The Story Of Lost Gold, Wild-Cucumber And A Wise King – For Children

Part 1

He was a marginal farmer tilling a small piece of land, never getting enough for living off it. One day he decided enough was enough, he must try something else. So he set out on the road to the capital city of the kingdom.  

In the city he picked up the job of a helper with an old grocer. Over the years he impressed the owner with his hard work, honesty and helpful disposition. So much so, the childless grocer was happy to will the shop to him on his death.

Before long he took over as the shop, expanded his business and made more money.

With the money he had, he would buy gold. He thought it was unsafe to keep the gold at home. From time to time he would go to a near-by forest. Ensuring no one followed him or watched him, he would go to a certain spot amidst the trees, dig up a pot. He would carefully check if the contents were intact and then top it with the newly brought gold, put the pot back in its place and cover it with earth and dried leaves above so well no one would ever give the spot a second look.

He followed the practice for years without any hitch adding more pots over time.

And then

On one of his visits, the unexpected happenedhe found the ground disturbed at that spot. Frantically he dug up; and as he had feared there were no pots and no gold.

At one shot he had lost all his life’s earnings. And there was little he could do. He was absolutely positive no one ever followed him to this place or watched him dig up. It left him with no suspects to chase down.

He sank to the depths of despair. The only course now available to him, he thought, was to end his life.

He went up to the near-by river, waded to its deeper parts and then jumped head-long into its waters, looking neither to the right nor to the left.

It so happened the king of the land was also taking his bath at the same place. He observed what had happened and signalled his men to rescue the man immediately and bring him up.

The king asked him why did he want to end his life.

The man between his sobs narrated the story to the king.

The king was pensive for a while and then asked him how did he mark the place where the pots were hidden.

He said a lone wild-cucumber plant grew on the soil over the pots – he always dug out the pots taking care the plant was not harmed. He added the plant also went missing along with the gold.

A hint of a smile appeared on the king’s face. He assured the grocer he would try his utmost to recover his lost gold. If he did not succeed in his efforts, he would give him some gold from his treasury!

The king’s assurance did not do much to lift up his spirits. How in the world was the king going to find out who took the gold? There were no clues at all. Did the king have some magic mirror that revealed whereabouts of missing things? What would it amount to – the gold to be given by the king, if he did? Would it cover all that he had lost?

He returned home feeling not too sanguine about what was in store for him.

Kids, pause here before you read further. Would you believe if I tell you, all the facts are with you at this point to crack the case open! So think…what would be your tip to the king?

Part 2

Next day, the king complained to his minister about a certain vague tummy ache he felt. And asked him to get all the medical practioners (doctors) in the city to meet up with him. He would like to personally verify if they had treated anyone with symptoms like his.

The doctors were quickly rounded up and sent one by one to meet the king.

To each, the king would ask about the patients they had treated recently, what were their ailments and what were the medicines given as part of the treatment.

After several hours with numerous doctors, the king finally hit pay dirt. This doctor had a patient recently suffering from stomach related problems accompanied by general weakness, just like the king claimed to be going through. And how did he treat him? With the juice made from wild-cucumber, a vine/weed rarely seen in the land. So how did he get it? Well, his servant brought it for him from somewhere.

The servant was summoned. Upon questioning, he admitted to finding pots of gold in the forest. He defended himself – he did not think he was thieving someone else’s gold. It was not in anyone’s possession. He just found it and he took it.

He was persuaded to return the gold to its rightful owner. And was compensated adequately by the king.

Everyone was impressed with the king’s smart sleuthing.

What made the king follow this line of investigation, the minister asked him privately.

The king explained: Since the victim was very confident no one had ever seen him go to the spot or watched him dig, it was clear finder of the gold had not gone to the spot specifically in search for gold. He had no way of knowing gold being hidden there. So the only reason that brought him to the spot was the wild-cucumber plant. The plant is often used by medical practioners to treat stomach related ailments. While fetching the plant, by sheer chance the servant discovered the pots! And you know how he found the servant!

The grocer gave part of the gold to the king’s treasury and some to the servant as a gesture of appreciation.

Did you see it coming?

End

Source: Adapted from a story in Chandamama (July, 1955)

Images: Daily Mail, Toutube, Free Press Journal, facebook and eBay

A Story And A Fun Game For Children…

and for us too, I think.

Next in the series (the first one here): The scene, not very unusual, put to a group of children was:

“The lady of the house set on the table a bowl of freshly baked cookies.

And when she was not around, Chotu, all of eight years, got to it and picked one that was the largest. Bade, elder by a couple of years, instructed by his mom to keep a watch – use of any force or raising one’s voice disallowed, took his job seriously.  Trying his best (or worst?) to persuade Chotu to put it down, at the same time removing the remaining cookies to safety, he said, “Chotu

The children were given time to develop the story from here on.

