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A WITTY SOLDIER

A WITTY SOLDIER

By mknizam

By Monayem Khan Nizam (Uttara Model Town, Dhaka, Bangladesh)..................................rnHe was brought out of the jail in his shroud, with a prayer book in his hand. Being brought to the place where he committed the horrid murder, and after prayers, as is usual, he gave the signal for the executioner to do his office, and calling upon Allah to receive his poor immortal soul he was launched into Eternity. Long ago there was a great battle in the Chittagong Hill Tracts between different races of the aborigines. The British government in India sent several battalions of soldiers there to mediate between the belligerent races and take the battle to a peaceful conclusion. When the battle came to an end, a great number of the soldiers that had been engaged in it were disbanded. Among the rest Brother Roy received his discharge and nothing more for all he had done than a very little loaf of soldier's bread and four coins in his pocket. With these possessions he went his way. Now a Fakir had seated himself in the road, like a poor beggar man, and when Brother Roy came along, he asked him for charity to give him something. Then the soldier said—rn"Dear beggar man, what shall such as I give you? I have been a soldier, and have just got my discharge, and with it only a very little loaf and four coins. When that is gone I shall have to beg like you.”rnHowever, he divided the loaf into four parts, and gave the Fakir one, with a coin. The Fakir thanked him, and having gone a little further along the road seated himself like another beggar in the way of the soldier. When Brother Roy came up, the Fakir again asked alms of him, and he again gave him another quarter of the loaf and another coin.rnThe Fakir thanked him, and seated himself in the way a third time, like another beggar, and again addressed Brother Roy. Brother Roy gave him a third quarter of the loaf, and the third coin.rnThe Fakir thanked him, and Brother Roy journeyed on with all he had left— a quarter of the loaf and a single coin. When he came to an inn, being hungry and thirsty, he went in and ate the bread, and spent the coin in tea to drink with it. When he had finished, he continued his journey, and the Fakir, in the disguise of a disbanded soldier, met him again and saluted him.rn"Good day, Comrade," said he; "can you give me a morsel of bread, and a coin to get a cup of tea.”rn"Where shall I get it?" answered Brother Roy. "I got my discharge, and nothing with it but a loaf and four coins, and three beggars met me on the road and I gave each of them a quarter of the loaf and a coin. The last quarter I have just eaten at the inn, and I have spent the last coin in drink. I am quite empty now. If you have nothing, let us go begging together.”rn"No, that will not be necessary just now," said the Fakir. "I understand a little about doctoring, and I will in time obtain as much as I need that.”rn“Ha!” said Brother Roy, “I know nothing about that, so I must go and beg by myself.”rn“Only come along,” replied the Fakir, “and if I earn anything, you’ll get halves.”rn“Thank you, Bhagwan. That’ll suit me very much,” replied Brother Roy. So they travelled on together. rnThey had not gone a great distance before they came to a cottage in which they heard a great lamenting and screaming. They went in to see what was the matter, and found a man sick to the death, as if about to expire, and his wife crying and weeping loudly. "Leave off whining and crying," said the Fakir. "I will make the man well again quickly enough," and he took a salve out of his pocket and cured the man instantly, so that he could stand up and was quite hearty. Then the man and his wife, in great joy, demanded, "How can we repay you? What shall we give you?" They had not gone a great distance before they came to a cottage in which they heard a great lamenting and screaming. They went in to see what was the matter, and found a man sick to the death, as if about to expire, and his wife crying and weeping loudly. "Leave off whining and crying," said the Fakir. "I will make the man well again quickly enough," and he took a salve out of his pocket and cured the man instantly, so that he could stand up and was quite hearty. Then the man and his wife, in great joy, demanded, "How can we repay you? What shall we give you?" rnThe Fakir would not, however, take anything, and the more the couple pressed him the more firmly he declined. Brother Roy, who had been looking on, came to his side, and nudging