Haste Makes Waste

Long, long ago, a peasant lived in a village called Madhopur. The peasant, named Banarsi, was just simpleton. His family comprised only three persons, he himself, his wife Sharmili and their three-months son.

One day, Banarsi was returning home after his daily work in his fields. Suddenly, he saw a little mongoose lying on the wayside. Picking it up, he brought it home.
“What is it?” asked Sharmili.

“A small mongoose! I found it on the way and so I have brought it for our dear son to play with,” replied Banarsi.

Days went by followed by weeks and months. The peasant’s son and the mongoose kept growing up side by side. His son was now eight months old.

One day, Sharmili said to her husband, “Darling! I am going to market along with other ladies in order to buy articles of daily use. Take care of the boy. He is sleeping soundly in the cradle.”

“Don’t worry, dear, Even if I have to be away, our mongoose is there,” retorted Banarsi.

“No, not at all. A wild animal is after all an animal. Finding our son alone, it may attack him,” said Sharmili thoughtfully.

“Animals are far more faithful than human beings, dear. However, rest assured, I won’t leave the house until you return,” said Banarsi.

Sharmili left for the market. A few minutes later, a messenger of village sarpanch approached Banarsi and said “Danarsi, the sarpanch has sent for your for some urgent work.”

Banarsi said, “My wife has gone shopping. Let her come back. I shall come then.”

“No, the sarpanch wants you immediately,” said the messenger.

Banarsi was in a fix. He was mindful of the assurance that he had given to her wife. But, he did not want to offend the village-head either.

He chose to go the sarpanch leaving his infant son alone to be looked after by the mongoose.

Shortly after Banarsi had left, a black cobra entered his house. It began to crawl towards the cradle slowly.

The mongoose, a sworn enemy of snakes, saw the cobra in time and ran towards it.

The snake put up fiery attacks on the mongoose, got the better of him and killed the cobra tearing its body.

Puffed up at its triumph, the mongoose came out of the room and sat at the threshold of the doorway. Its mouth and paws were smudged with the snake’s blood.

When Sharmili returned from the market, she saw the mongoose at the doorway. Seeing its bloodstained mouth and paws, she jumped to the conclusion that the mongoose had killed her son. She picked up the pitcher lying nearby and flung it on the head of the mongoose, shouting, “You wretch! Why have you killed my son? Is that the way to repay what we did for you?” she cried.

Then, throwing her articles there on the ground, she began to bewail bitterly and ran towards the cradle “Sonny, O my dear Sonny.”

Great was Sharmili’s surprise when she saw her son sleeping safely in the cradle and dead cobra lying by its side. She lost no time to follow what had actually happened. She now knew that mongoose had save her son from the cobra.

Sharmili ran back to the doorway but the mongoose had breathed its last. She repented of what she had done in haste. She wailed mournfully. “What a grave sin I have done! I have killed the savior of my son. God will never pardon me. I must be punished severely for my misdeed.”

Sharmili’s wails attracted a crowd. When the people heard the story of the mongoose, they were all praise for it. Just then, Banarsi returned home too.

Seeing his pet lying dead, he burst into tears. He said to Sharmili, “It is true that mother loves her son, but you were a mother to mongoose too. You had brought it up with your hands. Why did you kill it then?”

Sharmili folded her hands and said, “Forgive me, dear. I am a sinner. I suspected the pet for nothing and killed it in haste. I am a killer. “Saying so, she began to weep bitterly.

“It is no use crying now Sharmili. Learn a lesson from what you have done. Anything, done in haste without properly thinking over it, always leads to bad results,” said Banarsi.

The couple then buried the dead mongoose. Banarsi prayed to God, “May the soul of my dear pet rest in peace!” He also begged his pardon for the sin committed by his wife.

Moral: One has to repent for what one does in haste.

Vocabulary


1) Peasant (N):
Pronunciation: Pezunt
Meaning: A country person.
Sen: A peasant lived in a village.

2) Simpleton (N):
Pronunciation: Simpultun
Meaning: A person lacking intelligence or common sense.
Sen: The peasant was just simpleton.

3) Retort (V):
Pronunciation: Ri’tort
Meaning: Answer Back.
Sen: “Don’t worry, dear, Even if I have to be away, our mongoose is there,” retorted Banarsi.

4) Rest (N):
Pronunciation: Rest
Meaning: Something left after other parts have been taken away
Sen: However, rest assured, I won’t leave the house until you return,” said Banarsi.

5) I think the preposition “for” won’t come before shopping:
Sen: My wife has gone shopping.

6) Fix (N):
Pronunciation: Fiks
Meaning: Informal term for a difficult situation.
Sen: Banarsi was in a fix.
Sen: He got into a terrible fix.

7) Offend (V):
Pronunciation: u’fend
Meaning: a) Act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises.
b) Hurt the feelings of.
Sen: He did not want to offend the village-head either.

8) Infant (N):
Pronunciation: infunt
Meaning: A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk

Toddler (N): A young child

Teenager (N): A juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity

Juvenile (N): A young person, not fully developed

Young (N): Any immature animal.

9) Puff up (V):
Meaning: Become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger.
Sen: Puffed up at its triumph.

10) Triumph (N):
Pronunciation: trI úmpf
Meaning: A successful ending of a struggle or contest.
Sen: Puffed up at its triumph.

11) Threshold (N):
Pronunciation: thresh ówld.
Meaning: The sill of a door; a horizontal piece of wood or stone that forms the bottom of a doorway and offers support when passing through a doorway.
Sen: Puffed up at its triumph, the mongoose came out of the room and sat at the threshold of the doorway.

12) Smudge (V):
Pronunciation: smuj.
Meaning: Make a smudge on.

Smudge (N): A blemish made by dirt.

Blemish (N): A mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something (especially on a person's body)
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