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To Vishnu's Wedding

A folktale from India, retold by Rohini Chowdhury

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To Vishnu's Wedding

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Lord Vishnu set off to marry Lakshmi. He invited all the gods and goddesses to accompany him to the bride's house.

When the marriage party was about to leave, everyone began to say, 'Don't take Ganeshji with us. Look how ugly he is to look at with that drum of a tummy, that elephant's trunk, those feet as big as mortars, those ears as large as winnowing baskets, that fat forehead. What is the point of taking him with us? He will frighten the women! It is better we leave him behind, to guard the house while we are away.' And everyone left for the bride's house.

Now Narad, always a mischief-maker, came to Ganesh and said, 'They've left you behind! Not taking you with them just because they thought you are ugly - now that is a great insult!'

At this Ganesh called his trusty steed and helper, the mouse and ordered him to lay waste the world. The mouse laid waste the world, because of which the wheel of Vishnu's chariot bent and sank into the ground.

The wedding guests tried to push the wheel out of the ground, but it would not budge. At last they called a cartwright, a maker and mender of carts. The cartwright touched the wheel with his hand and said, 'Jai Ganesh!' and the chariot wheel came free of the ground.

Everyone began to ask him, 'Why did you take Ganesh's name?'

The cartwright replied, 'Without Ganesh no task ever gets done properly.'

At this the gods and goddesses began to think, 'But we left Ganesh behind! Maybe that was foolish of us!'

So they went back and fetched Ganesh to go with them in the wedding party. First Ganesh married Riddhi and Siddhi, and then Vishnu married Lakshmi.

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

This version of the folktale is based on the version found in Champa Devi Rajgaria's 'Barah Mahinon Ka Tyauhar'

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