Back to: Andhra Pradesh Board Class 8th English Guide and Notes
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This story tells us about a mother who wants to marry off her daughter to someone powerful. However, her daughter objects to this and says that she wants to stand on her own two feet instead, since true power and stability come from within, and not from whom one marries.
The mother rat– a mother rat who wants to marry off her daughter to a powerful being
The daughter rat– the daughter rat who refuses to marry
The sun god– the god of the sun
The rain god– the god of rain
The mountain god– the god of the mountain
The Candidates for the Marriage
Once upon a time, there was a mother rat who wanted to marry off her young daughter to the most powerful being that she could find. She wondered who the most powerful being on earth was. She saw the bright sun god and thought he must be the most powerful because all beings depend on the sun. She asked him if he was most powerful being on this earth. He said the rain was greater than him because without it, no crop or tree would grow.
Just then, it began to rain. The mother rat thought the rain was wonderful because it makes the whole land green and lets the rivers flow. She asked the rain god if he was the most powerful being on this earth. He said the mountain was greater than him because without the mountain, there would be no protection for the creatures of this earth as it blocks the clouds, and lets the water flow safely to life in the valleys.
The mother rat saw the mountain and thought it was big and strong and could withstand all winds and storms, protecting the earth and its creatures. She asked the mountain god if he was the most powerful being on this earth. He replied that the worm was greater than him because without the worm, the earth would be hard and nothing would grow in the soil.
The Daughter Rat’s Opinions
Just then, the daughter came and asked her mother what she was doing. She said she was trying to find out who the most powerful being on earth was so her daughter could marry him and be safe. The daughter asked why she would need to marry to be safe, because to be safe, she just needed to know how to take care of herself.
The mother rat said that she was small and needed protection. Her daughter said that the best protection was to be able to protect oneself. To protect herself, she needed to learn to be strong and to work hard. The mother rat asked her why she would need to work, because if she married someone rich and powerful, he would support her.
Her daughter said that the truly powerful being was one who could take care of themselves and those they loved. One is truly rich, if one is rich in love. She wanted to be powerful herself, so that she could take care of herself and her loved ones.
The mother rat was confused and asked her what she would do. Her daughter said she would learn to stand on her own feet. She would find work that supported her, and her family. For that, she needed to learn more about the world, and to be a good creature. She requested her mother to let her first learn to take care of herself.
The mother rat asked if she wouldn’t need help with that. Her daughter asked her mother to help her support herself. She was not interested in marrying anybody rich or powerful because depending on another person’s power, position or prosperity does not promise peace and security in the long run. She believed that one had to depend on the power within oneself to seek the target in one’s life.
This story is a commentary on the way in which our society treats women. Young women are encouraged to marry well for money and stability, instead of letting them become capable strong women who can stand on their own two feet without a man’s help. We must pay heed to the daughter rat’s wise words and try to change societal expectations about women.