Keep it for the Beggar
When anything sweet is prepared in the house on a particular night, and when the children, after feeding to their fill, say to the mother:—
“Ammâ, this pudding is sweet; keep it for the morning,” the mother says at once:—
“Ask me to keep it for the beggar, and I shall do it.”
“Why should I not say keep it for the morning, Ammâ,” ask the curious children, and the South Indian mother gives to her listening children the following story:—
In a certain village there lived an affectionate husband and wife. The husband would go to look after the fields and garden and return home with abundance of vegetables. The wife would cook and serve her lord to his fill. Before going out in the morning the husband used to take whatever of last night’s dishes were left cold to remain for his breakfast.
The husband was a great eater of dhâl(Indian grain) soup. Every night the wife used to prepare a large quantity of it and leave a good portion of it to stand for the morning’s breakfast of her lord. And he, too, owing to his taste for the cold rice, used to warn his wife—though she was very careful—and say:—
“Keep me some of this soup for the next morning.”
The wife used to say: “Yes, my dear husband, I shall do so.”
This went on for several years. Every day the dhâl soup was invariably prepared for the night meal and a good portion of it was reserved for the cold rice. Every night, the husband, without forgetting for even a single day, used to ask his wife to reserve a portion. Thus passed on several years, as we have already said.
One night this husband had his supper. The wife had sat at her husband’s leaf to take her supper after her lord had had his. That night, too, our hero, as usual, repeated:—
“Keep, my dear, some of this soup for the morning.”
At once a gurgling laughter was heard near the doorsill of their house. The pair were astonished, and searched their whole house. No one was discovered. Again the husband said:—
“Keep, my dear, some of this soup for the morning.