The Too Particular Wife
A Santhal Pargana Tale
translated by Cecil Henry Bompas
There was once a man with a large tumour on his forehead and his
wife was so ashamed of it that she would never go about with him
anywhere for fear of being laughed at. One day she went with a party of
friends to see the Charak Puja. Her husband wished to go with
her but she flatly declined to allow him.
So when she had gone he went to a friend’s house and borrowed
a complete set of new clothes and a large pagri. When he had rigged
himself out in these he could hardly be recognised; but his forehead
with the tumour was quite visible. Then he too went off to the fair and
found his wife busy dancing. After watching her for some time he
borrowed one of the drums and began to play for the dancers; and in
particular he played and danced just in front of his wife.
When he saw that his wife was preparing to go home he started off
ahead, got rid of his fine clothes and took the cattle out to graze.
Presently he went back to the house and asked his wife whether she had
enjoyed the fun. “You should have come to see it for
yourself,” said she.
“But you would not let me! Otherwise I should have
“Yes,” answered his wife, “I was ashamed of the
lump on your forehead but other people do not seem to mind, for there
was a man there with a lump just like yours who was playing the drum
and taking a leading part in the fun and no one seemed to laugh at him:
so in future I shall not mind going about with you.”