How the Woman and the Rat Came to Stay in the Same House

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Once upon a time the rat stayed in the bush far away from the homes of people and had no association with human life.

There used to be a big problem with the way women gave birth. It used to be that each time a woman would get pregnant the woman’s stomach would be cut open at the end of nine months; every time the woman died and the child survived. Each time a woman become pregnant she would die as a result of this method of getting the baby out, and her children would survive. This continued for a long, long time and many women died.

One day Rat came to the village and said, “Why is it that all the women in this village are being killed at the end of their pregnancies? This woman who is pregnant now, when the time comes for her delivery, call me. Don’t kill her when the time comes for her labour.”

When the time of her delivery finally arrived, Rat was informed on the new development. When the labour pains became very serious, people around her were not patient and wanted to cut the stomach of the woman as usual. The rat told them, “No! Be patient, she will deliver.”

The woman finally delivered her baby after some time. When the child was delivered the woman could not believe she was still alive because she knew her fellow women who lost their lives during the same situation. The woman asked, “Is it this rat who has saved my life and the one who allowed me to deliver?” The people told her that it was true and she cried, “Let the rat tell me what he wants; I am ready to give that to him in return for his kind help.”

Let the rat tell me what he wants; I am ready to give that to him in return for his kind help.

Everyone in the village was called to come and see what had happened. It was suggested that the rat be given a lactating cow with calf, but the rat said, “No, thank you!” Another suggested that the rat be given a girl as reward, but again the rat said “No, thank you!” Others said the rat should be given the newborn child, but once more that rat said, “No, thank you!”

The rat said, “The reason I am refusing all these gifts is because I am powerless and if they are given to me I would not be able to take care of them. So I have this suggestion to you, and if you the mothers will accept the idea, I will appreciate it greatly. I want to share and stay with you wherever you will stay in your houses, and whatever you will eat we will share and eat it together.”

The woman said, “If that is the case, I accept you to join me and other women from now on in our homes as thanks for what you have saved me from.” That was how the rat was accepted to join the women. That is why the rat is today staying in the house, checking every utensil, cutting and destroying buckets, food, clothes and yet a woman cannot kill him. That is why the saying “The rat checks my properties, and I check theirs” remains in the mind of children as they play.

1) This story clearly blames women for why we have rats in our homes today. Do you know any other   stories that blame women for today’s problems? How do you think such stories originated?

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