Another version is orally current in Kashmír, and, under the title of “The Four Princes,” a translation of it is given by the Rev. J. Hinton Knowles in his excellent collection, Folk-Tales of Kashmír, from which are extracted the following details:

Four clever and handsome young princes are hated by their step-mother, who persuades her husband the king to cease his personal and secret inspection of the city and adjacent towns and villages—which had long been his custom, going about at night in disguise—and appoint his four grown-up, idle sons to the duties. But still the queen is jealous of them, and poisons the king's mind against them, so that he speaks harshly to his worthy sons, without any apparent cause. One night the four princes met together and discussed the altered conduct of the king towards them, and the three younger proposed that they should privily quit the country, but this was strenuously opposed by the eldest brother, who suggested that they should rather take turn and patrol the city, one of them each night, to which they agreed. It happened that the eldest prince, in the course of his perambulation one night, came past the hut of a Bráhman, whom he saw gazing out of the open window towards the heavens, and presently heard him say to his wife that he had just observed the king's star obscured by another star, which indicated that his majesty would die in seven days. His wife asked him how he should die then, and he replied that a black snake would descend from the sky on the seventh day, enter the royal bed-chamber by the door that opened into the courtyard, and bite the king's toe, thus causing his death. Then the Bráh-man made a sacrifice, and, after prayers and incantations, he told his wife farther, that the king's life would be saved if one of his relations dug pits in the courtyard on the east side of the palace, filled some with water and the others with milk, and scattered flowers on the ground between the ponds and the door of the king's room. He must be ready, sword in hand, outside the door at the appointed time, when the snake will come and swim across the ponds and pass over the flowers, after which it will become comparatively harmless. Then he must strike and slay the snake with his sword, and taking some of its warm blood smear it over the king's toes—thus will he be preserved from evil. The prince, having treasured these directions in his memory, on the seventh day follows them exactly, and having taken some of the snake's blood, gently opens the door of the king's chamber and enters, having first tied a bandage over his eyes, that he should not see the queen. But being thus blind­folded he smears the blood on the queen's toes instead of those of the king, which causes her to awake, and to shriek on seeing a man glide out of the room, which awakes the king, who recognises his eldest son as the intruder. The queen, on dis­covering the blood on her feet concludes that it was a rákshasa, and becomes frantic with fright, but her husband sets her mind at rest by telling her that he is now assured of the wickedness of his sons, who had employed a demon to destroy them both, and he would have them all executed on the morrow, at which the queen was highly delighted. Then the king causes the four princes to be stripped of their royal robes and thrown into a dungeon. In the morning they are brought into the presence of the king, who gives order for their immediate execution, and they are being led away when one of them made signs and prostrated himself before the throne, as if he wished to say something. “Let him speak,” said the king. “Perhaps he wants to relieve his heart of some foul secret—let him speak.” The prince then began to relate the