At the end of the allotted time, they were called in turn to present their conclusion. Here’s a selection from the many stories presented:

**

“Chotu, you took that one from the bottom of the heap, right? That was the first one Amma was figuring out the settings for baking them right. See, she even made them smaller for them to come out alright. Am sure this oneit would be faintly smelling of the dough and taste a little raw in the mouth

**

“Chotu, you took that one from the top of the heap, right? That was the last one – Amma scraped hard all the dough sticking to the bottom and also from the sides of the mixing bowl, lumped them together and baked as one large piece. You will find it a little flaky, crumbling in your hand and tasting a little uneven in your mouthAnd who knows what else got into it from the bowl, ugh”

**

“Chotu, what are you doing? What will mom do then? That piece was specially done by mom for your teacher. I even saw her sending a pic of it to her. You know, she has invited your teacher for a cup of tea here at our place and she’s on her way.”

**

“Chotu, you shouldn’t. That was from the batch she cooked specially for Bruno. Don’t know how it got mixed up with this pile.”

**

Not known if Chotu succeeded!

End

Source: 123rf.com

A Story And A Fun Game For Children…

and for us too I think.

A group of children were given an exercise. A scene, not very unusual, was put to them. And they were asked to take the story forward.

The scene: A house-owner hears noise coming from the back of his house. When he opens a creaky door and walks to the spot, he finds a girl standing under the mango tree frantically signalling to her friend atop to come down quickly. On the ground there were here and there a few half-eaten ripe mangoes taken from the tree.  The man, tall and hefty, looks menacingly at the boy trapped visibly up in the tree at a height too risky to jump down and flee.

After a while they were called in turn to present their conclusion. Here’s a selection from the many stories presented:

**

The boy on the tree said to the owner: Sir, we were not stealing your mangoes. See, we aren’t carrying any in our hands or bags. You know between us we had argument before coming here on who is the biggest land-owner around here. I was saying it was you. And I knew I was right. My friend here was not agreeing to it. I decided there was a way to convince her. I climbed up this tree and was showing her how far the lands owned by you stretched on all sides – like the palm tree seen there in the distance stands on the eastern corner of your property and so on. That’s when you came here. If you allow me, I’ll show her the rest.

**

The trapped boy gathered his wits quickly and said to the owner standing below: Dear Sir, we were passing by your yard talking among ourselves about an upcoming outing on Sunday. That’s when heard a racketmade by a bunch of squirrels feasting on the mangoes.  And if the fruit they bit into was a little less than ripe, it was discarded and they moved on to try another. Look at all these fruits half-eaten lying on the ground – it’s all their doing. We could not bear to see those luscious fruits so dear to you being ruined by these pests. So I said to het I would climb up the tree and drive them off. And that I did and as I was coming down, you came here, Sir. We were anyway planning to come in to tell you about all this. Surely you, a large-hearted person, wouldn’t be sending us back empty handed?

**

The boy said to the owner: Sir, we’ve no idea why you look upset. We were passing by minding our business when your man standing over there called us in. He said his master would pay if we could pick off the tree a bag full of mangoes, waving a cloth bag at us. We accepted the assignment. I went up, plucked the fruits one by one and dropped them down for him to catch and put away in his bag.  When the bag was full, he signalled me to stop. Taking the bag, he went this way promising to be back in a jiffy with our payment.  I was climbing down when you came inwe were expecting your man with the money as promised. Don’t know who you are. If you’re the owner, kindly pay us what you owe and we’ll be gone before you turn your back. You wouldn’t gyp a couple of kids of their legit earnings, would you?

**

Interesting?

End

Source: Based on a short piece read in Dhina Thandhi, a Tamizh daily, several years ago. Image from Elango Velur Thiruturaipoondi Tiruvarurஇயற்கை மற்றும் பசுமை and artstation.com

Scare Me, This Time, In About Two Sentences!

.

“Wait. Was it you who ordered the pineapple pizza?” asked the delivery guy with the last remaining box in hand [Sheeley].

**

You are watching a horror movie with your friend at night. Don’t know why is he calling you on the phone? [Kuntal]

Limited data plan. Downloading failed at 97%.

Studied hard for physics exam. First word in the question paper rhymes with mystery.

**

My dog has only barked 3 times ever since he was a pup, and somebody nearby at the time would die within hours. Could himself be the one dying if he is barking right now, and I’m the only one to hear it? [Lam]

**

The US President prepared to address his nation from the safety of the nuclear bunker [Ahmad]. .

**

My dog growls at the bottom of the stairs every time the lights flicker. Today it was growling at me [Chin].

**

Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying – Arthur C. Clarke [Strain].

**

12:00 Midnight ———— The Stories Get ‘Dark’ ————-

My wife was scared of drowning…so I shot her in the head before our ship sunk [Ahmad].

**

They said what you eat is what you become, I always wanted to become like her [Farswan].

**

You walked away from the scene of a car accident, someone stopped you: hey! One of your hands is still in the car! [Nikol]

**

If I knew it’d be this lonely, I would’ve been cremated [Bal].

**

Personal Favorites/Experiences

‘Sorry, Sir, the warranty expired last month – you’ll have to….’

Health Bulletin: We regret to announce….

‘Sir, this flight left yesterday….’

‘Hey, you’ve quoted to the customer last month’s prices.’

‘Didn’t you read the last line? It clearly says…’

‘You’re standing in the wrong queue, Sir.’

‘Election card won’t do, need Aadhar card.’

