A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: tree

Dharmabuddhi and Papabuddhi – A tale from the Panchatantra

This is a tale from the chapter Loss of friends (Mitra Bheda) of Panchatantra.

In a city in the north of India, there lived two young men, Dharmabuddhi and Papabuddhi who were friends. Both were doing business. Dharmabuddhi had good business skills. Papabuddhi decided to take advantage of that and make quick money.

One day, in a very friendly manner he spoke to Dharmabuddhi. “Dharma” he said. “You are very wise and have good business skills. Should we not go to far-off places and earn well while we are young? Once we are old, we need to have enough wealth to sustain ourselves as we may not be able to work so hard then”

Dharmabuddhi thought that it was a very sensible advice coming from his friend Papabuddhi and immediately agreed to it. “What you say is very true Papa” he said. “We will both go to far-off places and trade in the goods we deal in, earn enough money and come back in some months. Make arrangements for the travel.”

And so, off they went carrying their wares in a huge bullock cart. They visited places far and wide and made good money mainly due to Dharmabuddhi’s efforts. Papabuddhi’s contribution was lesser both in terms of stock and enterprise. But Dharmabuddhi, as his name suggests, was very magnanimous and so on the way back, thanked Papabuddhi for his excellent idea due to which they had earned a good amount of money. He further told him, “We will share whatever we have earned equally.”

Papabuddhi’s crooked mind was at work already. He pretended to agree with Dharmabuddhi. Then, he said, “Dharma, if the people in the city come to know that we have earned a lot of money, there may be people who will trouble us for loans. So, I suggest that we find a spot in the woods, before we reach our village and bury the major portion of the money there and we will come later and take it”

 Dharmabuddhi agreed with the idea and accordingly, and when they were nearing the village found a spot in the dense woods and dug a deep pit, counted and put the coins earned in two bags distributing them equally, keeping very less money with them.

Days passed and one day, Papabuddhi cunningly went to the woods and dug the place and took both the money bags to his house. In the evening, he went to Dharmabuddhi’s house on a usual friendly visit and invited him to come with him to the woods the next day as he needed some money.

 The next day when both of them went to the spot and dug the pit there was nothing to be found as Papabuddhi had already taken away all the money.

 Papabuddhi started yelling at Dharmabuddhi. “How dare you steal my bag of money huh? Do you not have any shame? Or one bit of gratitude that it was because of me that you were able to earn so much money? Where have you hidden my money? Give it to me right now!”

Dharmabuddhi was shell-shocked, not able to correlate anything that Papabuddhi was speaking. “Calm down, calm down my friend Papa. I am not able to understand how the bags disappeared” said he.

“Don’t pretend not to know anything Dharma!” said Papabuddhi. “You have gone before me and stolen my money too. Since only you and I know this matter and also the place where we buried the money, no one else could have stolen the money. Come on, tell me where the money is else we may have to call for a Panchayat” he said angrily. (Panchayat was the body consisting of the elders of the village and whenever there was a dispute it was presented before the Panchayat and their judgement and punishment was accepted by all parties concerned).

Dharmabuddhi was really in a state of utter disbelief. All the money gone? And stolen by him? What had happened? He was not able to figure out anything.

Papabuddhi would not let him think and went on ranting. “You are a thief. I believed you and spent my money and effort and this is what I get in return! Give me back my money bag or let’s go to the Panchayat”.

Dharmabuddhi did not know what to do but Papabuddhi insisted that he wanted this to be taken to the Panchayat and Dharmabuddhi was forced to agree.

Accordingly the Panchayat assembled under the huge Peepul tree in the village as was the usual custom and both Papabuddhi and Dharmabuddhi were asked to narrate their side of the dispute. Papabuddhi repeatedly accused Dharmabuddhi of stealing the money and Dharmabuddhi repeatedly pleaded ignorance.

