The Story of the Pineapple Girl
Translated by Kabir Chowdhury
HE asked his wife about it who said that she had torn it into pieces many days ago. This saddened him but he did not say a word. Somehow it struck him that the Pineapple girl was perhaps living these days in the home of the flower-girl. He thought: I brought the lotus from the lake, and from that lotus rose the Bel tree, and the flower-girl got hold of the particular Bel which harboured the Pineapple girl, and now the Pineapple girl was performing all these miracles with these garlands of hers. He pondered all day and decided to find out the truth from the flower-girl. The next day when the flower-girl was going to the King's palace along the road by the side of his home he called her to him and said, “Look, my dear flower-girl, I have been planning to pay you a visit at your place for a long time, but somehow haven't been able to do so till now.” The flower-girl replied with humility, “Shall I be so fortunate as to have a respectable gentleman like you pay a social call at the place of a humble girl like me?” The young man said, “Oh, cut out all these genteel formalities. I'll see you at your place this evening. I'll see you at your place this evening.” The flower-girl said, “I doubt, sir, if you will remember your words and act upon them.” So saying she went away to the King's palace. Our young man was extremely restless all day. When evening came he went to the flower-girl's home. At first he refrained from broaching the subject nearest to his heart. Instead he started talking about various matters. They talked for a long time till the night was quite far advanced. It was a dark night. One could hardly see one's own body in the pitch-black inky darkness. So the young man said, “Flower-girl, I don't think I'll go home in this dark night. Let me be your guest for the night.”
The flower-girl had no objection to this. She made a bed for the young man in the loft where rested in a corner the precious Bel fruit, and then went to the next room and made her bed there. The young man covered his body from head to foot by a thin piece of cloth and with wide open eyes watched everything through that nearly transparent cloth. When it was midnight he say the Pineapple girl quietly slip out of the hard crust of the fruit , go to the garden outside, gather flowers and weave her famous garlands without using thread of any kind. Then she finished some other household works, swept the courtyard, bathed, and dried her hair. Then she saw that the night was nearly over and the dawn was close at hand. She hurriedly went inside the Bel fruit and hid herself there.
When the day dawned the young man went to the flower-girl taking the Bel fruit in his hand said, “I must go now, flower-girl. But before I go I have a request to you. Please give me this fruit I found in your loft.”
The flower-girl was not willing at first to part with the fruit, but when she saw that he was insistent she allowed him to take it away and said, “Well, I got this from the Bel tree that grew in your yard. If you are so keen about it, then go ahead and take it. It is no precious jewel that we should spend so much time and so many words over it. I can get any number of such fruits if I just take the trouble to go out and gather them.” The young man said not a word more, but quickly left for his home with the fruit in his hand. On reaching his home he placed it on a shelf and then went out to work in the field.
However, when his wife saw the fruit she became terribly angry. She recalled that it was a fruit like this that had caused her child's death. She thought: “Who knows whose death this fruit will cause again!” So she quickly lay her hands on it, took it with her to the threshing-room, threshed and ground it into powder, fried the powdered fruit in a frying pan till it was turned into fine ash and then scattered the ash in the air outside. The wind caught the ash and carried some of it to a potter's home.
TO BE CONTINUED
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