By Andrew Lang
BeeOasis Step 2
There was once a trader who lived close to the royal palace. His wife had died, but he had three daughters. Maria, the youngest daughter, was the prettiest of the three. One day the king sent a message to the trader. He wanted the trader to go on a journey. The trader didn’t want to go, because he did not like leaving his daughters at home. But he could not disobey the king’s commands. He sadly returned home to say farewell to his daughters. Before he left, he gave a pot of green basil plants to each girl, saying, “Please take good care of these plants.”
He said, “I am going a journey. Do not let anyone come into the house. When I come back, the pots will tell me what has happened.”
“Nothing will happen,” said the girls.
The father went away, and the next day the king and two friends visited the girls. The sisters were eating supper. When they saw who was outside, Maria spoke to them, “Let’s get a bottle of wine from the cellar. I will carry the key. My oldest sister can take the light. The other will bring the bottle.”
But the king replied, “Oh, but we are not thirsty.”
“Okay, we will not go,” the two elder girls said. But Maria said, “I will go anyway.” She left the room, and went to the hall. She put out the light, and set down the key and the bottle. She ran to the house of a neighbor, and knocked at the door.
“Who is knocking so late?” asked the old woman, looking out the window.
“Oh, please let me in,” Maria said. “I fought with my oldest sister, and I do not want to fight any more. Please let me sleep with you.”
So the old woman opened the door and Maria slept in her house. The king was very angry with Maria for hiding. When she went home the next day, she found her sisters’ plants. The plants were dead, because the girls had disobeyed their father.