Shrewd Wife

In the state of Hyderabad, there was once a landlord. He married and brought his wife home, but he treated her as a stranger because of a quarrel with his in-laws.

After a time, the wife could no longer put up with it. She spoke to the purohit of the family and sought his advice. “My child,” the purohit told her, “stand in the gate with betel leaves in hand when your husband goes out. Promise to give him way if he gives you limestone powder. “The wife followed this advice. The husband going out, saw his wife standing in his way with betel leaves in her hand and asked her to step aside. “I’ll do so,” said the wife. “But first, give me some limestone powder.”

“I’ll give you limestone powder.” the husband said sharply, “when rice is cultivated on the rocks; when the crop is harvested with sickles of gold; when I carry the shoes of a woman and drink the dirty water of the Red Tank!” Then he pushed her aside and went out.

When the purohit heard what had happened, he said, “That’s fine! There is a rocky region in your estate. Have a small area covered with knee-deep soil that is sown to rice. When the crop comes up, get it reaped with a couple of small, gold sickles.”

The wife did so. On further instructions from the purohit, she dressed as a state officer, mounted a horse and went to the place where the crop was being reaped. “With whose permission have you cultivated this bit of land?” she demanded of the labourers. “Call the landlord here at once. He will pay a fine of thousand rupees for this offence.”

Word went to the husband, and he arrived in great haste. “How dare you cultivate the land without permission? You’ll be punished severely for this. Follow me!” the wife shouted at the husband and started her horse.

Shivering with fear, the poor husband began to run behind her horse. On the way, the wife accidentally dropped her shoes, and the terrified husband picked them up and ran along.

The wife made her husband run as far as the Red Tank. The husband was very thirsty after running a long way in the hot sun. He asked her permission to drink some water in the tank.

“Well, you can drink the water and return home,” said the wife. “You are forgiven this first offence.” She then rode home.

The husband reached home much later. The wife served him food. After eating, the husband got ready to go out. But he found his wife again standing in his way with betel leaves in hand, and he asked her to step aside.

“Rice is cultivated on the rocks. The crop is harvested with gold sickles. You’ve carried a woman’s shoes and drank the water of the Red Tank. Give me some limestone powder,” she said.

The husband was astounded and then quite pleased with his wife’s grit. From that day, he was a loving husband.

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