The elders in the Panchayat were in a fix. They asked Papabuddhi, “Was there any evidence when the money was buried?” Papabuddhi immediately said, “Yes the there was a big tree with a hollow very near to the pit we dug and the Tree God would surely know the truth. So let’s go to the woods tomorrow and ask the Tree God” said he. The elders had to agree as this seemed the only way to find the truth.

The same day, Papabuddhi told his father of what had happened. He said, “If you want your son not to be punished, you will have to sit inside the hollow and reply when the elders ask questions. I shall take you early in the morning and help hide you in the hollow of the tree”.

The father, instead of condemning the wrong done by his son Papabuddhi, wilfully agreed to sit inside the hollow and pretend to be the Tree God. So, off they went early next morning before sunrise, so that no one would see them and Papabuddhi helped his father hide inside the hollow of the tree near the pit.

As the day dawned all the elders of the Panchayat and Dharmabuddhi assembled near the tree where the pit was said to have been dug and money hid and stolen. True. The tree had a very broad trunk and also had a huge hollow.

Papabuddhi explained to the elders about where they dug the pit and buried the money which had disappeared for which Dharmabuddhi was the suspect. He pointed to the tree and told the elders to ask the Tree God. The elders went nearer to the tree and the oldest member folded his hands and addressed the Tree God. “Oh Tree God!” said he. “Please tell us who came and took the money from this pit in front of you. Please O’ Tree God! Please guide us.”

There was silence for a while and then, an elderly voice sounded from the tree.

“It was Dharmabuddhi” said the voice. “He came and took all the money and I am the witness to that!”

The members of the Panchayat were shocked as every one of them had a high opinion about Dharmabuddhi and what the Tree God said was in stark contrast. They were all expressing their shock and talking vociferously to each other. They were so busy that they did not notice what Dharmabuddhi was doing.

Dharmabuddhi had collected lot of dry twigs and leaves and arranged it around the trunk of the tree and before anyone could notice, he set fire to it.

Just as the fire began to burn brightly, it caught the attention of the elders and they all looked with horror as the “Tree God” started yelling. And as they looked on, a figure jumped out of the hollow. “Ouch!” he cried as he stepped on a burning twig and went around hopping on one leg. His dhoti caught fire and then he was recognized by the people there and he collapsed.

“Hey that is Papabuddhi’s father!” exclaimed one.

“Yes, it is him. How come?” asked another.

They all guessed what could have happened and one of them rushed and caught hold of Papabuddhi and raised his hand to slap him.

“I am sorry, I am sorry! Please do not beat me!” cried Papabuddhi. “It was I who stole the money. It was I who told my father to hide in the hollow!”

All the others surrounded Papabuddhi as he confessed to his crime. The elders decided the harshest punishment for Papabuddhi and Dharmabuddhi’s money was rightfully restored to him.

Kumati and Sumati – A Folktale

kum and sum story

Long long ago, in a village in Northern India, there was an old lady by name Kumati. Kumati had a daughter-in-law by name Sumati.

Sumati was a very nice girl. She was very soft spoken, humble, courteous, well trained in all household work, caring and possessed all other attributes a mother-in-law would look for in a daughter-in-law. Now, Kumati was a tyrannical mother-in-law and would on no account be satisfied with anything Sumati did. She found fault with everything Sumati did, be it cooking, sweeping, tending to the cattle, or any job for that matter.
“Your parents have not trained you well” she would shout at times.

“Are your hands made of butter huh? Can you not scrub the vessels harder you dud?” she would yell.

“You have not come here to eat and sleep. Do all the work before you sit to eat”, she would rave at Sumati just as the girl sat to eat her meal which already would have been very cold.

Sumati was trained by her parents not to talk back at elders and also Sumati did not like quarrelling and so used to keep quiet when Kumati shouted at her. Sumati’s husband Ramu was afraid of his mother and would not open his mouth at all when she shouted. More often than not he would slip out from the house the moment she started shouting.

Sumati, though she would not talk back would hold back her tears and cry alone at night.

One day Kumati had to visit one of her relatives who was very ill.

