Many centuries ago, there lived a teenage boy called Sheikh Chilli in the small village of Auraiya. Sheikh was a slothful daydreamer who idled his days away sitting at home and doing nothing. Fed up of her son’s indolent attitude, Sheikh’s mother told him to find a job. Unable to put up with his mother’s persistent nagging, Sheikh went to the village market in search of work.

During his pursuit, Sheikh comes across a Seth, who was standing beside a large pot of ghee. He approached the Seth and asked him what he was doing standing like that. The Seth explained that he had purchased a large pot of ghee, but he did not have anyone to help him take the pot home. At this, the Seth looked at Sheikh and asked whether he would be interested in lending him a hand at a remuneration of two rupees. Sheikh readily agreed.

Sheikh placed the pot on his head and followed the Seth. On his way to the Seth’s house, the daydreamer Sheikh began fantasizing how he would spend the two rupees. He decided he would first buy an egg and watch it hatch into a chick. Then he would watch it grow into a hen that would lay even more eggs, which would translate to more hens and even more eggs! He would then be able to run his own poultry farm. Thereafter, he would get a herd of cows with the money earned from selling those eggs. The herd would then give him lots of milk, which he would then sell to make a fortune. He would soon become the proud owner of a dairy farm as well!

As his imagination went wild, Sheikh Chilli envisioned how he would use the wealth acquired via his dairy and poultry farms to build himself a castle. In the castle, he would throw lavish parties every other day, inviting well-known musicians and dancing to their songs all night long.

Thinking about those imaginary parties, Sheikh began dancing and lo, the pot came tumbling down, splattering the ghee everywhere. Furious, the Seth was about to yell at the Sheikh when the latter fell to the ground wailing, “My eggs! Oh, my hen! My herd of cows! My castle! Noooo!”

The flabbergasted Seth asked the Sheikh to compensate for his loss when the Sheikh yelled at him saying his own loss was far greater than the Seth’s. He bemoaned the fact that his fantasy would no longer materialize. Listening to Sheikh’s blabber, the Seth realized that his assistant was no ordinary fool.

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Ananya Susarla, Folk Tale writer at Ameya
Ananya

Ananya loves to both read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Shoot her an email at ananyasusarla2915@gmail.com if you would like to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Story Circus.