The Tuesday Story
Once upon a time there was a town called Atpat.  In it there lived a bania who had no son. Every day a religious mendicant used to come to his house and call out, “Alms! Alms! In the name of God, give me alms.” But when the bania’s wife offered him alms he refused them, because she had no children. She told her husband, who advised her to play a trick on the mendicant. She hid behind her door, and as he called out “Alms! alms!” she slipped a gold piece into his wallet. But the mendicant caught her and became very angry. He cursed her and told her that she would always remain without any children. She was terrified and fell at his feet and begged for forgiveness. Then he pitied her and said, “Tell your husband to put on blue clothes, mount a blue horse, and ride into the jungle. He should ride on until he meets a horse. He should then dismount and dig in the ground. He will in the end come to a temple to Parwati. He must pray to her and she will bestow a child on him.” When her husband came back she told him what had happened. So he at once put on blue clothes, mounted a blue horse, and rode into the forest. He met the horse, dismounted, and began digging. At last he discovered a temple to Parwati, all of gold, with diamond pillars and a spire made of rubies. Inside was a statue of the goddess, and to it he prayed, saying, “I have houses and cottages, cattle and horses, money and goods of all kinds, but I am very sad because I have no son.” The goddess pitied him and asked, “Which will you have, a son who will be good but will die young, or a son who will live long but will be born blind?” The poor bania became greatly perplexed, but at last said, “I choose a son who will be good but will die young,” The goddess said, “Very well. Step behind me. There you will find an image of Ganpati. Behind it is a mango tree. Climb upon Ganpati’s stomach and pick one mango. Go home and give it to your wife to eat, and your wish will be gratified.” Parwati then disappeared. The bania climbed upon Ganpati’s stomach and ate as many mangoes as he could. He next filled a large bundle full of mangoes and stepped down. But when he reached the ground he found that there was only one mango in the bundle. He climbed up again and refilled his bundle, but when he stepped down he again found only one mango. This happened three or four times. At last Ganpati got very sore and angry with having his stomach trampled on. So he shouted out, “One mango is all you’ll get. So be off home!” The bania was frightened out of his wits and galloped home with his one mango. His wife ate it, and in nine months she presented her husband with a son. When the little boy was eight years old his sacred thread was put on, and his mother said, “It is time to think of his marriage.” But the bania said, “I dare not marry him unless he first makes a pilgrimage to Benares.” His maternal uncle agreed to take the little boy to Benares.