Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/482

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446 Some Matrimonial Problems of

had, however, the unanswerable reply from the tribal point of view that he, and he alone, was heir to the landed property of her late lamented husband, and with the land go all other appurtenances.

The most powerful and dramatic instance of rude men's claims that the men of the household alone have the right to dispose of their female relations in marriage that has come to my notice is one in the trans-Border Zakka Khels, Pathans who are not under our rule, though we occasionally have to chastise them for misdemeanours. There was once a Zakka Khel, Nur Mahommed, who took to himself a wife and had a small son Musa. While this son was yet an infant, Nur Mahommed was murdered by his brother Ahmed, who, naturally, took his brother's widow to wife. Ahmed only enjoyed his wedded happiness for a year or two, for he was murdered by one Palya, who also seized what he could of Ahmed's goods, including his widow. The marriage was solemnized with the proper rites of Muhammedan law, and they would have lived happily ever after but for the fact that the erstwhile infant Musa grew to the age of sixteen. On arrival at man's estate, when a lad puts on turban and trousers instead of running about with bare locks and a loincloth, and is entitled to be killed in any raid, and to kill, Musa squared up to his stepfather and demanded from him ^^"24, the price of his mother. Palya pooh-poohed the lad, and tried to put him off by telling him to go and get the price from Ahmed, who had taken her from Musa's father. "That won't do," replied Musa. "You have in your possession one of our family, and you have paid no member of our family for her. I am the representative of my father, Nur Mahommed, and will trouble you to hand over." £24. was the standard compensation for wives in the Zakka Khel country, and it would have been well for Palya had he admitted the claim. £24r will wipe out an indignity, but, without that, to see a lady of one's family in the possession of another is more than any Pathan can