The Gardener's Cunning Wife

The Gardener's Cunning Wife

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  • In a small village in India, there was once a gardener and his wife. They were very poor and lived off of the sales of their garden's greens in the market each day.
  • One day, on his way home from the market, the gardener passed the temple to Kâlî in the village center. This temple housed a sacred mango tree and pool of fish, it was forbidden to take from them and punishment was exile. However, the gardener was especially hungry, and no one was watching, so he took some home to his wife.
  • The gardener instructed his wife to cook a meal with the fish and the mangoes, so she got to work. The problem was, the food was so delicious that the wife couldn't help but taste it. She kept tasting and tasting until it was halfway gone! But there would be enough.
  • The husband was still working in the garden when the wife finished cooking, so she waited. After some time had passed, she called out to him and asked if she could start eating. She saw him wave and took it as a yes. After she had finished, however, she was still hungry. She called and asked if she could eat his portion too. He might have waved. She told herself it was a yes.
  • After the wife had finished both portions, she feared her husband's wrath. She knew she would be punished for her greed. So, she came up with a plan. The wife took the empty pan and called out to her husband, pretending to be the angry spirit of Kâlî. She said that she would punish him for stealing from the temple. To repay her he must wash the pan in the sacred fish pond.
  • Her trickery worked, and her husband fled to the temple to wash his sins away. For one day, at least, the gardener's cunning wife had escaped his anger.
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