“Sumati”, she ordered in her pompous tone, “Make ghiya sabzi (bottle gourd vegetable) and rotis for lunch and make only as much as is needed. Do not make more. There is no food to waste here hmm…. I am going to my aunt’s house with Ramu and I will come by one o’ clock”.

She went off and Sumati, after doing the other chores, started making lunch as her mother-in-law had ordered.
When Sumati was almost done there was a knock on the door. Sumati went and opened the door to see a sadhu (mendicant) looking tired and weary standing at the doorstep. He looked at Sumati and asked, “Daughter, may I have some water to drink? I am so thirsty” The sun was blazing outside.

Sumati, courteous as she was, immediately called the visitor in. “Sure, please come in Swami!” she said. “You look very tired. Please be seated”.

She went in and brought a jug of cold sweet smelling water. In those days people used to keep water in earthen pots covered with a wet cloth which kept the water cold. They also put certain herbs in the water which gave the water a very pleasant fragrance. The man seemed glad to be getting a jug of cold water and drank it eagerly.
Sumati was very happy and asked him, “Swami, it looks you are on some pilgrimage. Have you had anything to eat?”
The man looked hesitant and said, “Well…. I will eat on my way… I am on a pilgrimage and I left my village early in the morning”. Saying so, he got up to go.

“Wait Swamiji!” said Sumati. “You must be hungry and there are no proper chavadis for the next many miles. Please wash your hands and feet and sit down. Please eat lunch and go!” (Chavadis were free public guest houses for travellers. In those days, many villages had chavadis as people cared for poor travellers. Food was also available at the chavadi).

The sadhu was happy and sat down. Sumati served the portion of rotis and subzi meant for herself and gave him some thick buttermilk to drink. The man was very happy and blessed Sumati with all his heart. “May God bless you with all good things!” said he and left the house. Just as he was stepping out, guess who were coming? Kumati was coming with her son Ramu. Kumati’s eyes bulged with anger to see a mendicant leaving happily from their house.

Unfortunately, just as the man passed by Kumati, he let out a big burp. Kumati’s suspicions were coming true. The daughter-in-law had wantonly disobeyed her.

Kumati barged into the house and started yelling at Sumati. “How dare you disobey me, you impertinent dunce? I told you specifically that there is no food to waste and you are happily feeding who so ever comes? Did you think this house is a chavadi huh? Will you father give money for all that you are wasting?”

Saying so, she rushed at a bewildered Sumati, pulled her by the shoulder and stopped short of slapping her.
“Out you go!” She shoved her out of the house. “Go to your father’s place you dud. Go and waste your father’s money”.

Sumati fell down and Kumati slammed the door on her. Sumati was sobbing and got up. Fortunately she did not get hurt much. She was very sad at this treatment meted out to her by her mother-in-law but sadder that her husband had kept mum.

Not knowing what to do with herself, she decided to go to her father’s house. But her father’s village was quite far away and it would be late night when she reached. But there was a shorter route through the forest nearby. It was a bit scary, but Sumati thought she would reach by evening if she went through this route.

Wiping away the tears streaming down her cheeks and sobbing, she started to trudge along the forest path. She walked for about an hour when suddenly, cold breeze started to blow. There were dark clouds and there was the roar of thunder. It became very dark and big rain drops started falling plop… plop… and in a matter of minutes, the shower became heavy rain. With nothing to shelter herself from the rain, Sumati ran hither and thither to protect herself from the rain and suddenly, she saw a hollow on the trunk a big tree. Without a thought, she ran to it scrambled up and jumped into the hollow. Fortunately, it was not at a height.

Frightened and cold, she was shivering and huddled inside. The rain was pounding outside. Very tired, Sumati fell asleep.

Suddenly she was rudely awakened by the sound of screeching laughter, on the tree top. Holding her breath, she gingerly peeped outside. It was night and the rain had stopped. The crickets and frogs were singing. The sky was clear and moon was out. In the dim light, she saw two monstrous forms sitting on a branch. She could make out they were rakshasis (demonesses).

