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Bride in the casket

2006-07-13 21:32

  It was night and my sister and me used to hear story from our grandma before going to bed. Grandma promised to tell us the story about a false hermit and how a girl turned into a witch for him. She sat on her rocking chair and started swaying to and fro and said, “Once upon a time on the outskirts of a certain town stood a temple. Every day hundreds of devotees visit it. They offered fruits and coins before the deity.

  One day a young man, who thought himself very clever, began to sport a tender beard, clothed beige clothes, and started living in a hut close to the temple. He sat with his closed eyes as if he was meditating. But he took care to be seen by all the visitors. He hardly spoke.

  Town-folks thought him to be a holy man. By and by it became a custom with the devotees to look him up after they had worshipped the deity. They bowed to him and placed before him food and money as gifts. The fake recluse smiled at them and patted them on the backs. They were pleased, thinking that his blessings would surely do them good.

  The young man soon became rich. With the money the visitors offered him he built a fine house near the temple and lived happily. He had six fellows at his command, which were good for nothing and became his disciples.

  One day a rich merchant paid a visit to the temple along with his wife and beautiful daughter. As they were worshipping the deity with their folded hands, the false hermit watched them from his room, in the upper floor of his house.

  The hermit liked the daughter of the merchant and thought, “How wonderful it would be to have her as my wife!” and sent for the merchant. When the merchant came, he received him very kindly.

  The merchant was surprised, for he knew the hermit hardly spoke. The young man said, “Gentleman, you know I don't care to speak to ordinary mortals. It is out of sheer compassion for you that I decided to break my scared vow. I have the power to see the shape of things to come in future. I am sorry to say that a great misfortune is to befall you.”

  The merchant grew ashen pale and said, “My ship is aboard at sea. I have spent all that I have to heap it with valuable goods. My luck depends on the ship's safe return.” A moan escaping from his lips.

  The hermit said, “And for your information, your luck seems rather bad. Your ship is encountering a violent storm - right now! I am, to be sure, doing my best to save it from total wreckage. But how long I can battle your ill luck if its very cause is nurtured by yourself?”

  The merchant fell on the holy man's feet and cried out, “I have no doubt that you are speaking right, but I don't understand a grain of it. Please help me to root out the cause of my ill luck, I beg you.”

  “You alone can root that out, I can of course guide you with my advice. Listen carefully. Do not lose heart. The cause of your ill luck is your daughter! No power on the earth or in heaven can save you as long as she is by your side. You must give her up immediately,” said the hermit.

  “But I am her father, how can I give her up?” asked the confused merchant.

  Hermit answered it very easily, “shut her up in a casket and float the casket in the river! Being a father you can do it. I can't do it for you! Do it tonight by all means. Do not forget to place a lamp on the casket.”

  “No sir! I cannot do this my child in that manner. That would be worse than losing my ship,” the merchant cried out, violently shaking his head.

  The holy man laughed and patted affectionately on the back of the merchant. He said, “ You na鴳e fellow, don't I see your daughter's future too in the mirror of my finger nails? It is so written in her destiny that a wonderful young man, who will be pleased to marry her, will save her. You cannot dream of a better bridegroom than he in the whole town, may be in the whole kingdom.”

  The merchant sighed with relief. After further reassurance from the hermit, he agreed to abide by his advice and took leave of him.

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