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The Cunning Wife

2006-07-13 23:37

  Somewhere near Aravalli hills of Mewar, there once lived in a village a Bhil in a small hut with a broken roof. He had a very shrewd wife. The meals that she served to her husband were invariably stale and she usually fed him on leftovers. When the Bhil left for work in the jungle, the cunning wife would invite her women friends and feast on jaggery and porridge. While the Bhil gradually became thinner and weaker, his wife continued to gain more and more weight.

  The Bhil's friends who had noted his failing health once remarked, “Brother, you are just a simpleton.”

  Another friend also commented, “When you leave your hut for work, your wife prepares the best food for herself. If you want to confirm the truth, you may hide yourself in the hut and watch her activities yourself.”

  The Bhil agreed to what his friends suggested, and hid himself in the back of the hut. His sharp wife somehow managed to learn about this that day. She neither cooked food nor did she give any milk to the children. Instead she shouted:

  “Why are you hiding yourself, you coward? Do you think I am a devil? I am not going to cook any meals today since I am on a fast. If you are hungry, you can cook food for yourself and the children.”

  “So today you are on fast”, said the Bhil coming out of his hiding.

  “Then it seems you won't eat anything today.” He taunted.

  The cunning wife replied “No! No! Today is Ludhka Chauth (The roling Fourth)。 I can have only ladoos, which will roll down from the roof. So you should prepare the ladoos and fling them on the roof. Whichever ladoos gets stuck you may eat but I will have all those that roll down. Any husband who prepares these ladoos on Ludhka Chauth for his wife goes straight to heaven and is blessed with eternal bliss.” Bhil simpleton that he was made, rich ladoos with a good dose of jaggery and ghee.

  As she expected, not a single ladoo stuck on the roof and all rolled down. Consequently, the unfortunate Bhil remained hungry though his wife had her fill.

  In the evening, the disappointed Bhil advised his wife to eat whatever she wanted to but never to be on the Ludhka Chauth's fast. For there was neither ghee nor any jaggery left in the house. And then, the Bhil added, “I do not even aspire to go to heaven.”

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