An Unexpected Issue

: Temples and Priests
: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

Far away from other men, on the side of a lonely mountain, a man and his

wife were preparing their ground that they might plant the hill rice.

Their work was hard, and they saw no one from day to day, and, upon a

time, when tired of their labor, the husband said,

"Let us play that we are young and unmarried, and that I am coming to

visit you to try to gain you for a wife."

The wife dressed h
rself as a young maiden, with flowers in her hair,

and sat at the spinning-wheel.

The husband came as though from a distance, and in his hand he carried

the stem of a banana leaf, which he pretended was a musical instrument.

Playfully, he drew his fingers over it, singing, "It is pleasant to be

here. Where you are, I am happy. Where you are not, I am but of little

heart and sad." He drew near, and, as he was not forbidden, he walked up

into the house and sat down by the maiden. Bowing himself to the ground,

he spoke, saying, "O fair princess, I come but as your servant! May I

sit here near you?"

Smilingly she answered, "To sit there is but a waste of time."

"I am not sitting where another has sat. Tell me, do I talk to one who

has another lover?"

"I fear that the one who loves you, and whom you loved ere you came to

me, will be angry with me and curse me," she coyly answered.

Then he feigned anger, and moved away quickly. In his haste he did not

see where he was going, and he fell down the steps of the house, upon a

stone. Though he lay there groaning, and called, "O, help me!" his wife

thought him still in sport and sat quietly at her wheel. Having waited

some time, she arose and went to him, and, lo, he lay there dead!

"Had we worked and not played as children, my husband would be yet

alive," lamented the wife.