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Page:Deccan Nursery Tales.djvu/143

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THE RISHI AND THE BRAHMAN

middle of her back and burnt a big hole in it. Then the son's wife cooked a fresh milk-pudding and fed the Brahmans. But she was so cross with the dog that she would not give her the smallest possible scrap. So the poor dog remained hungry all day. When night fell she went to the bullock who had been her husband and began to howl as loudly as she could. The bullock asked her what the matter was. She told him how she had seen that a snake had poisoned the grain, and how, to prevent the Brahmans dying and her son incurring the sin of their death, she had put her paw into the middle of the milk-pudding; how her daughter-in-law had been angry and had burnt a hole in her back with a live coal, and how her back hurt so that she did not know what to do. The bullock answered, "You are suffering for the pollution with which you darkened our house in a former life, and, because I let you remain in the house and touched you, I too am suffering, and I have become a bullock. Only to-day my son fastened me to his plough, tied up my mouth, and beat me. I too have, like you, had nothing to eat all day. Thus all my son's memorial

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