Friday, January 6, 2017

THE STORY OF A SILLY OLD MAN (Elementary - Intermediate level)

There was an old man and his wife. One day, when the old man was clearing jungle, a half-dead deer that had been shot by a huntsman, came limping that way and crossed the old man's field. On which the old man killed it by hitting it on the head with his hoe, and hid it away in the jungle. Presently, the man who shot the deer made his appearance, having tracked its blood as far as the old man's field. "Here, old man!" said he, "Have you seen a wounded deer pass this way?" The old man replied "The boundaries of my field? Well, the east boundary is here and the west over there!" But the other said "Not so, not so, I am asking about a wounded deer." To which the old man replied "I know what you mean; but whether it will be a good crop or not, how shall I say?" "Not so, not so," said the other; that isn't what I want to know." But the old man said "I cannot stop any longer. The dark is falling, and I am hungry for my supper. I'm off." So saying, he went away home, and when he had had his supper, he said to his old woman "You must give me my breakfast early tomorrow, for I have killed a deer, and I must go early and cut it up." So the old woman gave him his breakfast very early and sent him about his business. And he went to his field, and, having chopped up the carcase began dividing the pieces. And first he put apart his own share, "One piece for washing my face in the morning; one piece for chewing tobacco; one piece for driving the cattle afield; one piece for ploughing"; and so on, for all his daily avocations. Then he made out his old woman's share: "One piece for washing her face in the morning; one piece for chewing tobacco; one piece for spinning cotton; one piece for fretting cotton; one piece for weaving cloth; one piece for cooking rice; one piece for drawing water;" and so on, with all her occupations. But, on counting up, he found that the old woman's share was much the biggest. On which he cried angrily that it was not to be believed that a woman's share could be bigger than his, and, mixing up all the pieces of flesh on the ground, he began a fresh division. This time he set apart the old woman's share first, and his own afterwards. This time his share became the largest. But still he was not satisfied, and, mixing all the gobbets up again, he divided them again and again, but never got them equal. Meanwhile, the day had slipped by and evening was come. So the old woman, taking the pestle of the dhenki, went to look for her husband, and there she found him in the midst of the lumps of flesh, which had become covered with dust and dirt through much mixing. Then the old woman let fly the dhenki stump at his back. On which he cried that a snake had bitten him and ran home, on which the old woman tied up the meat in a cloth and carried it to her house, and cooked some hastily for supper. And when her husband asked where the meat came from, she said that he had been such a long time in coming, that she had killed a chicken and cooked it for him. "And if you had stopped dividing that deer's flesh, we should never have got any supper at all," said she. And that's all!

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