once upon a time in a shtetl in russia there were no eligible men, and 2 women who had reached marrying age. after much deliberation, the rabbi decided to write to his brother who was a rabbi in a distant village, described the situation and asked for his help. and luckily, in the brother's village there were 2 young men with no potential wives, and the solution was obvious.
the 2 young men set off and the young spinsters' village was all agog with excitement. unfortunately the road was long, the winter was cold and one of the young men died on the way. so after some months, it was only one young man who walked into the village, to be welcomed by 2 mothers of prospective wives.
needless to say, the 2 mothers started arguing, each claiming that the young man was destined for her daughter. no one knew how to deal with this dilemma, and the rabbi, who had made the match, was called in to mediate. he listened to the argument for a while and then declared: the young man must be cut up, a half for each bride.
'no no' said one mother 'let the other one have him! he is such a nice boy, it will be a crime to cut him up!'
said the other 'are you crazy? of course he must be cut up, half each! we were both promised a son in law, its both or neither!'and they carried on along this vein.
'that settles it' said the rabbi 'now i know'.
the entire village stood in silence, waiting for his verdict. what will the rabbi say? how will he decide?
very quietly he pointed and said 'that one, who wants to cut him up, she wins. without any doubt, she is the real mother in law....'
and a happy purim to all
(thanx to Tova for the e-mail)