“Hee hee hee…” screeched one. “I want to go to Swarna Dweep (Gold Island) and enjoy. Come on, let’s go!” she said to the other.

The other one was not very enthusiastic. “I am very tired” said she. “Today I had to run a lot on the mountains to catch some sheep to eat. I am not coming”

“Don’t worry sis!” said the first one. “I will make the tree carry us. You don’t need to put in any effort! We will fly back on the tree tomorrow.”

“Fine” said the other. “Then come, let’s go”

Suddenly Sumati was shaken by a jerk that she fell down inside the hollow and before she could realise, she felt the tree shake and felt as if it was moving. Slowly, with difficulty she got up holding the sides of the hollow and peeped out and the tree was rising like an aeroplane!

Shocked and surprised, Sumati sank to a corner of the hollow praying fervently to god. The tree kept moving for many hours and suddenly she realised that it was dawn and the sun was coming up fast. The roar of the ocean was heard and she knew it must be some beach. Suddenly there was a bright reflection of what appeared like sand and the tree landed with a “THUD”.

“Come on let’s go…..” cackled one rakshasi and soon Sumati saw both of them running on the golden sand and after a while they disappeared. Sumati waited for some time but felt very sick, holed in the hollow for so long.

She slowly got out of the hollow carefully looking out for the rakshasis but they were nowhere to be seen.
She looked down and found the sand to be strangely bright. She picked up a little in her hand and WOW! It was gold. Surprised as she had never seen anything like that before, she hurriedly filled up the front portion of her pallu (loose end of the saree) with the gold sand as much as she could. She knotted the pallu carefully and looked around with awe at the sparkling sand and the roaring sea and there were no human beings around.

After a while she got into the hollow once again waiting for the rakshasis to come and fly back. It looked like ages and at last after nightfall, the rakshasis came back. They had no reason to suspect Sumati’s presence and the tree flew back as it had come. It landed in the same place in the woods from where it had been taken. Sumati waited for day break patiently. Just as it was dawning, she saw the two rakshasis flying in another direction. Then after the sun had come up and the forest was bright, Sumati slowly got out of the hollow and walked back home.

Her mother-in-law was outside quarrelling with some vegetable vendor. The moment she saw Sumati, her face became crimson with fury. “You fool, did I not tell you to get lost to your father’s place huh?” She yelled.

Sumati did not reply but quietly entered the house. Ramu was sitting there finishing his breakfast.
Kumati hurried behind her, raising her hand and yelling. Sumati suddenly turned around and quickly went to the door and slammed it shut.

“Shhhhh….” Said Sumati to her puzzled mother-in-law. “Speak softly, Amma! I’ve brought something for us. Nobody should know.”

Calming down a little, Kumati asked, “What is it? You must have brought some stale sweetmeat from your father’s house! Did I ask you to come back, you dud!!!”

Sumati said, “No Amma! It is not sweetmeat but gold!!” Saying so, she opened the knot of her pallu and the room was lit up with the brightness of the golden sand!

Kumati’s jaws fell open in surprise and she looked at Sumati unbelievingly. “Where did you get that all from?” she demanded running her hand through the pile of the golden sand.

Sumati told her story to her unbelieving mother-in-law and husband.

Kumati, though happy inside, did not want to show her appreciation of Sumati. Instead she asked her “Why did you bring so little you silly girl? Had I gone, I would have brought enough to last seven generations. Where is that tree? I will go with the rakshasis and show you how to do things smartly. If a dumb one like you can bring this much, let me show you how much a smart woman like me can bring. Come on, show me the tree. I want to go!”

Sumati protested. “This is enough for us Amma” she said. “This will last us for generations! Those rakshasis are dangerous, and it is very tiring to travel in the tree Amma. You are old also.”

The moment Sumati uttered the word “old”, Kumati was doubly furious.

“You are calling me old, you good for nothing goose? How dare you call me so? Will you show me the tree in the jungle or shall I pack you to your father’s place once again?”

