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Mother Shandilee’s Bargain

There was once a hermit in a certain place and he was on a journey. While he was traveling, at one time he asked a Brahman in a town for shelter during the rainy season and brahman accepted his request.

When the hermit was asleep. Brahmin said to his wife: “My dear, tomorrow will be the winter solstice, an extremely profitable season. So I will go to another village in search of donations. And you, in honour of the sun, should give some Brahman food to the extent of your ability.”

But his wife snapped at him harshly, saying: “Who would give food to a poor Brahman like you? Are you not ashamed to talk like that? “

At this the Brahman was terrified and he stammered: “My dear, my dear, you should not say such things. Even the poor should give to the right person at the right time – though the gift seems beneath contempt.”

After this preachment, the wife said: “Well, I believe I have a bit of sesame grain in the house. I will grind it into flour and feed a Brahman.” And her husband, having received her promise, went off to another village.

Then the wife softened the sesame grains in hot water, hulled them, placed them in the hot sun, and returned to her chores in the house. In this state of affairs a dog peed the dish of grain, and she thought when she saw it: “Dear me! See how shrewd fate is, when it has turned against you. Even these poor sesame grains it has made unfit to eat. Well, I will take them to some neighbor’s house, and make an exchange, unhulled for hulled. For anybody will bargain on those terms.”

So she put her grain in a basket and went from house to house, saying: “Who cares to exchange sesame unhulled for sesame hulled?”

Now she happened to enter with her grain a house which I had entered to beg alms, and she made her offer there. The housewife was delighted and took the hulled grain in exchange for unhulled. Later, her husband came home and asked: “My dear, what does this mean?”

And she told him: “I made a bargain, hulled sesame for unhulled.”

Over this, he pondered, then said: “To whom did this grain belong?” And his son Kamandaki told him: “To Mother Shandilee.”

Then he said: “My dear wife, she is mighty shrewd at a bargain. You had better throw this sesame away.”

When the lady heard her son’s advice, she turned the offer down politely.

When Shandili realized that she had failed to play the trick on her neighbor, she returned home.

The wise indeed say:

When someone offers you something that is too good to be true, don’t be carried away by it – Think and analyze.

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