The Lilac Fairy Book
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
'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?'
'I will have blessing,' said the girl; and her mother gave her much blessing, and that night
When the days of mourning were ended, the brother bade his sister put outside the hut all
that belonged to his father and his mother. So the girl put them out, and he took them
away, save only a small pot and a vessel in which she could clean her corn. But she had
no corn to clean.
She sat at home, sad and hungry, when a neighbour knocked at the door.
'My pot has cracked in the fire, lend me yours to cook my supper in, and I will give you a
handful of corn in return.'
And the girl was glad, and that night she was able to have supper herself, and next day
another woman borrowed her pot, and then another and another, for never were known so
many accidents as befell the village pots at that time. She soon grew quite fat with all the
corn she earned with the help of her pot, and then one evening she picked up a pumpkin
seed in a corner, and planted it near her well, and it sprang up, and gave her many