Sumati knew it was futile to talk to her mother-in-law anymore.

“Ok Amma. I will take you to the tree in the afternoon”, she said.

“Afternoon? What afternoon?” shouted Kumati. “I am telling you I want to go NOW. Come on.”

Knowing that there was no other solution, Sumati took Kumati to the jungle to the tree, accompanied by Ramu.
As soon as Sumati pointed out to the tree, Kumati hastened and almost ran and climbed into the hollow with great difficulty, since she was plump unlike Sumati, who was slim.

“Do not make any noise Amma” said a concerned Sumati. She was worried that her mother-in-law’s loud mouth would cost her dearly. “And be careful to climb out of the hollow only after the rakshasis have gone very far okay?”

“I know, you stupid girl. You think you know everything huh? Remember that I am twice your age, now go home both of you, and do not forget to keep what you brought in the steel almirah and lock it” said Kumati.

Sumati and Ramu went home worrying for her safety.

Kumati waited impatiently till night peeping in and out of the hole every now and then. With her big figure, it was very uncomfortable inside but it was her doing and so she could not complain.

At last she heard a ‘swoosh’ sound and the tree jerked as the rakshasis sat on their favourite branch. Kumati was frightened at the sight of them but sat silently.

For a long time, they were talking and talking, with screeching laughter in between and Kumati was getting impatient. “When will they go to Swarna Dweep?” she wondered.

Suddenly she heard the word “Dweep” and sharpened her ears. The rakshasis were planning the trip.

“It’s a long time since I had Hilsa fish, I feel like having a feast of Hilsa now” said one rakshasi.

“Why not sis?” said the other. “We will go to ‘Matsya Dweep’ (fish island) now and have it. We can ride on the tree like yesterday” said the other.

Kumati was horrified. To fly all the way to pick fish! What would her son and Sumati think of her? She imagined her son Ramu and Sumati making fun of her when she returned and laughing aloud. She imagined the other villagers joining with them and laughing at Kumati.

The tree shook and took off. Kumati came back from her imagination but it was a bit too late. The tree had risen.
“Go to Swarna Dweep, go to Swarna Dweep!” Kumati yelled.

The shocked rakshasis looked down to see from where the sound was coming and were surprised to find a human being peering at them from the hollow.

“Who are you? And what business do you have to take shelter in our home?” roared one of them as she hung down from the branch upside down and brought her face near the hollow of the tree. The tree was flying at a slow pace.
A terrified Kumati started crying and put her hands on her eyes not able to face the gory rakshasi.

“Drop her down sis!” said the other rakshasi. “We will go as scheduled”.

“Yes! With pleasure!!” said the other and she jumped from the branch and held the tree like a rattle, turned it horizontally and shook it, shrieking loudly. The tree was passing Kumati’s house then.

Kumati fell down from the hollow and in few moments, she fell in the pond behind her house with a big ‘pachaak!’ Water splashed out of the pond. The pond was not so deep and it had clayey soil and so Kumati was not injured, but with great difficulty, she gathered herself and with clay and mud splashed on her she looked so comical.

Sumati was worried about her mother-in-law and could not sleep. Just as she heard the ‘pachaak’ sound at their backyard, she woke Ramu up.

“Husband, I heard a big sound at our back yard. Please wake up and see, please” she said. Ramu woke up groggily and with the help of a fire torch went to the back yard only to see a plump figure wet and smeared with clay pulling herself towards the house.

Sumati ran to her, opening the backyard gate. “Amma, what happened Amma? Are you okay? Did the rakshasis harm you Amma? Are you hurt anywhere?” she asked her and put her hand comfortingly on Kumati’s shoulder. Ramu was also shocked at her appearance and chided her for not listening to them.

Kumati was surprised that instead of making fun of her, they both were genuinely concerned about her. She realised her folly and also realised that her loud mouth had landed her in trouble.

She realised that “Silence is Golden”

From that day onwards, Kumati was completely a transformed woman and they lived happily ever after.

