The Widow's Punishment

: The Gods Know and the Gods Reward
: Laos Folk-lore Of Farther India

Once there lived a woman who had a son and a nephew living with her. And

upon a day they came to her desiring money that they might go and trade

in the bazaar. She gave each a piece of silver of equal value, and bade

them so to trade and cheat that they might bring home much money.

At the bazaar, one bought a large fish, the other, the head and horns of

a buffalo, and, as they rested by the roadside on their way home,

tied the large, living fish and the buffalo head together, and threw

them in a muddy stream. When they threw the stones at the fish, it

jumped, thus causing the buffalo head to move as though it were alive.

A man saw the head in the water and desired to buy the buffalo. The boys

named the price of a live animal, and, having received it, they fled.

As they went along, not long after, they found a deer which a wild dog

had killed, but had not eaten of it. It they took with them, and, a

drover, seeing it, asked where they had found it.

"Our dog," said the boys, "is so trained, it goes to the jungle and

catches the wild animals for our food."

The drover desired to buy the dog.

"No," said the boys, "we will not sell it."

Their words but made the drover more eager to possess the dog, and he

offered ten of his best cattle in exchange. The exchange pleased the

boys, and, having received the cattle for their useless dog, they

hastened to a large city, where they sold them for much money and

returned home. On reaching it, they divided the money equally, but the

mother was dissatisfied and desired that her son have the larger

portion, therefore she insisted that they make an offering to the spirit

in the hollow tree near by, before the money could be rightly divided.

While the boys were preparing the offering, the mother ran and hid in

the hollow tree, and when they had made their offering and asked the

spirit, "What division must we make of the money?" a voice replied,

"Unto the son of the widow, give two portions--unto the nephew of the

widow, give one portion."

Greatly angered, the nephew put wood all about the tree and set fire to

it. Though he heard the voice of his aunt, saying, "I beg that thou have

mercy on me and set me free," he would not recognize it, and the widow

and the tree perished. Thus, she who had taught him to cheat, by her own

pupil was destroyed.