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SOMA, THE WASHERWOMAN

girl from becoming a widow?" The Brahman pitied her and said, "Lady, lady, do not weep; I shall give you a remedy by which to cure this evil. Across the seven seas there is an island. In it there lives a washerwoman called Soma. If you can fetch her to your daughter's wedding, she will escape the evil that threatens her. When the wedding is over, you must send Soma back with all honour to her house." With these words the mendicant took up his wallet and went to collect alms elsewhere. When her husband returned home Dhanvanti told him what had happened. "Some one," she added, "must go across the seven seas to fetch Soma, the washerwoman." The father and mother called up their sons and said, "Those of you who honour your parents will take your sister and cross the seven seas to bring Soma here." But all the sons turned to their mother and said, "All you care about is your daughter. You do not love us the least little bit. So we shall not cross the seven seas and bring Soma here just on her account." The mother began to cry, and the father got very cross. He turned to his wife and said, "From henceforth you

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