Source of the story

Naseem Hines nhines at ARTSCI.WUSTL.EDU
Wed Oct 27 19:15:24 UTC 1999

Recently one of my collegues showed me a comic book version of the story
in which two women who were fighting over a child were brought to the
court of King Solomon. Each woman claimed to be the mother of the child.
King Solomon gave his decision that the child may be cut in two and each
woman be given her half. One of the women immediately said that she did
not want her share. She would rather the other woman have the baby all to
herself. At this point there was no doubt which of the women was the
child's mother really.

Scholars believe that this story may have come to the Near Eastern Canon
from the east, India in particular.

In the Shii Islamic canon, I have read a similar story, however, in that
version, Hazrat Ali was the judge instead of King Salomon.

I also remember this story from Ramanujan's 'Folk Tales of India'. Can
anyone tell me what may be the origin of this tale? Thanks.

Naseem A. Hines
Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures
Washington University
St. Louis, MO.

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