Blind Luck

This is a folk tale from the North of India.

Long long ago, there lived an old man near the city of Varanasi. His wife had died young and he had two sons. The elder one, Sonu, was blind at birth and the younger one Monu was a happy go lucky fellow hardly caring to educate himself or do any work.  Sonu, though blind had been bestowed with a rare power and that was to understand the language of the birds and animals. He would listen to their language and come to know of the happenings around him.

The old man had some wealth and so they were living peacefully. However, the man fell ill after some time and was lying in his death bed.

He called both his sons near him and said to Monu, “Monu, please do not leave the side of your elder brother ever. Even if you have to beg and eat, please take your brother with you and share the food. Please promise me this…” Monu kept his palm on his father’s palm and promised and the old man fell dead. After the rituals for the man had been performed, both the brothers sustained on the little wealth that had been saved by their father. After some time, the wealth was over and Monu started selling the assets one by one and finally sold the house also and spent the money.

Finally, they had to resort to begging. As his father had told him, he did not leave his blind brother and took him along wherever he went. The people of the city pitied the brothers in the beginning but slowly started to think that Monu being a healthy fellow could go for a job but had resorted to begging and they refused to give them food. Monu started feeling that his brother was a burden as he could not find food for himself and kept on thinking on why he should stick to the promise made by him to his father. So, one day, he decided that he would leave his blind brother in the forest. He told his brother that they were going for a walk and took him deep inside the forest and told him to stay there till he brought him fruits. He also bound one hand of his brother to a tree saying that since it was a new place, it would be difficult to locate him when he came back with fruits, if he went astray.

Sonu, being a simpleton, believed in what his brother said and waited under the tree, his one hand bound to the trunk of the tree. He kept on expecting his brother to come and he was feeling very hungry. Time passed but there was no sign of Monu. Slowly, it dawned on Sonu that his brother had betrayed him. He could sense that it was nearing evening. He could hear the shrill calls of the birds returning to their nests and could also hear the far off growls of the wild animals.

As he thought of his fate in the dark unknown forest, he was terrified. Further, he could not even run away because his hand was bound to the tree. After a few moments, he remembered that he had a small knife in his cummerbund. With the free hand, he pulled out the knife and cut off the ropes. Suddenly, he could hear the growls of the animals nearer and in sheer desperation, climbed up the tree to a safe height and sat on a branch.

As the sun set, many animals converged under the tree on which he was sitting. Amongst them were a lion, a cheetah and a bear. Though Sonu could not see them, being able to understand the language of the animals and birds, it was interesting for him to hear their conversation. Soon it was pitch dark.

“Hey cheetah!” said the lion, “Tell us some new secret you know!”

“Hmmm…… Well, do you know that this very tree under which we are standing is a magical tree?”

Sonu now pricked up his ears as the conversation continued.

The cheetah continued, “Do any one of you know that the pulp from the bark of this tree, if put into the eyes, can cure a blind man?” “Oh, is it?” asked the lion. Sonu, astonished at what he had heard just then, scratched the bark of the branch on which he was sitting with the knife he had and found that a pulpy substance oozed out. He applied the substance in his eyes and lo and behold! He could see even in the pitch dark of the night. He looked down to see a cheetah, a bear, a lion and various other animals and was amazed at his newfound sense.

The bear now spoke, “Hey, I know a secret too!” “What?” asked the others. “Did you know that the princess of this kingdom is always ill? And nobody knows why. But I know…” The animals looked amused as the bear continued. “There is a small black cat curled up underneath the princess’s bed and not even the princess or her maids or security guards know about it. The cat carries the evil spell of a witch. If the cat is removed from underneath her bed, the princess will be okay immediately. But the poor king not knowing this is asking doctors from all over the country to treat her…Ha ha ha…., now Lion, you tell us the secret you know”. Sonu listened with awe.

