Cheating The Priest

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

Upon a time a man and his wife went a day's journey from their village

to the bazaar to sell their wares, and it fell upon the day of their

return that it rained heavily, and as they hurried along the highway,

they sought shelter from the head priest of a temple. He, however, would

not even let them enter. They begged to be permitted to sleep in the

sheltered place at the head of the stairs, but this also the priest

used. Angered, they went under the temple and there rested.

When the priest had lain down on his mat in the room just over the place

where the man and his wife were hidden, he heard the man say to his

wife, "It will be good to be again with our young and beautiful

daughter. I trust all is well with her."

Having heard these words, the priest arose hastily and called, "Come up,

good people, and sleep in the temple. Here, too, are mats to rest upon."

And, as they talked of their beautiful daughter, the priest asked, "When

I am out of the temple, released from my vows, will you give me your

daughter to wife?"

Looking at his wife, the husband replied, "It is good in our sight."

When the morning came and they wished to steam some rice for their

breakfast, they had no pot, but the priest freely offered the use of his

pot and insisted upon their using of the sacred wood for their fire, the

wood which was used in propping the branches of the Po tree.[13]

Being ready to go on their way, the priest presented them with gifts of

food, silver and gold, saying, "I will soon leave the priesthood and

come to marry your beautiful daughter."

But three days had passed, when the man and his wife came again to the

temple and told the priest that their daughter was dead, and a long time

they all mourned together.

"I will ever remain true to my love for your daughter. Never will I

leave the priesthood," vowed the priest, while the man and his wife

returned to their home, spent the silver and gold the priest had given

them, and cheerfully laughed at him, for never had they had a daughter!

13: The sacred tree of Buddhists.