The Twelve Brothers
King Vishnu Verman had twelve sons. He somehow hated all his sons and wanted only a daughter to rule after him. So he told his queen Latha that as soon as she a daughter was born to her, he will kill all his twelve sons. He also made 12 wells in his garden to throw his sons inside. Asoka was the last among the twelve sons. He was very nice kid and was a darling of his mother. One day, when he saw his mother crying, He asked, her, “Ma, why are you crying?” Queen Lata told that she was expecting to give birth to a girl and when a girl is born, Asoka and all his eleven elder brothers would be put in wells. Then Asoka told the queen that, “I along with my brothers will run away to the forest. From there daily I will be watching the palace. If a girl is born, you please fly a red flag on your palace. Then we will go deeper in to the forest and never come back. But if another boy is born, you fly a white flag and we will all come back.’
The queen agreed to Asoka’s plan. Asoka then told his eleven elder brothers about this. That night all of them ran away to the nearby forest. Daily Asoka would climb up a tall tree and look at the palace. One day he saw a red flag. Fearing that their father would kill all of them they all went much deeper in to the forest. There they found a pretty house of a magician. They started living there. Since Asoka was too young to go to hunting, he was made to stay at home and all the eleven elder brothers went for hunting. Their youngest sister was named as Lathika and she grew up in to a fine girl.
One day she happened to see in a box, twelve boy’s shirts. She asked Queen Lata, “Mummy, whose dresses are these?” Then Queen Latha told her, “You actually have twelve elder brothers and they are living in the forest because they are afraid of your father.” That night when Queen Latha was asleep, Lathika escaped and went in search of her brothers. She reached the magician’s house only next day noon. Asoka saw her and asked her, “You are very pretty .You actually look like my sister. Can you tell me who you are?” Lathika then told him that she indeed was his sister. She also wanted to stay in the magician’s house along with them. But Asoka felt that his elder brother’s did not like Lathika. So after she cooked their meals, he asked her to hide in one of the bathrooms. When the eleven brothers came, that day, after eating food, they told Asoka,’ Today the food is very tasty? We are sure you have not cooked it. Please tell us who has cooked it” Then Asoka brought Lathika from her hiding. All the brothers liked their youngest sister. By this time Asoka has also grown big. So he also started going for hunting along with his brothers. There was a locked room in their house. One day Lathika became curious and opened it. She heard a voice from nowhere. ”You have opened the magician’s room. So your brothers will all become birds. Lathika cried a lot and asked the magician to pardon her. At last he told her, “You can get back your brothers, if you do not talk, cry and smile for seven years.” Lathika agreed to this condition.
Times passed. Lathika was strictly following the words of the magician. One great king came for hunting in the forest and he saw Lathika. He wanted to marry her. But Lathika was not speaking. Then the king thought she was dumb. Then he asked her using signs whether she was willing to marry him. Lathika readily agreed and became the queen of that great king who liked her a lot. After some time a baby boy was born to them. The boy was very charming, One day the boy fell down and was hurt very badly. Seeing their little prince hurt all the people in the palace cried except the queen. Because of this the people started suspecting her. They went and told the king that, the queen was not a good one and should be punished. After a lot of thought the king agreed. He decided to again send her away to the forest. On that day, the seven years was completed. All Lathika’s brothers came back and told the king their story. Lathika was very happy and asked for the pardon of the king. After wards Lathika lived happily for several years. The twelve brothers returned to their hometown. Their father accepted them and made them kings of his country.