Page:Folklore1919.djvu/272

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26o The Folk Life of Afgha7iistan.

grandfather's feet, saying, " Mr. so and so has kindly consented to take my son as the slave of his daughter. In this tray I have loaf-sugar cones. By breaking one against the other the promise of Mr. so and so will be sealed."

The old man uncovers the cones, of which there are four, each about eighteen inches high and six inches in circum- ference at the base. He calls on the company to raise their hands for prayer so that the young people may have happiness. Each repeats a silent prayer. Then one cone is struck against the other and broken. If there are many fragments that is a good sign. A general chorus of greetings is immediately raised. Voices call loudly, "Mubarak'^ — "Be it happy ! " Small pieces of the sugar are snatched by boys and maidens. Another prayer follows when all have become silent again.

There is no further ceremony — no engagement ring. The guests remain and make merry. Some remain all night. Meanwhile, the girl who is to be married sits in her room. No one is allowed to see her but her old nurse and her playmates.

Next day, the guests are entertained at the house of the young man's mother. More presents are exchanged. The young man's tutor receives a white turban, and his mother a silk dress.

Before the marriage date is fixed, there are frequent visits to both houses and fruit offerings are made. The party carrying fruit to the house of the girl's father is formally welcomed and the servants get awards.

The girl is meanwhile serving an apprenticeship in the kitchen, acting as senior assistant to her mother. In her spare time she makes gold-thread hats for her father and brothers. She is not happy as a rule. The thought of leaving the house of her parents weighs heavily on mind and heart, and often she shuts herself in her room and weeps long and bitterly. Her mother cannot help being' affected by the girl's sorrow. They love one another very