THE THANKSGIVING OF THE WAZIR

Short story from “The Olive Fairy Book” Edited by Andrew Lang.

THE THANKSGIVING OF THE WAZIR

Once upon a time there lived in Hindustan two kings whose countries bordered upon each other; but, as they were rivals in wealth and power, and one was a Hindu rajah and the other a Mohammedan bâdshah, they were not good friends at all. In order, however, to escape continual quarrels, the rajah and the bâdshah had drawn up an agreement, stamped and signed, declaring that if any of their subjects, from the least to the greatest, crossed the boundary between the two kingdoms, he might be seized and punished.

One morning the bâdshah and his chief wazir, or prime minister, were just about to begin their morning’s work over the affairs of the kingdom, and the bâdshah had taken up a pen and was cutting it to his liking with a sharp knife, when the knife slipped and cut off the tip of his finger.

‘Oh-he, wazir!’ cried the king, ‘I’ve cut the tip of my finger off!’

‘That is good hearing!’ said the wazir in answer.

‘Insolent one,’ exclaimed the king. ‘Do you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, and in mine also? Take him away, my guards, and put him in the court prison until I have time to punish him as he deserves!’

Instantly the officers in attendance seized upon the luckless wazir, and dragged him out of the king’s presence towards the narrow doorway, through which unhappy criminals were wont to be led to prison or execution. As the door opened to receive him, the wazir muttered something into his great white beard which the soldiers could not hear.

‘What said the rascal?’ shouted the angry king.

He says, ‘he thanks your majesty,’ replied one of the gaolers. And at his words, the king stared at the closing door, in anger and amazement.

‘He must be mad,’ he cried, ‘for he is grateful, not only for the misfortunes of others, but for his own; surely something has turned his head!’

Now the king was very fond of his old wazir, and although the court physician came and bound up his injured finger with cool and healing ointment, and soothed the pain, he could not soothe the soreness of the king’s heart, nor could any of all his ministers and courtiers, who found his majesty very cross all the day long.

Early next morning the king ordered his horse and declared that he would go hunting. Instantly all was bustle and preparation in stable and hall, and by the time he was ready a score of ministers and huntsmen stood ready to mount and accompany him; but to their astonishment the king would have none of them. Indeed, he glared at them so fiercely that they were glad to leave him. So away and away he wandered, over field and through forest, so moody and thoughtful that many a fat buck and gaudy pheasant escaped without notice, and so careless was he whither he was going that he strayed without perceiving it over into the rajah’s territory, and only discovered the fact when, suddenly, men stepped from all sides out of a thicket, and there was nothing left but surrender. Then the poor bâdshah was seized and bound and taken to the rajah’s prison, thinking most of the time of his wazir, who was suffering a similar fate, and wishing that, like the wazir, he could feel that there was something to give thanks for.

That night the rajah held a special council to consider what should be done to his rival who had thus given himself into his hands. All the Brahmans were sent for—fat priests who understood all about everything, and what days were lucky and what unlucky—and, whilst all the rest of the rajah’s councillors were offering him different advice until he was nearly crazy with anger and indecision, the chief Brahman was squatting in a corner figuring out sums and signs to himself with an admiring group of lesser priests around him. At last he arose, and advanced towards the throne.

‘Well,’ said the rajah anxiously, ‘what have you to advise?’

‘A very unlucky day!’ exclaimed the chief Brahman. ‘Oh, a very unlucky day! The god Devi is full of wrath, and commands that to-morrow you must chop off this bâdshah’s head and offer it in to him in sacrifice.’

‘Ah, well,’ said the rajah, ‘let it be done. I leave it to you to carry out the sentence.’ And he bowed to the priests and left the room.

Before dawn great preparations were being made for a grand festival in honour of the great idol Devi. Hundreds of banners waved, hundreds of drummers drummed, hundreds of singers chanted chants, hundreds of priests, well washed and anointed, performed their sacred rites, whilst the rajah sat, nervous and ill at ease, amongst hundreds of courtiers and servants, wishing it were all well over. At last the time came for the sacrifice to be offered, and the poor bâdshah was led out bound, to have his head chopped off.

The chief Brahman came along with a smile on his face, and a big sword in his hand, when, suddenly, he noticed that the bâdshah’s finger was tied up in a bit of rag. Instantly he dropped the sword, and, with his eyes starting out of his head with excitement, pounced upon the rag and tore it off, and there he saw that the tip of his victim’s finger was missing. At this he got very red and angry indeed, and he led the bâdshah up to where the rajah sat wondering.

