Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Cowboy and The King

The king was running after a deer on horseback. He must hunt it down. All day long he had tried but he could not hunt a single animal. His companions asked him not to go because the evening was dark. But he was determined. But in the dark, he finally lost his way and the deer hid itself in the forest. The king ran restlessly but he could not find it. To add to his worries, he could not even find his way or his companions. He shouted but in return only the unknown animals mocked his voice. He rode and rode till it was night. He was dead tired when he finally saw a valley. He raced towards it. Oh dear God, there is a hut there and light is coming out from inside it. The king called for his last few drops of energy and reached the hut. Stumbling, he reached the door, knocked on it and fainted.

The hut belonged to a poor man. He opened the door. He saw a man, in lovely and costly but dirty clothes, lying on his doorstep. He carried him inside, placed him on his bed, washed his face and made him comfortable. Then he realised the stranger must be hungry. He added extra potatoes and rice in the boiling pot.

The king resumed consciousness a few hours later. Where on earth am I? He wondered. Slowly his memory came back to him. He moved and saw his costly clothes on him, his rings, jewels and precious stones on his body all there. He was lying on a cot. Then he saw the man who recovered him. He sat up and the man smiled to him.

It was a small hut with only 1 door and two windows. The boiling pot was still warm and the smell of rice made the king hungry. Why can't my royal chefs prepare this? He thought. On an earth plate, rice and boiled potatoes was given to them. He ate them and felt he was eating the tastiest food he ever ate. Full, he drank no sorbet but cold water from the well nearby and fell asleep.

When he woke up next morning, he felt so ashamed. Forget thanking, he didn’t even ask the name of the man who did so much for him. Giving him the only cot, that man was sleeping on the bare floor. As soon as he sat up on the cot, that man woke up hurriedly and smiled to him.

The king embraced him like a friend and said, if I thank you it will only belittle your kindness on me. I am sorry I didn’t thank you last night. You came like an angel to me.The man, who was wearing a very poor clothing, became visibly embarrassed. “My king, I am only a cowboy and your subject. What I did was my duty to my king. I wish I could offer you better food and better place but this is all I have.”

The king hugged him once more and said, “your days of poverty ends now my brother. From now on, you shall be stay in my court and be my right hand.”

The cowboy didn’t know how to reject this offer. He agreed and together they left for the capital. When they reached the palace, the king allocated him a big room there, royal tailors sewed for him most magnificent gowns and the maids bathed him perfumed rosewater. He started living a new life.

Time passed on. The king became so fond of the cowboy. The king started taking his advice in every issue, ignoring his old advisers. The cowboy helped the king always and always stayed grateful. He was appointed the chief judge of the city because nobody could match the wisdom he had nor the unbiased judgements he passed. Everywhere people started talking of the new judge. The king used to take the cowboy everywhere with him, be it the sporting event of visiting the neighbouring state. After making him the chief judge, the king appointed him as the chief treasurer next because he knew the cowboy is so honest that not even one guinea he will take from the treasure. The cowboy, as usual, thanked the king for his trust on him and started taking care of the royal treasure. The king started loving him so much that he announced that the princess were to marry him when she finishes her education.

The other courtmen became jealous of the cowboy. They were of noble birth, they had education from the best university and they used to be the important members of the court before this new cowboy replaced them in the king's heart. Boiling with revenge, they started a conspiracy. Somehow they need to get this cowboy out of the king's heart. They started monitoring the activities of the cowboy.

Time passed and soon these enraged courtmen noticed something strange. Every night, when everybody fall asleep, the cowboy leaves the palace secretly using the back-door and early dawn before anybody wake up, he returns to the palace. The noble courtmen followed the cowboy one night and saw, he reached the valley where he used to live and entered his hut. Then he closed the door and stayed there till dawn. From there, at dawn, he emerged and rode to the palace. They followed him for many nights and saw the same thing every night. This new cowboy must be up to something devilish and the king will throw him out and probably punish him if the king comes to know about it. They didn’t delay in reporting to the king what they have seen.

The king, at first, dismissed the report. The courtmen they swore and promised and took oaths that they were not lying. With great reluctance, the king agreed to check it himself that night. The courtmen were happy.

The night came. Like other nights, the cowboy presented the report to the king and thanked him for his kindness and trust. Th eking said nothing in return. The king started watching the cowboy's room in silence when everybody fell asleep. Incredibly, after a few minutes, the cowboy emerged from the room and went to the royal stable. There he chose his horse and rode it. The king started following in his horse along with the courtmen. Following him, they reached the valley. Then near the hut, the cowboy climbed down and entered his hut. The king was watching from behind a tree. The courtmen said, “see my king, we were right. He does this every night. What is he doing? We think he is stealing from the royal treasure and bringing those to his hut. You should check it, O great king of us”

The king was boiling in anger. Why did the cowboy not tell him anything, the cowboy whom he trusted so much and whom he wanted to make his son-in-law and the future king? He took out his sword from the belt and ran to the hut and banged on it with all his might.

There was silence and it made him even more angry. As soon he was to bang again, the door opened. The cowboy was standing in front of him. The cowboy's eyes expressed that he was stunned to see the king there. The king, panting in anger and with a naked sword in his hands, noticed that the cowboy was wearing the same old and poor clothes he first saw him in.

What is going on? The king shouted. Why are you here? Why do you come here? Why every night? Why are you wearing these clothes?

The cowboy looked down. He paused for a long moment and took a deep breath in. Then he looked at the king and said, “I am sorry I couldn’t tell you this earlier because I didn’t know how to explain this to you. I was a cowboy when I met you. With your kindness, today I am the chief judge and the chief treasurer of this state. I spend the day in the palace and live the life which you gave me. At night, I return to my original self which was true me. Today you are kind enough on me but tomorrow you might not like me. God gives us better life only to test whether we forget the root and become arrogant or not. I return here every night, wear these clothes and live this life to remind me of my root. Like a tree can not stand if its root is cut, no man can have a life if he denies his roots.”

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