Short Story - The Hardworking Girl
Once, there lived a fruit trader named Marshal in a village in England. He was doing good business. His son Thomas had completed his education and was now helping his father’s business. The boy was very clever and hardworking. Marshal took great pride in his son’s abilities.
Marshal had a wish to get his son a wife who would be as hardworking as the pair of father and the son was. No place for any lazy person m his family.
Marshal had the idea that such a girl would take good care of his son and the house. But the problem was how to find out such a girl? He could not trust the words of others.
Marshal thought of a plan. He loaded a wheel cart with a lot of fruits and himself wheeled it to the colonies
Marshal called out loud. ‘Take it! Take apples, oranges, bananas, any fruits for the dust and dirt of your home’ Pay no money…”
Wherever he went the woman would come out of their houses to see what fool was selling fruits for dust and dirt. At first, no woman came to him because they thought that it could be some trick or a hoax.
The housewives whispered among themselves that the fruit-seller could be trying to fool them or he had some devious plan in mind.
The women decided to test the offer of the fruit-seller by one of them going to him. So, a woman went to Marshal and enquired, “What’s this matter about dust and dirt? How many fruits would you give for how much rubbish?’
Marshal informed, ‘The more dirt and dust you bring the more fruits you get.”
The woman would not believe him. She asked him to wait and rushed into her house. She swept the floors of her rooms and collected as much dust and dirt she could in a hurry. Then, she came back to the fruit-seller with a bagful of rubbish. The fruit seller gave her fruits of equal weight to the surprise of all the women.
Now all the women ran into their houses and began sweeping their homes in frenzy. It was dust all over. The housewives competed in grabbing the fruits.
The women came with bags, sacks and binfuls of trash. All the women and girls were happy that some fool was giving them fruits for rubbish.
Then, a girl approached the fruit cart. Marshal saw that she had brought nothing. He asked. ‘Dear girl! Don’t you want fruits?”
The girl shyly produced a handkerchief in which there were hardly two pinches of dust. She stammered. ‘S…Sir, can you give me some fruit for this much dust?’
Marshal replied, ‘Sure, sure Why not? Pick any fruit you like. But tell me could you find only this much dust in your house?”
The girl turned red and said, “Intact, there was no dust in my home. Sorry. My neighborhood auntie asked me to collect dust of her house and get some fruit for her if possible. Give me any fruit, if you wish.”
Marshal said to the girl, “My dear, you can take all these fruits. I want to meet your father to ask your hand for my son.”
The girl pointed at her house and ran inside. The father of the girl readily agreed to the proposal of Marshal. He was very happy that his daughter would be married into a rich merchant family. Meanwhile, Marshal too was happy because he was getting a daughter-in-law in whose house there was not even a pinch of dust or dirt which showed how hard working the girl was.