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Light Makes Prosperity

Their remarks fell on the ears of Suguṇî, who was as yet unmarried, and also was a very learned and sensible girl. She found her uncle Vinîta extremely courteous and respectful, and his sons all persons of virtue and good nature. The thought that her mother should have forgotten all these excellent and rare qualities in the presence of fleeting mammon (asthiraiśvarya) vexed her heart very greatly. So, though it is considered most contrary to etiquette for a girl in Hindû society to fix upon a boy as her husband, she approached her mother and thus addressed her:—

“Mother, I have heard all the story about your vow to your brother to marry us—myself and my sisters—to his sons, our cousins; but I am ashamed to see you have unwarrantably broken it in the case of my sisters. I cannot bear such shame. I cannot marry anyone in the world except one of my three cousins. You must make up your mind to give me your consent.”

Garvî was astonished to hear her youngest daughter talk thus to her.

“You wish to marry a beggar?” said she. “We will never agree to it, and if you persist we will give you away to your penniless pauper, but we will never see your face again.”

But Suguṇî persisted. So her marriage with the youngest son of Vinîta was arranged. He had never spoken a word about it to his sister, but he had waited to make matches for his children till all his sister’s daughters had been given away, and when he heard that Suguṇî was determined to marry his youngest son, he was very pleased. He soon fixed upon two girls from a poor family for his other sons, and celebrated the three weddings as became his position.

Suguṇî was as noble in her conduct as in her love for her poor cousin. She was never proud or insolent on account of having come from a rich family. Nor did she ever disregard her husband, or his brothers, or father.

Now Vinîta and his sons used to go out in the mornings to gather dried leaves which his three daughters-in-law stitched into plates (patrâvalî), which the male members of the family sold in the bâzâr for about four paṇams each.

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