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Page:Deccan Nursery Tales.djvu/157

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THE BRAHMAN WIFE AND HER SONS

Brahmans had to be sent away feeling most dreadfully hungry. This happened regularly for six years. But, when the seventh little boy was born only to die just as his guests were beginning to enjoy their dinner, the poor Brahman lost all patience. He took the newly-born child and placed it in his daughter-in-law's lap and then drove her out of the house and into the jungle. The poor woman walked along until she came to a great, dark forest. In it she met the wife of a hobgoblin, [1] who asked, "Lady, Lady, whose wife are you, and why do you come here? Run away as quickly as you can. For, if my husband the hobgoblin sees you, he will tear you to pieces and gobble you up." The poor woman said she was the daughter-in-law of a Brahman, and explained how every year she had given birth to a son on the last day of Shravan, how it had died in the middle of the Shradh feast, and how at last her father-in-law had put the child in her lap and had driven her from home and into the forest. The hobgoblin's wife repeated, "If you value your life at all, go away." The

  1. Zhoting is really the unquiet ghost of a Musulman, but hobgoblin is probably a sufficiently close translation.

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