remarried and his new queen started to take care of the king’s daughter. Initially, the new queen looked after her very well. However, as time went by, she changed. She would often beat her and not feed her properly. With no proper diet, the orphaned little princess soon turned thin and pale.

One day, the queen started beating the princess when she asked for food. Sobbing, the little girl walked into the garden. A parrot sitting at the branch of a tree called her. The parrot told the princess that she was her dead mother and had come to be with her. Whenever the girl felt hungry, she would go down to the garden, where the parrot brought her fruits to eat. Eating delicious fruits, the princess soon grew healthy and beautiful. Meanwhile, the new queen was curious as to how the king’s daughter could look so radiant when the queen was clearly doing her best to starve her. She asked her maid to find out if anyone had been secretly feeding the princess.

The maid kept an eye on the girl and soon found out about the parrot. Hearing this, the new queen pretended to be ill and complained to the king about the parrot. She said that they needed to get rid of the parrot, for its constant chirping gave her a headache.

The little princess ran out into the garden and told the parrot what she had heard. The parrot immediately morphed into a goat and sat under the tree. From then on, the goat would feed the princess her milk.

Once again, the queen asked the maid to figure out how the girl still looked in such a good shape. When she learned about the goat, the queen pretended to be ill once again and asked the king to get rid of the goat as its nocturnal bleats hindered her sleep. The orphaned little princess told the goat about this. At this, the goat said that she would transform into a field of corn, which the girl could eat whenever she felt hungry.

Surprised at how the princess still looked so healthy, the queen asked her maid to look into the matter. When the maid informed her that the little girl fed on fresh corn, the queen feigned illness once again. She complained about how the birds pecked at the corn throughout the day, driving her crazy with their incessant noise.

The king ordered his men to uproot all the corn at once. However, the king’s men failed in their endeavor to clear the field. Their spades dented instead. Frustrated, the king took the spade and struck it on the ground. At this, the dead queen appeared and told him how his new wife had been treating their daughter. Shocked at this news, the king chased the new queen away and started looking after his daughter on his own.

…now that you’re here

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya
Kalai

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adapted and abridged from Internet Archive.