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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "Light Makes Prosperity"

Light Makes Prosperity

There is a Tamil proverb dîpam lakshmîkaram, meaning, “light makes prosperity,” and the following story is related to explain it:—

In the town of Gôvindapâthî there lived a merchant named Paśupati Śeṭṭi, who had a son and a daughter. The son’s name was Vinîta and the daughter’s Garvî, and while still playmates they made a mutual vow, that in case they ever had children that could be married to each other, they would certainly see that this was done. Garvî grew up to marry a very rich merchant, and gave birth in due course to three daughters, the last of whom was named Sunguṇî. Vinîta, too, had three sons. Before, however, this brother and sister could fulfil their vow an event happened which threw a gloom over all their expectations.

Paśupati Śeṭṭi died, and his creditors—for he had many—grew troublesome. All his property had to be sold to clear his debts, and in a month or two after his father’s death Vinîta was reduced to the condition of a penniless pauper. But being a sensible person he patiently bore up against his calamity, and tried his best to live an honest life on what little was left to him.

His sister Garvî was, as has been already said, married into a rich family, and when she saw the penniless condition of her brother the engagements she had entered into with him began to trouble her. To give or not to give her daughters in marriage to the sons of her brother! This was the question that occupied her thoughts for several months, till at last she determined within herself never to give poor husbands to her children. Fortunately for her, two young merchants of respectable family offered themselves to her two eldest daughters, she gladly accepted them and had the weddings celebrated. The last daughter, Suguṇî, alone remained unmarried.

Vinîta was sorely troubled in his heart at this disappointment, as he never thought that his sister would thus look down upon his poverty; but, being very sensible, he never interfered and never said a word. The vow of his childhood was, however, known to every one, and some came to sympathise with him; while others spoke in a criticising tone to Garvî for having broken her promise, because her brother had become poor through unforeseen circumstances.

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