188 THE ONE-HANDED GIRL
' What is the matter ? ' asked he.
' I sent a slave with some grain to your sister to buy some pumpkins, but she would not sell me any, and told me there were none, though I know she lets other people buy them.'
' Well, never mind now—go to sleep,' said he, ' and to-morrow I will go and pull up the pumpkin tree, and that will punish her for treating you so badly.'
So before sunrise he got up and set out for his sister's house, and found her cleaning some corn.
' Why did you refuse to sell my wife a pumpkin yesterday when she wanted one ? ' he asked.
' The old ones are finished, and the new ones are not yet come,' answered the girl. ' When her slave arrived two days ago, there were only four left; but I gave him one, and would take no corn for it.'
' I do not believe you : you have sold them all to other people. I shall go and cut down the pumpkin,' cried her brother in a rage.
' If you cut down the pumpkin you shall cut off my hand with it,' exclaimed the girl, running up to her tree and catching hold of it. But her brother followed, and with one blow cut off the pumpkin and her hand too.
Then he went into the house and took away everything he could find, and sold the house to a friend of his who had long wished to have it, and his sister had no home to go to.
Meanwhile she had bathed her arm carefully, and bound on it some healing leaves that grew near by, and wrapped a cloth round the leaves, and went to hide in the forest, that her brother might not find her again.
For seven days she wandered about, eating only the fruit that hung from the trees above her, and every night she climbed up and tucked herself safely among the creepers which bound together the big branches, so that neither lions nor tigers nor panthers might get at her.