The Cure For Laziness





There was once a man who lived happily with his wife, but she was very

lazy; when work in the fields was at its height she would pretend

to be ill. In June and July, she would begin to moan as if in pain,

and when every one else had gone off to work she would eat any rice

that they had left over; or if there were none, would cook some for

herself; Her father-in-law decided to call in some ojhas to examine

her and if they could not cure her, then to send her back to her

father: so he called in two ojhas and told them to do their best,

as he did not want the woman's relations to complain that she had

not been properly treated.



So the first ojha felt her pulse and smiled and said nothing, and

the second ojha felt her pulse and smiled and said nothing, and

when the father-in-law asked them if they knew what was the matter,

they answered that the illness was very serious and medicines must be

applied; the father-in-law said "Yes; but you must get the medicines

or tell me exactly what is wanted and I will arrange for it;" this

conversation took place before the woman; the ojhas said "Very well,

we will do what you want but before applying the medicine we shall

have to do some incantations;" the father-in-law answered "Do whatever

is necessary to make a good job of it. Don't spare anything; try and

get everything ready by to-morrow: for we are in great difficulty; I

do not like to leave the patient alone in the house and yet I cannot

spare anyone to look after her;" the ojhas promised and got up

and went out with the father-in-law, and in the village street they

told him that laziness was all that was the matter with the woman,

but that they knew a medicine which would cure her; so they went

to the jungle and dug up two very big tubers of the tirra plant,

as big as pumpkins, and in the evening they went to the man's house

and told him that they had found the medicine, and that the whole

household was to come to the cross roads at the end of the village

very early the next morning with the patient and they would exorcise

the disease and apply remedies.



At cockcrow the next morning the two ojhas brought the two tubers

and put them down at the end of the village street, and then went to

the house where the sick woman lived and awoke the inmates, and they

borrowed a pot of water and some vermilion and an old winnowing fan

and then they all went to the place where the tubers had been left,

and the ojhas made the patient sit on the winnowing fan facing the

east and painted her with vermilion; then they waved pig's dung round

her head and tied the two tubers round her neck and told her to walk

up and down the village street three times; and that would remove

the spell that was on her. So the woman began to walk up the village

street and every one laughed at her and the children ran after her

and smacked her and jumped and shouted for joy and the ojhas called

out to her "You must not take off the tubers until you are cured."



The woman walked up and down twice, but then she was so ashamed at

being laughed at that she threw away the tubers and ran off home;

then they all laughed the more; and followed her to the house, and

the ojhas asked whether she was cured that she had taken off the

remedies they had applied; she only smiled in answer and they told

her to take care because if she ever got ill again they would apply

the same remedy; but from that day the woman completely recovered

and did her fair share of all the work.





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