The Lion gave a growl and started his secret. “Hey buddies, do you know, there is a village by name Soonapur at the end of this forest and true to its name, the village has become very scarcely populated due to a strange happening there” Sonu and the animals listened with great interest. The lion continued, lowering his voice. Sonu had to strain to listen to what the lion was saying. “All the children in Soonapur die as soon as they are born and all the elders in the city are suffering from a strange illness for the past two months. Their spinal cords have become twisted all of a sudden and they are becoming hunchbacks. None of them know why this is happening and they are at a loss to know what to do to stop this happening.” The lion stopped and all the animals stared at him, expecting him to continue. The Lion continued, “There is an old Peepul tree near an abandoned temple in the village and there lives a black cobra in a hole in the tree. If anyone feeds milk to the cobra in a black pot early exactly at mid day, it will drink it and leave the tree. Then the spell of the village will be lifted”

Sonu had listened with total concentration and was extremely excited. Soon the voices were lowered and the animals slept under the tree. At day break, the animals got up and went their ways. Sonu enjoyed the brightness of the light which he was seeing for the first time in his life. He savoured the beauty of the forest, its trees, waterholes and all and slowly walked in some direction. Luckily he spotted the village Soonapur soon. He was surprised that what the lion had said was true. He enquired with the people about the tragedy and was pained to hear their story. He consoled them and promised that he would put an end to their tragedy by that evening. He got a black pot from one of the villagers and some milk and went in search of the abandoned temple. He found the tree and the hole before midday and placed the pot with milk in front and prayed with folded hands. After a while, a black cobra slid down from the hole and drank the milk and glided into the thick vegetation swiftly.

The next minute the people of Soonapur felt a tingle in their spines and were surprised to find their backs becoming straight. Sonu was returning from the temple, when all the people rushed out and showered him with lot of money and gifts. Sonu told them to wait until he went on another mission and promised that he would be back soon.

He walked on and on and by the night, reached the capital city. Though it was very late, he reached the palace and asked for an audience with the king. The gatekeepers refused but seeing his insistence, they went and reported the matter to the king. The king called and asked Sonu about his mission and Sonu claimed that he could cure the illness of the Princess. The King was furious as he thought Sonu was a joker and said, “Look here, I have tried the services of the best doctors in this country and it has been of no avail. If you have come here to play any kind of joke, beware! This sword of mine is very sharp and can chop your head in a second”. Sonu was least flustered by the king’s words. “Your Highness, said he, I am confident that your daughter will be up by tomorrow noon, and when I cure her, will you give what I want?

“Yes” said the king totally sure that the boy would be the prey to his sword the next day.

The next day, Sonu went to the chamber where the princess lay. The chamber was the highest room in the king’s fort and out of the window in the chamber; one could see the deep river gushing with fury miles and miles below. He asked all the security men and maids to leave and they all obeyed as it was the king’s order that Sonu should be given what he wanted, to cure the princess. Sonu went in and closed the doors. He opened the window and peered underneath the bed of the princess. The princess was in deep sleep. There was a tiny black cat curled up under the bed. In a moment, he picked it and flung it down into the river through the window.

After a while, the princess jumped up from bed. “Why was I sleeping so long? I am hungry” she said as Sonu opened the door to the curious onlookers which included the king. The princess ran up to the king and hugged him. “Papa, why did I sleep so long?” she asked in her sweet voice. The king saw that she was perfectly okay and was overwhelmed with joy. Even without Sonu asking for it, he offered the princess hand in wedding to him and overnight Sonu became a Prince, the son in law of the king.

He spent happy days and went back to Soonapur and met the people, who were very happy and showered him with gifts. As he was going back to the palace, he saw a beggar in tattered robes and the beggar was sobbing. Sonu recognised that it was Monu and went up to him and talked to him. Monu was extremely surprised at the blind luck which had befallen his brother. He was ashamed when Sonu was still affectionate to him even as he had ditched him in the jungle. He asked for forgiveness and Sonu, a good person he was forgave him readily and gave him money to start a new business and Monu turned a new leaf and they all lived happily ever after.


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