Once, there lived four friends. One of them was a waver, the other a carpenter, the third a goldsmith and the fourth a hawker who sold vermilion. Every evening, they would meet in the woods and share the day’s experience.
One such evening, they were feeling sad and depressed. “Life is so boring!” said the weaver. “I spin thread, weave clothes and the day comes to a close!” “It is the same with me, friend!” said the hawker. “I buy vermilion from the wholesaler; go hawking through the village and the day is over.” “My life is boring too!” said the carpenter. “I chop wood and make furniture. Is this the best way to spend a day?”
The goldsmith said, “I am no better, friends! I melt gold, mold it into beautiful designs and that is the work I do the whole day.” So, the four planned to go to the town in search of new jobs. “Let’s sleep here tonight and start an early morning!” they decided. “But we must take turns and keep a watch for wild animals.” The carpenter was the first to keep vigil while the other three slept. Suddenly, he saw a lovely pike of dry wood. He chiseled it, carved a statue of a woman and placed it on the ground under the tree. Then the carpenter woke up the goldsmith and went to sleep. “Ah, I feel so refreshed!” the goldsmith sat up with a yawn. He stretched his limbs and was ready to keep vigil while his three friends slept. The goldsmith then noticed the wooden figure. “Beautiful!” he exclaimed. “But she needs ornaments!” So, he made a gold chain and put it around her neck. He also made some bangles and a pair of earrings and adorned the statue. Then keeping the statue under the tree, the goldsmith woke up the weaver and went to sleep.
The weaver sat up, rubbing his eyes and scratching his head. As he looked around, he spotted the wooden statue. “How Wonderful.” exclaimed the weaver. Then he went close to the statue and picked it up in his hands. “Umm…. something is missing!” thought the weaver. “Yes… Clothes! She should wear a sari.”
And then he wove a sari and wrapped the statue in it. “That looks nice!” said the weaver and smiled to himself. He then placed the statue under the tree and woke up the hawker to take his turn.
When the hawker sat up, he saw the beautiful statue under the tree. “This is indeed a masterful work of art!” he cried. “I wish someday to marry a girl as beautiful as her.”
The hawker took a pinch of vermilion from his bag and placed it on the statue’s forehead. Much to the hawker’s surprise, the statue came to life and transformed itself into a charming woman! She was smiling at the hawker. As it was dawn by now, the other three friends also woke up. Seeing the beautiful woman, they all began to quarrel as to who should wed her. “I made her,” said the carpenter, “So I am the correct match for her!” “No, I am the correct match, since I adorned her,” said the goldsmith. “I gave her the clothes,” said the weaver, “So she is mine.” “She wears my vermilion,” claimed the hawker, “So I shall wed her.” As they quarreled, there came a wise man. After hearing the story, the wise man said, “He who made her is her father; he who adorned her is her uncle; he who clothed her is her brother, but he who put vermilion on her forehead is her husband.”
The other three friends agreed and thus the hawker married the woman and lived happily thereafter.