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The Father-in-law's Visit

Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

A man once went to visit his married daughter in the month of October
and he went round the fields with his son-in-law to see how his crop
was growing. At each rice field they came to, the father-in-law said
"You have not dammed up the outlets" and the son-in-law said "Yes,
I have; the water is standing in the fields all right," and could not
understand what the old man meant. The next day they both set off to
visit some friends at a distance; and the son-in-law carried his shoes
in his hand except when they came to a river when he always put them
on; and when they were going along in the sun he carried his umbrella
under his arm, but when they came to any shady trees he put it up;
and he did the same on the way back. The old man was very astounded
at this but made no remark. On reaching the house however he told his
daughter that he was sorry that her husband was a mad man and told
her what had happened. His daughter said, "No, father, he is not mad:
he has a very good reason; he does not wear his shoes on dry ground
because he can see where he is going; but in a river you cannot see
what is under-foot; there may be sharp stones or thorns and so he
puts on his shoes then; and he puts up his umbrella under trees lest
falling branches should hit him or the droppings of birds fall on him,
but in the open he can see that there is nothing to hurt him."

Her father admitted that these were good reasons and he had been
foolish not to understand them; he then took his leave.

And in the following January he visited them again; and when he saw
their stock of rice he asked how much they had, and the son-in-law
said that there was only what he saw. "But," said the old man, "When
I saw your fields you had a very fine crop coming on." "The crop was
good," answered the son-in-law "but I owed rice to the money-lender
and I have had to pay that back and I have had to pay my rent and
this is all that I have left." "Ah!" said the father-in-law, "when
I saw your fields I told you that you had not dammed up the outlets;
by outlets I meant these drains; as water flows away through an outlet
so has your wealth flowed away to money-lenders and landlords; is not
this so?" And the son-in-law admitted that he was right and that his
words had had a meaning.

Next: Ramai And Somai

Previous: The Deaf Family

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