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The World’s Wit and Humor: An Encyclopedia in 15 Volumes. 1906.

Unknown Author (c. First Century)

The Creation of Woman

From “The Churning of the Ocean of Time” (Sansara-sagara-manthanam), translated by F. W. Bain

IN the beginning, when Twashtri came to the creation of woman, he found that he had exhausted his materials, in the making of man, and that no solid elements were left. In this dilemma, after profound meditation, he did as follows:

He took the rotundity of the moon, and the curves of creepers, and the clinging of tendrils, and the trembling of grass, and the slenderness of the reed, and the bloom of flowers, and the lightness of leaves, and the tapering of the elephant’s trunk, and the glances of deer, and the joyous gaiety of sunbeams, and the weeping of clouds, and the fickleness of the winds, and the timidity of the hare, and the vanity of the peacock, and the softness of the parrot’s bosom, and the hardness of adamant, and the cruelty of the tiger, and the hot glow of fire, and the coldness of snow, and the chattering of jays, and the cooing of the dove, and the hypocrisy of the crane, and the fidelity of the drake. Compounding all these together, he made woman, and gave her to man.

But after a week man came to him, and said:

“Lord, this creature that you have given me makes my life miserable. She chatters incessantly, and teases me beyond endurance, never leaving me alone. She requires attention every moment, takes up all my time, weeps about nothing, and is always idle. So I have come to give her back again, as I cannot live with her.”

Then Twashtri said, “Very well,” and took her back.

After another week man came to him again, saying:

“Lord, I find that my life is lonely since I surrendered that creature. I remember how she used to dance and sing to me, and look at me out of the corner of her eye, and play with me, and cling to me. Her laughter was music; she was beautiful to look at, and soft to touch. Pray give her back to me again.”

And Twashtri said, “Very well,” and returned woman to man.

But after only three days had passed, man appeared once more before the Creator, to whom he said:

“Lord, I know not how it is, but, after all, I have come to the conclusion that she is more trouble than pleasure to me. Therefore I beg that you take her back again.”

Twashtri, however, replied:

“Out upon you! Be off! I will have no more of this. You must manage how you can.”

Then quoth man:

“But I cannot live with her!”

To which Twashtri answered:

“Neither could you live without her.” And he turned his back on man, and went on with his work.

Then said man:

“Alas, what is to be done? For I cannot live either with or without her!”