The Poor Widow

Once there was a poor widow who had two children; she lived by daily

labour and if she got no work any day, then that day they had to go

without food. One morning she went out to look for work and a rich

woman called her and asked if she wanted a job; she said "Yes, that

is what I am looking for," then the rich woman said "Stay here and

pick the lice out of my hair, and I will pay you your usual wages and

give you your dinner as well." So the poor widow agreed and spent the

day picking out the lice and at evening the rich woman brought out

a measure of rice to give her as her wages and, as she was measuring

it, she felt her head itch and she put up her hand and scratched and

pulled out a large louse.

Then she got very angry and scolded the widow and said that she would

pay her nothing as she had not done her work properly and she turned

her out. Then the widow was very unhappy for she had nothing to give

her starving children and she wished that she had stuck to her usual

work. When she got home and her children began to cry for food, she

remembered that she had seen some wild saru (vegetable) growing in

a certain place; so she took a basket and a sickle and telling her

children not to cry went out to gather it. It was dark and lonely

and she felt frightened but then she thought of her children and

went on and gathered the saru, and returned home crying because

she had nothing better to give her offspring. On the way she met an

old man who asked her why she was crying and she told him all her

story. Then he told her to take the herbs home and chop them all up

and to put some in every basket and pot she had and to cook the rest

for supper. So when she got home she did as she had been directed and

when she came to take the herbs which she had cooked out of the pot,

she found that they had turned into rice, and she and her children

ate it with joy. The next morning she found that every pot and basket

into which she had put the herbs was full of rice; and from that time

she prospered and bought goats and pigs and cattle and lived happily

ever after.

But no one knew where the old man came from, as she had forgotten to

ask him.

The Ploughman And His Sons The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail