Trial of Wit

The land of Durgapur was ruled by King Samudragupta. He was an able and intelligent ruler.

One day, two men who were quarrelling to his court.

King Samudragupta asked them, “What brings you here?”

The two men bowed and introduced themselves as Chandan and Shankar.

Chandan said, “Your Majesty, I am a traveller. I came to this city last night and requested shelter for a night at this man’s house, taking him to be a good man. I had a pouch of a thousand gold coins with me which I had earned recently.

While I was asleep, this man crept into my room and stole my pouch. He now claims it to be his. Please give me justice, Your Majesty.”

King Samudragupta asked Shankar, “What do you have to say to this?”

Shankar replied, “Your Majesty, Chandan is lying. This is my hard-earned money which he stole from my house when I was asleep. He is taking advantage of my hospitality. He is a liar.”

After listening to both of them, King Samudragupta sat lost deep in thought. His courtiers wondered how he was going to solve this case.

Suddenly, King Samudragupta asked them about their work. Both replied that they were traders. The king then asked, “What do you deal in?” He learnt that they both were horse traders.

The king nodded and asked them to follow him to the Royal Stables.children fiction

At the stables, the king murmured something to the horsekeeper. The keeper immediately brought a horse in front of all of them.

King Samudragupta said, “Since both of you are horse traders, I would like to have your valuable opinion regarding this horse which I have recently bought.

What do you think of this classic Arabian horse? Do you think I can use it in the army? Kindly inspect it and let me have your opinion separately in the court.”

Chandan first met the king in the court. He said, “Your Majesty, that Arabian horse is truly magnificent. It is of good breed, excellent and reliable to be used in the army. I am sure, you can win any battle with him. It won’t let you down.”

King Samudragupta smiled and said, “Thank you for your valuable opinion.

May I know from where you buy your horses? Have you bought any Arabian horses?”

Chandan smiled and replied, “Oh yes, Your Majesty. I have bought many Arabian horses. I  have also spent years in Arabia. In fact, I specialise in Arabian horses mostly.”

King Samudragupta said thoughtfully, “The Sultan of Arabia, Sheik Ahmed Ali is a dear friend of mine. It has been a long time since I have met him.”

Nodding, Chandan said with a smile, “Oh yes, Sultan Sheik Ahmed Ali is indeed a very noble person like Your Majesty.”

King Samudragupta smiled and called Shankar after Chandan left.

Shankar bowed and said humbly, “Your Majesty, I regret to say that someone has tricked you. That is not an Arabian horse as Your Majesty had mentioned but is from a local breed. Secondly, it is not fit for the army as the horse is aged. One can notice the signs of aging by looking at its droopy lips, sunken eyes, drooping joints, rough coat etc.”

King Samudragupta listened attentively and put forth the same question which he had asked Chandan.

Shankar replied, “I buy Arabian horses from Arabia, Your Majesty. I go there once a year, stay for a few months and bring back the best of Arabian horses and sell them here for a profit. That is how I make my living.”

King Samudragupta mentioned his friend Sultan of Arabia, Sheik Ahmed  Ali to him.

Surprised, Shankar said, “Please pardon me for correcting you. The Sultan’s name is Haider Ali Khan and not Sheik Ahmed Ali. In fact, Haider Ali Khan has been the Sultan of Arabia for years.”

The courtiers could not understand what the king was doing. They felt that their king had forgotten the case of the gold coins and gone completely off track.

King Samudragupta asked Chandan to be bought back.

In the presence of the two men and courtiers, the king said, “All of you have heard the two different versions given by Chandan and Shankar.

By asking them a few questions, I learnt a lot about them. I purposely showed them an aged horse belonging to a local breed and asked for their opinion. Only Shankar could answer correctly. My second test was when I spoke about the Sultan, purposely not giving out his real name. While Chandan went along with me, it was Shankar who corrected me because he is the real trader and has been to Arabia.

Chandan has been lying since the very beginning. His lack of knowledge about the horses gave him away, and the name test revealed that he had never been to Arabia.

I hereby order my men to arrest Chandan and order him to return the pouch of gold coins to Shankar, the rightful owner.”

