The Three Princesses of Bengal
Chapter 6 : The Three Princesses of Bengal
The king was enamored with his wives and his cats and fixated on the idea that each wife should bear him a son. “The first would be called Tiger,” he explained as they listened with bright eyes and large smiles, “the second would be Leo, and the third would be Lynx.” It was such a splendid idea that he simply could not imagine it not coming to pass.
The first child was, as he had wished, born to the princess of Jarma; a lovely dark-haired girl of honey eyes and honeyed skin. Satti examined his newborn daughter, and his disappointment of the child not being a boy faded in the face of her charm. He carried her to the tiger’s cage and said aloud to all his ministers, “Why should she not be the first of the three? Perhaps she shall be my heir,” and the girl was named Tigra, and her maids delighted in tying orange ribbons in her deep black hair.
The second child was, as the king had wished, born to the princess of Tha’Jun; a tiny, adorable dark-haired girl with large brown eyes and honeyed skin. Satti held his second daughter in his arms, carried her with slow, adoring steps to the cage of the snow leopards, and held her before them. Her ears and hands were large for her little body and this made her all the more enduring to her father, and he said aloud to all his ministers, “Why shouldn’t a girl be a beloved child? Perhaps she shall be my heir,” and the girl was named Snow, and the maids delighted in tying white ribbons in her deep black hair.
Some months after the first two children had been announced, a third child of Satti’s was born. The daughter of the princess of Laumphon was large, like her mother, with darling almond eyes and spice-colored skin. Satti carried her close to him to the cage of the lynx brothers, who were pacing in anticipation. Looking back and forth from the beautiful cats to his silent daughter the king finally said, “This is my third child. Proud and strong as her mother. Perhaps she shall be my heir.” And he named her Lynx, and her maids delighted in tying her hair in two tufts like the ears of the cat for which she’d been named.