King Vijay Chandra, who ruled the Kingdom of Dolakpur, always liked to harass his personal attendants by assigning them tough jobs. Overburdened with too many jobs, the servants pleaded to be relieved. The king would then relieve them from their jobs after chopping off their right ears. He then preserved those chopped ears in jars. The helpless servants, who lost their ears, did not raise their voices against the king. The king’s terrible whims and fancies constantly kept the people in an unknown fear.
One day a young boy from the nearby kingdom visited Dolakpur. He found it amusing to see people without their right ears. People shared tales of how King Vijay Chandra let his servants leave after cutting their right ears.
The young boy went to the palace and requested the king to allow him to work as a helper in his palace. King Vijay Chandra told him about the condition if he wanted to work in the palace. The boy agreed to the king’s condition, but said he had a condition, too. The boy demanded that the king’s right ear be chopped if he were to fire the boy from the job. The king agreed and allowed the boy to start working as a personal attendant in the palace.
King Vijay Chandra assigned the boy the toughest jobs. To the king’s surprise, the boy completed all those tasks without any complaints. One day, the boy came back to the palace with the cattle he had taken out for grazing. The cattle looked so dirty with all the dust and mud in the fields. The angry king yelled at the young boy, ordering him to wash them clean.
Instead of washing the cattle with water, the young boy started to scrub the cattle with the stones he had found in the garden. He scrubbed so hard that the skin of the cattle peeled off. Some of the cattle started to bleed and died. This incensed the king, but he had to keep quiet owing to his deal with the boy.
The next day, in the middle of the night, the king asked the young boy to take his son to the washroom. He complied with the king’s order, but warned the king’s son to either pee or poop, but not both at the same time. The scared little boy ran back to the room and fell on the way, hurting his head. When the king came to know about this, he wanted to fire the young boy, but his word kept him from doing so. Every day, the young boy irritated the king more and more, but the latter could not fire the witty boy from the job.
One day, the boy went to the forest to collect firewood and returned to the palace with a bundle of wood. When he reached the palace, he requested the queen to tell him where he must leave the bundle. Lost in her own thoughts, the queen did not see the boy and asked him to keep it outside. The boy, however, did not leave the bundle of wood outside. He rather went in again and again and asked the queen several times what he needed to do. Irritated by the boy’s behavior, she screamed at him and asked him to keep the bundle of wood on her head. The boy did so, inflicting a serious injury upon the queen. The enraged king could do nothing but watch the boy act carry on with his impulsive acts.
He then decided to approach his father-in-law to find a way to get rid of him. The king asked the boy to carry a pot of drinking water and follow him. On their way, the king stopped by to pay his obeisances unto the river deity. He threw a few coins into the river and prayed for their safe passage. Following the king, the young boy poured the pot of water into the river and prayed. Having come a long way, the king asked the boy to give him some water to drink. Knowing about what the boy had done with the water, the king could no longer be patient with him. He made up his mind to fire the boy.
When the king and his convoy reached the outskirts of the town, the king asked the boy to inform his father-in-law of his arrival. Feeling tired and hungry due to the long journey, the king wanted to have a delicious meal at his father-in-law’s palace. However, the boy, who reached the palace before the king, asked the king’s father-in-law’s chefs to prepare a simple meal with boiled vegetables as the king was not feeling well after such a long journey. When the king arrived, his father-in-law served him only kanji, or rice gruel, along with boiled vegetables.
Unable to keep his temper in check, the king fired the boy at once. The boy reminded the king of their deal and asked him to keep his word. After having the king’s right ear chopped off, he asked the king to hand him the jars filled with chopped ears. The king, who just wanted the boy to leave him alone, did so. On his way back to the kingdom, the boy helped the people get back their lost ears.
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Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at email@example.com to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and abridged from Talking Myths.