him, said, “Take something; take something. We want it badly enough.”rnAt length the peasant brought a small goat, which he desired the Fakir to accept, but he declined it still. Then Brother Roy jogged his side, and said— rn“Take it, you foolish fellow, take it. We want it badly enough.”rnAt last the Fakir said, “Well, I’ll take the goat, but I shall not carry it. You must carry it.”rn“There’s not great hardship in that,” cried Brother Roy. “I can easily do that,” he said and took the goat on his shoulder.rnAfter that they went on till they came to a wood, and Brother Roy who was very hungry, and found the goat a heavy load, called out to the Fakir-rn“Hello! Here is a nice place for us to dress and eat the goat.”rn“With all my heart,” replied his companion; “but I don’t understand anything of cooking, so you do begin, and I will walk about until it is ready. Don’t begin to eat until I return. I will take care to be back in time.”rn“Go your ways,” said Brother Roy; “I can cook it well enough. I’ll soon have it ready.”rnThe Fakir wandered away, while Brother Roy lighted the fire, killed the goat, put the pieces into the pot, and boiled them. In a short time the goat was thoroughly done, but the Fakir had not returned; so Roy took the meat up, carved it, and found the heart.rn“That is the best part of it,” said he. He kept tasting it until he had finished it.rnAt length the Fakir came back and said-rn“I only want the heart. All the rest you may have, give me the heart only.”rnThen Brother Roy took his knife and fork, and turned the goat about as if he would have found the heart, but of course he could not discover it. At last he said, in a careless manner-rn“It is not here.”rn“Not there? Where should it be then?” said the Fakir.rn“That I don’t know,” said Roy, “but now I think of it, what a couple of fools we are to look for the heart of a goat. A goat, you know, has not got a heart.”rn“What?” said the Fakir. “That’s the news, indeed. rn"That I don't know," said Roy; "but now I think of it, what a couple of fools we are to look for the heart of a goat. A goat, you know, has not got a heart."rn"What?" said the Fakir; "that's news, indeed. Why, every beast has a heart, and why should not the goat have one as well as the rest of them?" rn"No, certainly, Comrade, a goat has no heart. Only reflect, and it will occur to you that it really has not."rn"Well," replied his companion, "it is quite sufficient. There is no heart there, so I need none of the goat. You may eat it all."rn"Well, what I cannot eat I'll put in my knapsack," said Brother Roy.rnThen he ate some, and disposed of the rest as he had said. Now, as they continued their journey, the Fakir contrived that a great stream should flow right across their path, so that they must be obliged to ford it. Then said he—"Go you first."rn"No," answered Brother Roy; "go you first," thinking that if the water were too deep he would stay on the bank where he was. However, the Fakir waded through, and the water only reached to his knees; but when Brother Roy ventured, the stream seemed suddenly to increase in depth, and he was soon up to his neck in the water.rn"Help me, Comrade," he cried.rn"Will you confess," said the Fakir, "that you ate the goat's heart?"rnThe soldier still denied it, and the water got still deeper, until it reached his mouth. Then the Fakir said again—"Will you confess, then, that you ate the goat's heart?"rnBrother Roy still denied what he had done, and as the Fakir did not wish to let him drown, he helped him out of his danger.rnThey journeyed on until they came to a kingdom where they heard that the king's daughter lay dangerously ill.rn"Hello! Brother," said the soldier, "here's a catch for us. If we can only cure her, we shall be made for ever."rnThe Fakir, however, was not quick enough for Brother Roy.rn"Come on, Brother," said the soldier, "put your best foot forward so that we may come in at the right time.rn"But the Fakir went still slower, though his companion kept pushing and driving him, till at last they heard that the princess was dead.rn"This comes of your creeping so," said the soldier.rn"Now be still," said the Fakir, "for I can do more than make the sick whole; I can bring the dead to life again."rn"If that's true," said Brother Roy, "you must at least earn half the kingdom for us."rnAt length they arrived at the king's palace, where everybody was in great trouble, but the Fakir told the king he would restore his daughter to him. They conducted him to where she lay, and he commanded them to let him have a caldron of water, and when it had been brought, he ordered all the people to go away, and let nobody remain with him but Brother Roy. Then he divided the limbs of the dead princess, and throwing them into the water, lighted a fire under the caldron, and boiled them. When all the flesh had fallen from the bones, the Fakir took them, laid them on a table, and placed them together in their natural order. Having done this, he walked before them, and said—rn"Arise, thou dead one!"rnAs he repeated these words the third time the princess arose, alive, well, and beautiful.rnThe king was greatly rejoiced, and said to the Fakir—rn"Require for thy reward what thou wilt. Though it should be half my empire, I will give it you."rnBut the Fakir replied—rn"I desire nothing for what I have done."rn"O thou great fool!" thought Brother Roy to himself. Then, nudging his comrade's side, he said—rn"Don't be so silly. If you won't have anything, yet I need somewhat."rnThe Fakir, however, would take nothing, but as the king saw that his companion would gladly have a gift, he commanded the keeper of his treasures to fill his knapsack with gold, at which Brother Roy was right pleased.rnAgain they went upon their way till they came to a wood, when the Fakir said to his fellow-traveller—rn"Now we will share the gold."rn"Yes," replied the soldier, "that we can."rnThen the Fakir took the gold and divided it into three portions.rn"Well," thought Brother Roy, "what whim has he got in his head now, making three parcels, and only two of us?"rn"Now," said the Fakir, "I have divided it fairly, one for me, and one for you, and one for him who ate the heart of the goat."rn"Oh, I ate that," said the soldier, quickly taking up the gold. "I did, I assure you."rn"How can that be true?" replied the Fakir. "A goat has no heart."rnAy! What, brother? What are you thinking of? A goat has no heart? Very good! When every beast has why should that one be without?"rn"Now that is very good," said the Fakir. "Take all the gold yourself, for I shall remain no more with you, but will go my own way alone."rn"As you please, brother," answered the soldier. "A pleasant journey to you, my hearty."rnThe Fakir took another road, and as he went off, Brother Roy seemed to be having a great relief.rn"Well," thought the soldier, "it's all right that he has marched off, for he is an odd fellow."rnBrother Roy had now plenty of money, but he did not know how to use it, so he spent it and gave it away, till in the course of a little time he found himself once more penniless. At last he came into a country where he heard that the king's daughter was dead.rn"Ah!" thought he, "that may turn out well. I'll bring her to life again."rnThen he went to the king and offered his services. Now the king had heard that there was an old soldier who went about restoring the dead to life, and he thought that Brother Roy must be just the man. However, he had not much confidence in him, so he first consulted his council, and they agreed that as the princess was certainly dead, the old soldier might be allowed to see what he could do. Brother Roy commanded them to bring him a caldron of water, and when every one had left the room he separated the limbs, threw them into the caldron, and made a fire under it, exactly as he had seen the Fakir do. When the water boiled and the flesh fell from the bones, he took them and placed them upon the table, but as he did not know how to arrange them he piled them one upon another. Then he stood before them, and said—rn"Thou dead, arise! Arise!" and he cried so three times, but all to no purpose.rn"Stand up, you vixen! Stand up, or it shall be the worse for you," he cried.rnScarcely had he repeated these words ere the Fakir came in at the window, in the likeness of an old soldier named Arun Basak, just as before, and said—rn"You impious fellow! How can the dead stand up when you have thrown the bones thus one upon another?"rn"Ah! Brother Basak," answered Roy, "I have done it as well as I can."rn"I will help you out of your trouble this time," said the Fakir; "but I tell you this, if you ever again undertake a job of this kind, you will repent it, and for this you shall neither ask for nor take the least thing from the king."rnHaving placed the bones in their proper order, the Fakir said three times—rn"Thou dead, arise!" and the princess stood up, sound and beautiful as before. Then the Fakir immediately disappeared again out of the window, and Brother Roy was glad that all had turned out so well. One thing, however, grieved him sorely, and that was that he might take nothing from the king.rn"I should like to know," thought he, "what Brother Basak had to grumble about. What he gives with one hand he takes with the other. There is no wit in that." rnThe king asked Brother Roy what he would have, but the soldier durst not take anything. However, he managed by hints and cunning that the king should fill his knapsack with money, and with that he journeyed on. When he came out of the palace door, however, he found the Fakir standing there, who said—rn"See what a man you are. Have I not forbidden you to take anything, and yet you have your knapsack filled with gold?"rn"How can I help it," answered the soldier, "if they would thrust it in?"rn"I tell you this," said the Fakir, "mind that you don't undertake such a business a second time. If you do, it will fare badly with you."rn"Ah! Brother," answered the soldier, "never fear. Now I have money, why should I trouble myself with washing bones?"rn"That will not last a long time," said the Fakir; "but, in order that you may never tread in a forbidden path, I will bestow upon your knapsack this power, that whatsoever you wish in it shall be there. Farewell! You will never see me again."rn"Good by, Brother," said Brother Roy, and thought, "I am glad you are gone. You are a wonderful fellow. I am willing enough not to follow you."rnHe forgot all about the wonderful property bestowed upon his knapsack, and very soon he had spent and squandered his gold as before. When he had but a few coins left, he came to an inn, and thought that the money must go. So he called for a drink and some loafs of bread. As he ate and drank, the flavour of roasting chickens tickled his nose, and, peeping and prying about, he saw that the owner had placed two chickens in the oven. Then it occurred to him what his companion had told him about his knapsack, so he determined to put it to the test. Going out, he stood before the door, and said—rn"I wish that the two chickens which are baking in the oven were in my knapsack."rnWhen he had said this, he peeped in, and, sure enough, there they were.rn"Ah! Ah!" said he, "that is all right. I am a made man."rnHe went on a little way, took out the chickens, and commenced to eat them. As he was thus enjoying himself, there came by two labouring men, who looked with hungry eyes at the one chicken which was yet untouched. Brother Roy noticed it, and thought that one chicken would be enough for him. So he called the men, gave them the other chicken, and bade them farewell. The men thanked him, and going to the inn, called for drink and bread, took out their present, and commenced to eat. When the waiter saw what they were dining on, he said to his master—rn"Those two men are eating a chicken. You had better see if it is not one of ours out of the oven."rnThe owner of the inn opened the door, and said—rn “Lo! The oven was empty. O you pack of thieves!" he shouted. "This is the way you eat chickens, is it? Pay for them directly, or I will wash you both with hot water." rnThe men said—"We are not thieves. We met an old soldier on the road, and he made us a present of the chicken." rn"You are not going to hoax me in that way," said the inn owner. "The soldier has been here, but went out of the door like an honest fellow. I took care of that. You are the thieves, and you shall pay for the chickens."rnHowever, as the men had no money to pay him with, he took a stick and beat them out of doors. Meanwhile, as Brother Roy journeyed on, he came to a place where there was a noble castle and not far from it a little public inn. Into this he went, and asked for a night's lodging, but the landlord said that his house was full of guests, and he could not accommodate him.rn"I wonder," said Brother Roy, "that the people should all come to you, instead of going to that castle."rn"They have good reason for what they do," said the landlord, "for whoever has attempted to spend the night at the castle has never come back to show how he was entertained."rn"If others have attempted it, why shouldn't I?" said Brother Roy.rn"You had better leave it alone," said the host; "you are only thrusting your head into danger."rn"No fear of danger," said the soldier, "only give me the key and plenty to eat and drink."rnThe hostess gave him what he asked for, and he went off to the castle, relished his supper, and when he found himself sleepy, laid himself down on the floor, for there was no bed in the place. He soon went to sleep, but in the night he was awoke by a great noise, and when he aroused himself he discovered nine very ugly devils dancing in a