A Tale from the Orient

I found this limerick in my father’s collection of sundry articles and monographs. I can’t find a reference for it, and any help in this regard will be appreciated.

A Tale from the Orient

Wanted a fair, slim, beautiful, domestically trained, graduate, good Tamilian wife for a handsome Groom, 24, propertied and permanently employed in Central Government Service. Must have a broad, cosmopolitan outlook. (An advertisement)

In days of old, fine slaves were sold

To those who could afford them.

And masters bold, so we are told,

Did clothe and whip and feed them.

Sometimes a slave could dance and sing,

Others choice dishes could prepare,

Some like Aesop fine tales did tell,

Or comb and dress teh mistress’ hair.

Our tale moves on, we now present,

A man both young and handsome;

A wife he wants both slim and fair,

The tale becomes quite gruesome.

For a graduate she must be,

And in extremely virtuous state,

And contribute a huge dowry,

And be prepared to vegetate.

And while with calculation chooses

The one whose wealth can match his tastes,

The other maidens he abuses,

And the slave trade propagates.

– Dulcie Mark

This limerick is quite old, the copy I have is only type-written, but a quick search of the first line of the supposed ad will show that the situation hasn’t changed all that much.


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