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Suzanne Fisher Staples

Dowry, Nosepegs, and Channan Pir

Sibi Fair, The Bargain, and Shatoosh

Dowry, Nosepegs, and Channan Pir, page 2

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The family reunites joyfully. They exchange stories, exclaim over purchases, and play with the new puppy. Grandfather is especially happy to see Shabanu and pulls her down to sit with him. Grandfather, Dadi's father, is quite old and not always truly present. Shabanu feels glad that the "old Grandfather" she knows and loves is talking to her today. She excitedly recounts the fair at Sibi, and when she reaches the story of Guluband, she begins to cry. Grandfather mourns with her.

Shabanu and Phulan rush out to see the new baby camels. Phulan shows Shabanu the device she has contrived to feed the ever-growing Mithoo: she fills a goatskin bag with milk and ties it upside-down to a tree. Mithoo suckles from the bag. Shabanu feels jealous of Mithoo's affection for Phulan.

They return and eat a celebratory meal. Dadi presents Mama and Phulan with shawls and jewelry. The richness of the gifts strikes the women speechless, but Dadi stands, explaining with hesitant joy that they are rich, and he dances.

Nose Pegs

Shabanu wakes early the next morning and walks to the toba to bathe. Shabanu surveys the water carefully and predicts it will be gone in a month. The monsoon will not begin for another two months. Shabanu fills a pot with water and takes it to a nearby rock, on which she washes her hair.

As she is bathing, Shabanu notices that her chest feels sore. She looks down and sees with astonishment that her breasts have begun to grow. She accepts this development warily, vaguely hoping she will one day be as beautiful as Phulan.

Shabanu sees Phulan approaching, carrying more pots to be filled at the toba. Shabanu begins to wash Phulan's hair, and in the process, enviously notices how big Phulan's breasts have grown. Shabanu tells Phulan about the Bugti girl who had run off with her lover. Shabanu is certain the girl is dead. The girls fall silent at this sobering thought. She feels that her tales about the fair are childish in comparison.

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