Light Makes Prosperity
Sometimes these leaf-plates would go for more, sometimes for less; but whatever money the father-in-law brought home his daughters-in-law used for the day’s expense. The youngest of them was Suguṇî, who spent the money most judiciously, and fed her father-in-law and his sons sumptuously. Whatever remained she partook of with her two poor sisters-in-law, and lived most contentedly. And the family respected Suguṇî as a paragon of virtue, and had a [very great regard for her. Her parents, as they had threatened, never returned to see how their last, and of course once beloved, child was doing in her husband’s home. Thus passed a couple of years.
One day the king of the town was taking an oil bath, and pulling a ring off his finger, left it in a niche in the open courtyard. A garuḍa (Brâhmaṇî kite) was at that moment describing circles in the air, and, mistaking the glittering rubies in the ring for flesh, pounced upon it and flew away. Finding it not to be flesh he dropped it in the house of Suguṇî’s husband. She happened to be alone working in the courtyard, while her sisters-in-law and the others were in different parts of the house. So she took up the sparkling ring and hid it in her lap.
Soon afterwards she heard a proclamation made in the street that the king had lost a valuable ring, and that any person who could trace it and give it back to him should obtain a great reward. Suguṇî called her husband and his brothers and thus addressed them:—
“My lord and brothers, I have the king’s ring. Exactly at midday a garuḍa dropped it in our courtyard and here it is. We must all go to the king, and there, before you three, I shall deliver up the ring, explaining how I got it. When his majesty desires me to name my reward I shall do so, and beg of you never to contradict or gainsay my desires, if they appear very humble in your opinion.”
The brothers agreed, and they all started for the palace. They had a very great respect for Suguṇî and expected a good result from this visit to the king.