The Brahmani and the Mongoose

Once upon a time in a city in the north lived a brahmin whose name was Deva Sarma. His wife delivered a son at the same time as a female-mongoose gave birth to a male child. The Brahmani (Brahmin’s wife) adopted the mongoose’s son and began bringing him as she would her own son. Yet the Brahmani never left her son alone because she did not trust the mongoose, fearing that she would some day harm her son.

One day, leaving for the lake to bring water, the Brahmin’s wife told her husband to keep a watch on their son. Soon, a cobra entered the house. Fearing danger to the son of the Brahmin, the mongoose attacked the cobra and killed him. Hearing the footfalls of his mother Brahmani, the mongoose, with a mouth smeared by blood, went to greet her. When the mother saw the mongoose with his mouth oozing blood, thought that what she had feared had happened. Without a second thought, the Brahmin’s wife threw the pot of water on the mongoose and the mongoose died as a result.

Mourning the death of the mongoose, the woman entered the house and found that her child was soundly sleeping in the cradle and also the cobra bitten to pieces by the mongoose. The woman was struck by grief that she had killed the mongoose that was like a son to her.

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