Once there was a king who had six queens, none of whom bore him children. The king was inconsolable, and his ministers advised him to marry a seventh wife. So, the king set out to find a new wife.
In the royal city, there lived a poor woman who collected cow dung from the fields. She had a particularly beautiful daughter. One day, the old woman and her daughter were bathing in a basin not far from the palace. As they refreshed themselves, they talked about their good qualities. The daughter of the poor woman said, “The man who marries me will be happy because I will bear him twins, a son and a daughter. The daughter will be beautiful, and the boy will have the moon on his forehead and the stars on his palms.”
The above conversation was overheard by the king. The king thought, “This will be my wife. She will bear me twins, a beautiful girl and a remarkable boy.”
Soon, it became known in the city that the king would marry the daughter of the old woman who collected cow dung from the fields. When the six queens heard the news, they did not believe it and thought the king had gone mad. But the king stuck to his decision. A date was set for the wedding, and the daughter of the poor woman became the seventh and most beloved queen.
Some time later, the king went on a trip. He said to the queen, “I would have liked to stay with you, but I give you this golden bell. When the child comes, ring this bell, and I will come to you immediately. Remember that you should only ring the bell when it is really time.” The six queens who overheard the conversation went to the seventh queen the next day and said, “What a beautiful golden bell you have.” The queen answered honestly, “The bell was given to me by the king, and when I ring it, the king comes to me immediately.” – “That’s impossible,” said the six queens, “you must have misunderstood. You can’t hear a bell from a distance, and how could the king travel that distance so quickly? It’s pure nonsense.”
The six queens asked her to put the bell to the test. At first, the seventh queen did not want to because she remembered what the king had said. But she was eventually convinced to ring the bell. At that time, the king was in another capital. When the bell rang, he stopped his journey and quickly arrived at the queen’s side. He asked her why she had rung the bell since the child was not due yet. Without letting the king know that the six queens had persuaded her, she replied that she rang the bell just to see if what he had said was true.
The king was a little angry and told her clearly not to ring the bell again. After a few weeks, the six queens begged the seventh queen to ring the bell again. Finally, the queen was persuaded to ring the bell again. The king arrived quickly, but now he was very angry and said, “You have brought me here for nothing twice before. The third time, when the child is due, I will not come to you anymore. I am leaving you to your fate now.”
Finally, the child of the seventh queen was due. When the time came, she rang the golden bell, but the king did not appear. She rang with all her might, but he did not show up. When the six queens saw that the king did not come, they threw her out of the palace. They also gave a lot of money to the midwife to remove the child as soon as it was born.
The seventh queen gave birth to a son with the moon on his forehead and stars on his palms. An extraordinarily beautiful girl was also born. The midwife took the twin babies in an earthen pot and left two puppies in their place. The king had changed his mind and believed his wife was destined to bear the heir to his throne. He visited her and was furious when he saw the puppies. He ordered the seventh queen to be expelled from the palace.
The midwife went to a potter on the edge of the city who baked pots in the oven at night. She planned to put the earthen pot with the other pots in the oven. Somehow the potter and his wife overslept that night. The wife went quickly to the courtyard where the pots were ready. She could hardly believe her eyes when she saw that all the pots were baked even though they had not lit the fire. Who could have done this?
The potter turned the pots over, and there were two newborns inside, of unearthly beauty! He told his wife to pretend that she had given birth to these children. And so it became known that the potter and his wife had twins. They put a turban on the boy with the moon on his forehead so he wouldn’t stand out. And the twins grew up healthy and happy.
After a while, the potter and his wife died, and the brother and sister lived together in the city. When they walked through the city, they were always followed by a strange woman from a distance. The woman sometimes went to the house where they lived, but they didn’t think much of it.
The boy loved hunting. One day, the king was also in the forest, and he met the boy. He was struck by the boy’s beauty. When a deer passed by, the boy shot an arrow, and the turban flew off his head, revealing a bright light, like that of the moon, from his forehead. The king immediately thought of the boy with the moon on his forehead and the stars in his palms, who the seventh queen was said to have borne. The king begged him to wait because he wanted to talk to him, but the boy galloped away. The king went home deeply saddened. He told the six queens what had happened.
