Mahfil. v 1, V. 1 ( 1963) p. 11.


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Mahfil, vol. 1, no. 2 11 RETRIBUTION (Chapter IX of Prem Chances GODAN)

By sunrise Hori's house was in a complete uproar. Hori was "beating Dhaniya. Dhaniya was cursing him. The two girls were clinging to their father's legs and screaming. Gobar was trying to protect his mother. Time after time he would grab Hori's hand and push him back. But as soon as Dhaniya let fly another curse, Hori would free his hands and give her a few more blows and kicks« Anger seemed to have released some hidden source of strength in his old body.

The commotion aroused the whole village. On the pretext of trying to reason with Hori5 people came to watch the fun. Sobha appeared, leaning on his stick. Datadin scolded - "What's all this^ Hori? Have you gone mad or something? Lifting your hand that way against the Lakshmi of your own home! You weren't like this before - have you caught the disease from Hira?"

Hori touched the pandity s feet and said, "Maharaj, please don't say anything just now. I'm going to break her of this bad habit today, once and for all, Then I'll let her alone. The more I give in to her, the more insolent she becomes,"

Dhaniya spoke up through angry tears - "You be thewl.tness^ Maharaj. I won^b rest until I've sent him and his murderous brother to jail. His brother poisoned our cow. I was just going to report him to the police when this fiend started beating me. This is the reward he gives me for devoting my life to him.11

Hori glared at her. "You've gone and said it again. Did you see Hira give the cow poison?"

"All right then - can you swear you didn't see Hira standing near the cow's trough?"

"I didn't see him, I swear."

"Put your hand on your son's head and swear it."

Hori placed a trembling hand on Gobar's head and said in a quavering voice, "I swear on my son's life that I didn't see Hira near the cow's trough,"

Dhaniya spat on the ground. "You're a damn liar. You told me yourself that Hira was standing like a thief near the trough, And now you're lying to protect your brother. Damn you! If harm comes to even a hair on my son's head because of your lies, I'll burn the house down. God! To think that a man would say something and then deny it so shamelessly!"

Hori slammed his foot down. "Don't get me angry, Dhaniya, or there'll be trouble,"

"You're already beating me. Keep it up all you like. If you're your father's son, you won't rest until the job is finished. The brute has already beaten me to a pulp and still he's not satisfied.. He thinks beating me makes him a big hero. But in front of his brothers he's like a bedraggled cat. Sinner! Murderer!"

She burst into tears and began a wailing recital of her sorrows - all that she'd endured since coming to his house - how she'd skimped and starved - how she had slaved over every scrap of clothing - how she had hoarded every pice as though it were life itself - how she had fed the whole family and then gone to bed



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