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How the Old Woman Got her Wish

A folktale from India, retold by Rohini Chowdhury


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Once there lived a blind old woman with her son and her son's wife. They were very poor.

The old woman used to pray to Ganesh every day. Every day Ganesh would appear before her and say, 'Old woman, I am moved by your devotion. I will grant you one desire. So ask me for something, tell me what you want.'

The old woman would reply, 'I don't know what to ask for. There is nothing that I want.'

Ganesh would say, 'Then ask your son and your daughter-in-law for advice - they may be able to tell you what to ask for.' But the old woman wouldn't.

This went on for a long time. One day the old woman gave in and agreed to do as Ganesh suggested and ask her son and her daughter-in-law for advice.

When she asked her son, the son replied, 'Ma, ask for wealth.'

When she asked her daughter-in-law, the daughter-in-law replied, 'Mother-in-law, ask for a grandson.'

The old woman considered their advice and said to herself, 'They have told me what they want, not what I want. So let me ask my neighbour. Let me see what she will say.'

How the Old Woman Got Her Wish cont'd...  next page
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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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