ONCE a farmer and his wife lived in a village with their small
son. They loved him very much. “We must have a pet," the
farmer said to his wife one day. “When our son grows up, he
will need a companion. This pet will be our son’s companion."
His wife liked the idea.
One evening, the farmer brought with him a tiny
mongoose. “It’s a baby mongoose," said his wife, “but will
soon be fully grown. He will be a friend to our son."
Both the baby and the mongoose grew. In five or six
months the mongoose had grown to its full size - a lovely
animal with two shining black eyes and a bushy tail. The
farmer’s son was still a baby in the cradle, sleeping and
One day, the farmer’s wife wanted to go to the market. She
fed the baby and rocked him to sleep in his little
cradle. Picking up the basket, she said to her husband, “I’m
off to the bazar. The baby is sleeping. Keep an eye on him.
Frankly, I don’t like to leave the child alone with the mongoose."
“You needn’t be afraid," said the farmer. “The mongoose
is a friendly animal. It’s as sweet as our baby and they are
the best of friends, you know."
The wife went away, and the farmer, having nothing to
do in the house, decided to go out and take a look at his
fields not far away. He ran into some friends on the way
back and didn’t return for quite some time.
The farmer’s wife finished her shopping and came back
home with a basketful of groceries. She saw the mongoose
sitting outside as if waiting for her. On seeing her he ran to
welcome her, as was customary. The farmer’s wife took one
look at the mongoose and screamed. “Blood!" she cried. The
face and paws of the mongoose were smeared with blood.
“You wicked animal! You have killed my baby," she
screamed hysterically. She was blind with rage and with all
her strength brought down the heavy basket full of groceries
on the blood-smeared
mongoose and ran inside
to the child’s cradle.
The baby was fast
asleep. But on the floor
lay a black snake torn
and bleeding. In a flash
she realized what had
happened. She ran out
looking for the mongoose.
“Oh! You saved my
child! You killed the snake! What have I done?" she cried
touching the mongoose, who lay dead and still, unaware of
her sobbing. The farmer’s wife, who had acted hastily and
rashly, stared long at the dead mongoose. Then she heard
the baby crying. Wiping her tears, she went in to feed him.