THE ONE-HANDED GIRL
An old couple once lived in a hut under a grove of palm trees, and they had one son and one daughter. They were all very happy together for many years, and then the father became very ill, and felt he was going to die. He called his children to the place where he lay on the floor—for no one had any beds in that country—and said to his son, ' I have no herds of cattle to leave you—only the few things there are in the house—for I am a poor man, as you know. But choose : will you have my blessing or my property ? '
' Your property, certainly,' answered the son, and his father nodded.
' And you ?' asked the old man of the girl, who stood by her brother.
' I will have blessing,' she answered, and her father gave her much blessing.
That night he died, and his wife and son and daughter mourned for him seven days, and gave him a burial according to the custom of his people. But hardly was the time of mourning over, than the mother was attacked by a disease which was common in that country.
' I am going away from you,' she said to her children, in a faint voice ; ' but first, my son, choose which you will have : blessing or property.'
' Property, certainly,' answered the son.
' And you, my daughter ? '