Chandan was arrested, and Shankar bowed gratefully before the king. The king also offered Shankar the task of buying Arabian horses for the Royal Stables.

The courtiers sang the praises of their king who, with his intelligence had solved the case rightfully.

Kanga – The Runner

Kanga, the kangaroo, jogged a little where she stood. She tried to loosen her body. She felt nervous as she stepped on the start line. She secretly wished that all other participants in the race would stumble and fall.

“I keep wishing for this though I know it will never happen,” thought Kanga.

Soon, the chequered flag went up and the whistle was blown. The race began. All the animals ran ahead in no time leaving big clouds of dust behind.

When the dust settled, everyone saw that Kanga, too, remained behind.

Zack, the zebra was Kanga’s coach. He could not believe his eyes. “Go Kanga! Go! Go!” Zack screamed.

Hearing Zack’s voice, Kanga came out of her daydream. She started hopping quickly, but it was too late.

Many animals were about to reach the finish line. But Kanga didn’t give up. To make up for her lost time, she pushed a monkey from behind. It was a bad idea because the monkey fell and hurt his knee.

Despite this, Kanga did not win the race. Zack was unhappy. It showed on his face. “What happened?” Zack asked Kanga.

“The whistle wasn’t loud enough, and the chequered flag did not go up either,” said Kanga.

“It did, Kanga. And the whistle is the same one that has been used for years,” said Zack.

“Maybe it is broken now,” said Kanga.

“Stop it! I heard the whistle. It was loud and clear,” shouted Zack.

“Were you daydreaming again? And why did you push others on the track? That is not sportsmanship,” said Zack.

“Others also push us on the track. What’s wrong with that?” replied Kanga.

“Maybe some do, but not us. Our club wants to win because of our talent. Playing smart is one thing Kanga, but cheating to win is another,” explained Zack.

Kanga didn’t say a word. She just felt angry about everything and everyone around her.

Zack and Kanga had been practicing for three years to make Kanga the best runner in the jungle. Kanga was good at running. With just a few long hops she would make others disappear behind her. Zack knew that she could be the best.
But she thought more about others than improving herself.

“Concentrate!” Zack used to tell her during practice.

“Focus on your game,” Zack always whispered to her before any race.

Zack wanted her to think about her own performance. But Kanga always looked at others to check how others were faring. She had even started pushing others now. Zack scolded her, but that was not enough.

After the fight with Zack, Kanga went hopping alone. She felt too angry and upset to go and meet her friends.

Kanga ate some soft green grass and went to have some cool water at the pond. Many animals would come to the pond to drink water.

As Kanga was sipping water, she heard someone say, “You hoped quite well in the race!” She looked up, surprised, to see Gary, the giraffe.

Gary was in the same sports club, but he was training under another coach.

“What?” asked Kanga.

“I said, nice hopping in the race,” told Gary.

“Yeah, but I did not win the race. Now everyone is laughing at me because I forgot to start when the whistle blew,” said Kanga sadly.

“It is okay. Such things happen sometimes,” said Gary.

Kanga said, “My coach isn’t happy that I pushed the monkey. Why are you are praising my hopping?”

“Because I liked your hopping. Your hops were filled with energy. You could have won the race if you had started on time,” said Gary.

“You have long legs. Do you think you won the race because of that?” asked Kanga.

“Could be, but I cannot hop,” said Gary.

Kanga did not understand what Gary was trying to say. Gary looked at her confused expression and explained, “See Kanga, the rhino has strength, the horse has power, and the cheetah has strong muscles. I have long legs. And you can hop. Each one of us has our own strengths.”

Gary was right. Kanga remained silent.

“It is about you, Kanga. Think about what you have. Use your strengths wisely. Make them better by practice. Then you too can win someday,” said Gary with a friendly smile.

Kanga realised what her coach Zack had been trying to tell her all this while.

“You are right Gary. My coach tried to explain this to me many times, but I did not understand,” said Kanga, looking sad.

Kanga decided that she would meet Zack and say sorry to him.

“Thank you so much, Gary. And hearty congratulations for winning the race,” Kanga smiled at Gary, without a hint of jealousy in her mind.

“Thank you, Kanga. Good game to you too!” cheered Gary happily.