Page:Deccan Nursery Tales.djvu/47

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the mother put it round her little daughter's neck. Some weeks passed, but neither uncle nor nephew returned. So the little girl's parents grew anxious. The sick boy who was to have been her husband recovered, but she could no longer marry him, and the boy whom she had married had gone away and might never return. In despair the parents built a house, in which they entertained every traveller who passed by, hoping that sooner or later one of the travellers would prove to be their daughter's husband. To all of them the mother gave water; the daughter washed their feet; her brother gave them sandal-wood paste; and her father gave them betel-nut. But it was all in vain; none of the travellers' fingers fitted the ring given to the little girl by her husband, nor could any of them produce the sweet-dish which she had given him in exchange.

In the meantime the uncle and nephew had reached Benares and had given large sums in charity, and had visited all the holy places and had received the blessings of all the Brahmans. One day the little boy fainted. And in a dream he saw the messenger of Yama, the god