Chapter 2

  THE BLUE UMBRELLA

umbrella



     “What’s that on her neck? asked the younger woman.

     “A necklace of sorts.”

     “It’s a pendant [special necklace]—there’s a claw hanging from it!”

     “It’s a tiger’s claw,” said the man beside her. (He’d never seen a tiger’s claw.) “A lucky charm. These people wear them to keep away evil spirits.” He looked to Binya for confirmation [hoping she would agree], but Binya said nothing.

     “Oh, I want one too!” said the woman, who was obviously [clearly] his wife.

     “You can’t get them in shops.”

     “Buy hers, then. Give her two or three rupees, she’s sure to need the money.”

Jolle

Photo image courtesy Jolle

     The man, looking slightly embarassed but anxious [really wanting] to please his young wife, produced a two rupee note and offered it to Binya, indicating [showing] that he wanted the pendant in exchange for the money. Binya put her hand to the necklace, half afraid that the excited woman would snatch it away from her. Solemnly [very seriously] she shook her head, no. The man then showed her a five rupee note, but again Binya shook her head.

     “How silly she is!” exclaimed the young woman.

     “It may not be hers to sell,” replied the man. “But I’ll try again.” He waved his hand towards the picnic things scattered [put here and there] on the grass. “How much do you want—what can we give you?”

     Without any hesitation Binya pointed to the umbrella.

     “My umbrella!” cried the young woman. “She wants my umbrella? What cheek [how rude]!”

     “Well, you want her pendant, don’t you?”

     “That’s different.”

     “Is it?”

     The man and his wife were beginning to quarrel [argue] with each other.

     “I’ll ask her to go away,” said the older woman. “We’re making such fools of ourselves.”

     “But I want the pendant!” cried the other complaining like a little child.  And then, on an impulse [quick emotion], she picked up the umbrella and held it out to Binya.

     Binya removed her necklace and held it out to the young woman who immediately placed it around her own neck. Then Binya took the umbrella and held it up. It did not look so small in her hands; in fact, it was just the right size.

     She had forgotten about the picnickers, who were busy examining the pendant. She turned the blue umbrella this way and that; looked through the bright blue silk at the sun—and then, still keeping it open, turned and disappeared into the forest glade [opening].


umbrella


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