Chapter 11 : The Solution
“Dearest Father,” said the second princess one day, curling her long hair about her hands.
“Yes, my little angel?”
“Why is it I am the only one with a great cat to call my friend? Are not my sisters lonely?”
“Have they said so?” asked the king, a frown wanting to surface.
“No. Only, well, shouldn’t we all have cats?”
The king took her onto his lap and considered. It was what he had wished, after all, only it was not so easy to do, and no amount of reward had led to a result. But the words of the nine-year-old princess were not to be dismissed. “Does your Masha give you much comfort?”
“Does he give you strength?”
“Oh yes, Father.”
“Does he give you wisdom?”
“Very much so, Father, for he is very wise. But then, he is older than I. Oh Father! He could teach the new cats his wisdom, I’m sure of it!”
The Beast King summoned great monks from around his country, and held a holiday of prayer at the palace. It lasted for 20 days and 20 nights, as all the subjects of Bengal prayed for gifts from the gods. After this period, the king took his greatest trackers and warriors on a search for the great cats.
After two days, the tracking party followed a mother tiger back to her lair, where they captured her and her young cub. After a week, they successfully trapped a female lynx, and these cats were brought to join the menagerie. A celebration was held where the new additions were washed and pampered and introduced to new smells and sights. The palace would not be the same again!