Could the twins still be alive? Who else could that boy be? The midwife swore that she had taken the twins away. But upon inquiry, it was discovered that two strangers lived in the city. When the midwife went to investigate, she only saw the girl.
She pretended to be their aunt. She said to the girl, “My dear child, you are so beautiful, but you need the kataki flower to remain beautiful. This flower grows only across the ocean, so you have never seen it. The flower is also heavily guarded.” The woman hoped that the boy with the moon on his forehead would perish in an attempt to obtain the flower.
When the boy with the moon on his forehead returned, his sister asked him to get the flower. He wanted to please his sister and went in search of it. He rode his horse out of the city and came to a dense forest with a few houses where a special people lived.
The boy met a man who said, “Go to the impenetrable forest of Kachiri and say, ‘Make way please, or else I will die.’ Then the forest will open a passage. After that, you will reach the ocean. Say, ‘Oh, mother ocean, make way please, or else I will die,’ and the ocean will make way for you. Then you will see the gardens where the flower blooms. Do as I say and goodbye.” The boy set off and arrived at the forest, spoke the words, and the forest opened a passage. At the ocean, he spoke the words again, and the waters of the ocean parted like two walls and opened a passage for him.
Now he arrived at the palace gardens where the kataki flower grew. The palace seemed deserted, but inside he found a young lady sleeping on a golden bed. The girl woke up and asked how he had come here and said she knew him. “You are the boy with the moon on his forehead and the stars on his palms. Flee from this place. Seven hundred warriors guard the flower. If they find you, they will harm you.”
The boy said he came for the flower and that if he went back, he would take her with him. When the warriors returned, he buried himself among the flowers. The girl shed a tear on the leg of the warrior. “Why are you crying, my dear child?” She said, “I was thinking about what will become of me when you die.”
“All beings die, but we Rakshasas do not. In the garden, there is a barrel with a wooden box of bees. When the boy with the moon on his forehead and the stars on his palms enters the barrel, he must kill the bees without spilling a drop of their blood on the ground. Only then will we also die. But this fate will not strike. There is no human with a moon on his forehead and stars on his palms. In addition, it will be impossible to reach that place because seven hundred warriors are guarding it. First, a deep forest and a vast ocean must be crossed. Even then, he will not succeed in killing the bees without spilling a drop of their blood on the ground. If a single drop of blood falls on the ground, we will tear him apart. So you see, my child, that we are virtually immortal. So do not be afraid.”
The next morning, the warriors let the young lady sleep again and went to look for food. The boy emerged from the flowers. He wasted no time in taking action. After he closed the garden gates, he dived into the barrel and lifted the wooden box. He opened the box and grabbed the bees before they could escape. He crushed them with the palms of his hands.
The warriors approached the garden fence but fell dead. The young man with the moon on his forehead and the stars in his palms picked as many kataki flowers as he could and left the palace in the company of the beautiful young lady. They crossed the ocean and traversed the deep forest, and at home, they were welcomed by the sister.
The next morning, the boy went hunting again. The king was there too. When a deer passed by, the boy shot an arrow. Once again, the turban fell off his head, and a bright light appeared. The king looked surprised and wanted to make friends with the boy. The boy gave him his address.
When the king arrived at the house, the boy’s sister told him about the strange woman from the city who had revealed how the seventh queen had been persuaded by the six queens to ring the bell two times too early. How she had given birth to twins who were swapped for puppies. And how the twins had been miraculously saved by the potter. Then how an aunt had come who sent the boy on a deadly journey.
The king realized that the six queens had done much harm and had them executed. The seventh queen, the strange woman from the city, was taken off the market and restored to honor. And the boy with the moon on his forehead and the stars on his palms, his lovely sister, and the beautiful young woman lived happily ever after!