The Jealous Stepmother





There was once a man whose wife died leaving him with one son and

after a year he married again. The second wife was very jealous of the

son and she told her husband that she would not stay with him unless

he killed the boy; at first he refused but she insisted and then he

said that he was frightened to do the deed, but she might kill the

boy herself if she liked. She said, "No: he is your son and you must

kill him; if he were mine I would do it. You need not be frightened;

when you take him out ploughing make him drive the front plough, and

you sharpen your plough pole to a point and drive it into him from

behind and kill him and then it will seem to be an accident." So the

man promised and made a sharp point to his plough pole but whenever

they ploughed, the son drove his plough so fast that the father could

not catch him up and so the boy was not killed; then the woman abused

her husband and said that he was deceiving her. So he promised to

finish the business the next day and told her to give the boy a good

hot breakfast before they started, so that he might receive one last

kindness, and he said that they must find some other way of killing

him because all the ploughing was finished; but his wife told him he

could plough down their crop of goondli, the bullocks would stop

to eat the goondli as they went along and so he would easily catch

up his son. Accordingly the next morning father and son took out the

ploughs and the boy asked where they should plough, and the father said

that they would plough down the field of goondli. But the boy said

"Why should we do that? it is a good crop and will be ripe in a day

or two; it is too late to sow again, we shall lose this crop and who

knows whether we shall get anything in its place?"



And the father thought 'What the boy says is true; the first crop

is like the first child, if I kill him who will support me in my

old age? Who knows whether my second wife will have children. I will

not kill him however angry she be;' so they unyoked their ploughs and

went home. He told his wife that he would not kill the boy and scolded

her and ended by giving her a beating. Then she ran away in a passion

but he did not trouble to go and look for her and in a few days her

father and brothers brought her back, and her husband told them what

had happened and they also scolded her and told her to mend her ways.





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