Story time: Six sons and a rat
One day a king sat outside his palace in a gloomy mood. The king saw a beggar passing by and he asked the beggar if he wanted some bread. He gratefully accepted it.
While giving the beggar a piece of his bread, the king said to him, “Pray for me so that I may have a large family, I have seven wives but I have no children.”
“Oh I see, my king,” said the beggar.
He suggested to the king to take a stone and throw it at the ‘Great Mango Tree’ in the forest.
“If mangoes fall from the tree, this means you will have sons, and if leaves fall, you will have daughters,” said the beggar.
“Is it possible?” said the king.
“Yes, my king; but remember the number of the mangoes or leaves which may fall will determine the number of your children.”
The king was very pleased to hear that as in those days people believed that beggars could make accurate predictions. So, the king did as the beggar asked him to do.
He went to the forest and found the Great Mango Tree, which stood about eight feet from the ground. It was rich with mangoes in all shades of yellow and green. He picked a hard stone from the ground and threw it at the tree. As the mangoes started to fall from the tree, the king nervously counted them. To his surprise, seven mangoes had fallen from the tree. The king felt excited. He picked up all the seven mangoes and carried them back to his castle.
Very excited, the king called his wives and told them the whole story. All the queens became very happy. During lunch, the queens ate the mangoes, except one who was busy in her work. She decided that she will eat the mango when she was done with her work. She placed the mango on her table. Unfortunately, while the queen was working, a rat bit the mango.
Full of disgust, the queen decided to throw it away, but the king forbid her as it was a sacred mango. Therefore, the queen had to eat it.
After a year went by, the six queens gave birth to sons. Surprisingly, the seventh queen gave birth to a rat, as she had eaten the mango bitten by a rat. The other queens laughed at her.
The seventh queen felt extremely embarrassed. She decided to take the rat into the jungle and abandon it there. The king consulted the same beggar about it, who suggested that the well-being of the entire family lay in the unity of all the members of the family. In other words, the beggar meant that the family had to stay together under any circumstances. The king agreed hesitantly.
No one was happy by this policy, but they had to obey the beggar, for the sake of unity in their family. Thus, they all grew up together. When the children came of age, they would most often, visit places far away. The rat used to accompany them. All the brothers disliked the rat. The rat wanted to gain his brother’s appreciation, love and wanted to became part of the
At last, the rat did prove his worth. After a long journey, the boys were tired and hungry. They decided to stop somewhere for rest. The boys found an old cottage, which was decorated in the most beautiful manner. Purple and blue tulips welcomed them; grass carpeted the path towards the house. The cottage was piled with white bricks and was covered with
branches growing on the walls. The aroma of the food brought the boys inside. They met an old mysterious lady, who welcomed the boys with a smile. What the boys didn’t know was that the lady was actually a witch. She poured poison in the food and served it to her guests. The rat sniffed the smell of the poison and stopped his brothers from eating the food. The
witch’s wild cat tried to harm the rat but it trapped the cat in its cage.
Then the rat dropped the witch’s dark potions on her and she started to burn. The rat and his brothers made it safely outside the cottage. The boys thanked the rat for his bravery and appreciated it. For the first time, they claimed the rat as their brother and also recognised his significance not only for them but also for the royal family.