‘Behold! O rajah,’ he said, ‘this sacrifice is useless, the tip of his finger is gone! A sacrifice is no sacrifice unless it is complete.’ And he began to weep with rage and mortification.

But of instead of wailing likewise, the rajah gave a sigh of relief, and answered: ‘Well, that settles the matter. If it had been anyone else I should not have minded; but, somehow—a king and all—well, it doesn’t seem quite right to sacrifice a king.’ And with that he jumped up and with his jewelled dagger cut the bâdshah’s cords, and marched with him out of the temple back to the palace.

After having bathed and refreshed his guest, the rajah loaded him with gifts, and himself accompanied him with a large escort as far as the frontier between their kingdoms, where, amidst salutes and great rejoicings, they tore up the old agreement and drew up another in which each king promised welcome and safe conduct to any of the other’s people, from the least to the greatest, who came over the border on any errand whatever. And so they embraced, and each went his own way.

When the bâdshah got home that very evening he sent for his imprisoned wazir.

‘Well, O wazir!’ he said, when the old man had been brought before him, ‘what think you has been happening to me?’

‘How can a man in prison know what is happening outside it?’ answered the wazir.

Then the bâdshah told him all his adventures. And when he had reached the end he added:

‘I have made up my mind, as a token of gratitude for my escape, to pardon you freely, if you will tell me why you gave thanks when I cut off the tip of my finger.’

‘Sire,’ replied the old wazir, ‘am I not right in thinking that it was a very lucky thing for you that you did cut off the tip of your finger, for otherwise you would certainly have lost your head. And to lose a scrap of one’s finger is surely the least of the two evils.’

‘Very true,’ answered the king, touching his head as he spoke, as if to make quite certain that it was still there, ‘but yet—why did you likewise give thanks when I put you into prison?’

‘I gave thanks,’ said the wazir, ‘because it is good always to give thanks. And had I known that my being in prison was to prevent the god Devi claiming me instead of your majesty, as a perfect offering, I should have given greater thanks still.’

(Punjâbi story.)

 

 

Aesop’s – “The Wind and the Sun”

Sorry for the delay. It’s been so hot, I lost track of what day it is. But I really shouldn’t complain after the winter we’ve had.

Aesop’s: The Wind and the Sun

The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

Kindness effects more than severity.

 

Aesop’s – The Ant and The Grasshopper

I think this story is the one that most people recognize from all of Aesop’s fable. I read it recently and I felt I should share

The Ant and The Grasshopper

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

 

Changes and Inspiration

2014 is still new. I think whenever New Year comes; people do a lot more reviewing and planning. As we all know reviewing and planning is the easy part. It’s taking the steps to actually do the plans that trips most of us. I think one of the best things to do when starting something new or making changes is to write down the main reason for it. So when you are having a tough time, you can look back for a reminder. Also, let yourself take as many steps as you need until you get use to it. We are truly only fighting ourselves.

Here is a great fable from Aesop that best fit this thought. Thank you for your time.

The Fox and the Lion

When first the Fox saw the Lion he was terribly frightened, and ran away and hid himself in the wood. Next time however he came near the King of Beasts he stopped at a safe distance and watched him pass by. The third time they came near one another the Fox went straight up to the Lion and passed the time of day with him, asking him how his family were, and when he should have the pleasure of seeing him again; then turning his tail, he parted from the Lion without much ceremony.

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Aesop and Upnext

When I thought of my two (mouse and lion) poems, I thought of Aesop’s “The Lion and The Mouse” Fables. So I thought I post it here and I know you could google it. However, I thought I make it a little simple for you.

I have a strong connection to ancient culture and of any stories that have made it over a great amount of time. I love the fact that many of these stories started out as storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading and writing but  I think we are missing out on great storytellers (or how wonderful the few we have). Storytelling is a work of art that takes the right place, time, mood, and tone. Stories that are said have a lasting impression on my memory. Including ones from special family, friends and the odd stranger you bumped into.

Okay, back to reality and before I ramble on too much. Next week, I will post an original poem. I haven’t decided which one yet, I will update you within the middle of the week about that. But I hope everyone had a great last week and you’ll hear from me soon.

The Lion and the Mouse by Aesop*

Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him, and opened his big jaws to swallow him. “Pardon, O King,” cried the little Mouse: “forgive me this time, I shall never forget it: who knows but what I may be able to do you a turn some of these days?” The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go. Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a waggon to carry him on. Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. “Was I not right?” said the little Mouse.

Little friends may prove great friends.

*From my understanding, All of Aesop work are in the public domain and therefore be shared without permission. No copyright infringement intended.