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the wise daughter in law.

Folklore of the Santal Parganas by Cecil Henry Bompas.
Age Rating 8 to 10.

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There was once a rich man who had seven sons, but one day his wife died and after this the family fell into poverty. All their property was sold and they lived by selling firewood in the bazar. At last the wife of the eldest son said to her father-in-law. "I have a proposal to make: Do you choose one of us to be head of the family whom all shall obey; we cannot all be our own masters as at present." The old man said "Well, I choose you," and he assembled the whole family and made them promise to obey the wife of his eldest son. Thereupon she told them that they must all go out into the fields and bring her whatever they found. So the next day they went out in different directions and the old man found some human excrement and he thought "Well, my daughter-in-law told me to bring whatever I found" so he wrapped it up in leaves and took it home; and his daughter-in-law told him that he had done well and bade him hang up the packet at the back of the house. A few days later he found the slough of a snake and he took that home and his daughter-in-law told to tie a clod of earth to it to prevent its being blown away, and to throw it on to the roof of the house. Some years after the Raja of the country was ill with cancer of the face and none of the _ojhas_ could cure him. At last one _ojha_ said that there was only one medicine which could effect a cure, but he saw no chance of obtaining it and that was human excrement 12 years old. Then the Raja sent messengers throughout the kingdom offering a reward of 200 Rupees to any one who could supply excrement twelve years old; and when a messenger came to the village where this family lived the daughter-in-law produced the packet which the old man had brought home and received the reward of 200 Rupees; and they were all delighted at making so much money by what the old man had brought home in jest.



And again it happened that the son of a Raja was bathing and he left his gold belt on the bank and a kite thought it was a snake and flew off with it. The prince was much distressed at the loss but the Raja told him not to grieve as the kite must have dropped it somewhere and he would offer a reward of a thousand rupees for it. Now the kite had soon found that the belt was not good to eat and seeing the snake's skin which the old man had thrown on to the roof of the house, it dropped the belt and flew off with the skin; and the daughter-in-law picked up the belt and when criers came round offering a reward she produced it and received the money. And they praised her wisdom and by this means the family became rich again.



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