End

Sourec: quora.com and The Atlantic

More Tiny Tales (Drabbles)

drabble  (Wiki) is a short work of fiction of precisely one hundred words in length. The purpose of the drabble is brevity, testing the author’s ability to express interesting and meaningful ideas in a confined space.

**

Darkness

By G. Allen Willbanks from The Drabble:

“Why are you afraid of the dark? Darkness is the natural state of everything. It’s the light that’s unnatural. When God said, ‘Let there be light,’ he was imposing an artificial reality on a universe that had previously only know known total darkness and emptiness, and every force in nature is currently trying to drive us back to that original point of neutrality. Everything around us is temporary, and at some point in the future we will all return to that initial state of nothingness. It’s inevitable.”

“Maybe,” his wife admitted. “But, I still want you to replace the light-bulb.”

           
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and has published over 60 short stories in Deep Magic, Daily Science Fiction, The Talisman, and other venues. He has published two story collections, and the novel, When Darkness Comes.

**

Tucked In (98)


By Will Gilmer from The Drabble:

“Irrational fear is a luxury,” Youssef thought as workers at the refugee orphanage checked under beds and rummaged through the closets of the other children. Each received a smile and a thumbs up signaling that their area was free of ghouls and goblins.

Back home Youssef’s nightmares never had time for make-believe. The realities of famine and war didn’t leave room for Bogeymen.

“Any monsters hiding under your bed Youssef?”

Youssef shook his head and pointed to the window. The confused worker craned her head to the stars, never guessing that when Youssef dreamed, he dreamed of drones.

         
William Gilmer is a writer and poet living in Michigan where Fall never lasts long enough.

**

Going Home (70)

By Traci Mullins from The Drabble:

Dottie wheeled her small pink suitcase to the double doors and waited.

A smiling woman approached and asked where she was going.

“Home,” Dottie answered.

“I think you’re early for the bus,” the nice woman said. “I’ll show you where you can sit comfortably until it gets here.”

Dottie thanked her and followed her down the hallway, back to her room at Sunset Memory Care, as she did every morning.

“I once heard that a tiny story is like a work of art on a grain of rice. I’m enticed by the challenge to give readers a meaningful experience in a tiny package.” – the author.

**

A Woman’s Will

By S. H. Cheatham from 101 Words:

“No!” She tossed her blonde hair and marched angrily away, the clop clopof heels on wood telegraphing her fury.

You’d think I’d asked her to torture puppies or renounce chocolate forever, when I had simply suggested—very kindly—that she change into something slightly less revealing for dinner with my boss and her husband. And perhaps remove a bit of the lipstick and eye shadow she must have applied with a spackling trowel.

“Honey,” I said, tapping tentatively. The response was a thunk as an unknown object (shoe? hairbrush?) struck the bedroom door.

Such is life when mothering a three-year-old!

**

End

Some Tiny Tales

End

A City Of Two Tales

People are so full of stories, anecdotes, and experiences, personal or otherwise.

I collected a couple of them new in this stay at Chennai over the last few weeks. Both, in local context.

The first one was narrated by K with whom we travelled to Tiruppathi, a gentleman of deep knowledge and wide experience – it’s unfortunate I had not known him earlier and enough to tap into his vast repository of anecdotes.

A practicing professional in Accountancy and Finance, K heard this one from a respectable Muslim business client of his years ago when it had happened:

On one occasion, a general of high rank in the Indian Army was socially calling on this client, his friend. As a matter of routine, hours before the visit, an inspection team came in and turned the house upside down and went away satisfied.

When the general finally arrived, he was warmly greeted by his friend, taken into the house. And they settled down for their friendly banter. In course of which the host registered a mock complaint:

‘Do you know what your men did to my house?’

The general profusely apologized for discommoding the host and said it was part of a standard procedure that could not be waived.

A smile appeared on the face of the host. He led the general to one of the bedrooms. And quietly lifted the mattress up a few inches to reveal a gun that looked good for its business!

(It is not known if any heads rolled subsequently. May be that’s how/why the Pulwama attack on CRPF succeeded and many other incidents before? Wonder laxity if any never got talked about)

Later the two friends sat down for dinner. The general went gaga over the biriyani that was served:

 ‘Hey, tell me, did you steal the chef from Shadab or Paradise…’

The host called out: ’The general loves your biriyani, won’t you come out and show your face for a moment, Narayana?’

**

This is from N whom I called on a couple of days ago, residing in Besant Nagar near the Marina Beach.

One night, he was taking a stroll on the beach with not many around at that hour.

Suddenly he was accosted by a man obviously gone a little far for his good.

Nevertheless, he held himself up steady for a brief moment to tell N:

Brother – kinship gets easily established – this Modi (the Prime Minister)he’s a genius, mind you. See how all these guys with all their ill-gotten stash got screwed overnight thru demonetization? That’s not enough, my friendtake this from me to Modihe must fix an expiry date on all currency like an year, two or even five…then see what happensno more hoarding, saving and all that…the money would have to be spent soon after it’s made…will do a lot of good to all around, think about it.

Now at peace, his India-saving message delivered, he dissolved back into darkness of the night.

Something to think about?

End