circle which they had made around him.rn"Dance as long as you like," said Brother Roy; "but don't come near me."rnBut the devils came drawing nearer and nearer, and at last they almost trod on his face with their misshapen feet.rn"Be quiet," said he, but they behaved still worse. At last he got angry, and crying—rn"Ay, ay, I'll soon make you quiet," he caught hold of the leg of a stool and struck about him. Nine devils against one soldier were, however, too many, and while he laid about lustily on those before him, those behind pulled his hair and pinched him miserably.rn"Ay, ay, you pack of devils, now you are too hard for me," said he, "but wait a bit. I wish all the nine devils were in my knapsack," cried he, and it was no sooner said than done. There they were. Then Brother Roy buckled it up close, and threw it into a corner, and as all was now still he lay down and slept till morning, when the owner of the inn and the nobleman to whom the castle belonged came to see how it had fared with him. When they saw him sound and lively, they were astonished, and said—rn"Did the ghosts, then, do nothing to you?"rn"Why, not exactly," said Roy, "but I have got them all nine in my knapsack. You may dwell quietly enough in your castle now; from henceforth they won't trouble you."rnThe nobleman thanked him and gave him great rewards, begging him to remain in his service, saying that he would take care of him all the days of his life.rn"No," answered he; "I am used to wander and rove about. I will again set forth."rnHe went on until he came to a smithy, into which he went, and laying his knapsack on the anvil, bade the smith and all his men hammer away upon it as hard as they could. They did as they were directed, with their largest hammers and all their might, and the poor devils set up a piteous howling. When the men opened the knapsack there were eight of them dead, but one who had been snug in a fold was still alive, and he slipped out and ran away to his home in a twinkling. After this Brother Roy wandered about the world for a long time; but at last he grew old, and began to think about his latter end, so he went to a hermit who was held to be a very pious man and said—rn"I am tired of roving, and will now endeavour to go to heaven."rn"There stand two ways," said the hermit; "the one, broad and pleasant, leads to hell; the other is rough and narrow, and that leads to heaven."rn"I must be a fool indeed," thought Brother Roy, "if I go the rough and narrow road;" so he went the broad and pleasant way till he came at last to a great black door, and that was the door of hell. He knocked, and the door-keeper opened it, and when he saw that it was Roy, he was sadly frightened, for who should he be but the ninth devil who had been in the knapsack, and he had thought himself lucky, for he had escaped with nothing worse than a black eye. He bolted the door again directly and running to the chief of the devils, said—rn"There is a fellow outside with a knapsack on his back, but pray don't let him in, for he can get all hell into his knapsack by wishing it. He once got me a terribly ugly hammering in it."rnSo they called out to Brother Roy, and told him that he must go away, for they should not let him in.rn"Well, if they will not have me here," thought Roy, "I'll even try if I can get a lodging in heaven. Somewhere or other I must rest."rnSo he turned about and went on till he came to the door of heaven, and there he knocked. Now the Fakir who had once journeyed with him in the world sat at the door, and had charge of the entrance. Brother Roy recognised him, and said—rn"Are you here, old acquaintance? Then things will go better with me." rnThe Fakir replied—rn"I suppose you want to get into heaven?"rn"Ay, ay, brother, let me in; I must put up somewhere."rn"No," said the Fakir; "you don't come in here."rn"Well, if you won't let me in, take your dirty knapsack again. I'll have nothing that can put me in mind of you," said Brother Roy carelessly.rn"Give it me, then," said the Fakir. rnBrother Roy handed it through the grating into heaven, and the Fakir took it and hung it up behind his chair.rn"Now," said Brother Roy, "I wish I was in my own knapsack."rnInstantly he was there; and thus, being once actually in heaven, the Fakir was obliged to let him stay there.

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About The Author
mknizam
mknizam
About This Story
Audience:
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Posted:
19 Jul, 2012
Genre:
Comedy
Type:
Funny
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