*back to part 6*      
103) [*N15*] But despite hints and suggestions, neither did Rahat Miyan himself let out a word, nor did any message come from his home. Worn out and defeated, Bi Amma pawned her ankle-bracelets and held a ceremony in honor of Pir Mushkil-kusha ['difficulty-opener']. All afternoon the girls from the muhallah and the neighborhood kept making a great commotion in the courtyard. Bi Apa, shy and embarrassed, went and sat in the 'mosquito-room' to have the last drops of her blood sucked. Bi Amma, feeling weak, sat on her stool and sewed the last stitches on the 'fourth-day' outfit. Today there were signs on her face of the long road she'd traveled. Today the 'opening of difficulties' has taken place. Now only the [*notes 17*] 'needles in the eyes' have remained. They too will come out. Today in her wrinkles torches were again flickering. Bi Apa's girlfriends were teasing her. And she was pressing into service [for a blush] her last remaining drops of blood. Today, after some days, her fever had still not gone down. Like a tired and exhausted lamp, her face flared up once, and then went out. With a gesture, she called me to her. Lifting her sari-end, she pressed on me a dish of the cake used in the ceremony.      
104) "Maulvi Sahib has breathed on this." Her hot breath, burning with fever, fell on my ear.      
105) [*D60*] Taking the dish, I began to think. Maulvi Sahib has breathed on it. This sanctified cake will now be cast into Rahat's oven, the oven that for six months has been kept warm with splashes of our blood. This breathed-upon cake will fulfill the purpose. In my ears shahnais began to sound. I am running from the room to see the wedding procession. Over the bridegroom's face a longish sahra is hanging, that is kissing the horse's mane ---- Wearing the brilliant "fourth-day outfit," loaded down with flowers, awkward with shame, slowly measuring every footstep, Bi Apa is coming ---- the gold-threaded "fourth-day outfit" is glittering. Bi Amma's face has bloomed like a flower ---- Bi Apa's shame-weighted eyes rise one time. A tear of gratitude slips out, entangles itself on the sparkling gold [*N16*] like a lampshade.     == These extremely long dashes are reproduced from the Urdu.
106) "This is all the fruit of your labor alone," Bi Apa's silence is saying ---- Hamidah's throat filled [with tears].     == Notice that we now return to a third-person narrator.
107) "Go, won't you, my sister." Bi Apa awakened her, and with a start she advanced toward the threshhold, wiping her tears with the end of her orhni.      
108) "This ---- this malidah," she said, bringing her pounding heart under control. Her feet were trembling as if she might have entered a snake's hole. And then the mountain stirred ---- Rahat opened his mouth. She took a step back. But somewhere far off the trumpets of the wedding procession shrieked as though someone were choking their throats. With trembling hands she shaped a morsel of the holy malidah and extended it toward Rahat's mouth.      
109) With a jerk, her hand was steadily sinking into the cave in the mountain, down into the depths of an immeasurable cavern of fetidness and darkness. And a single tallish peak swallowed up her scream. The plate with the consecrated malidah slipped, and fell on top of the lantern; and the lantern fell onto the ground, gave a few gasps, and went out. Outside [*D61*] in the courtyard, the daughters-in-law and daughters of the muhallah were singing songs in honor of Mushkil-kusha.      
*on to part 8*      
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