King Vikram11 mins 364 11 mins 364
Long ago, there was a small kingdom named Devgarh in the northern part of our country India. It was ruled by King Vikram. He was a great king. He loved his subjects like his children and did everything that was required for their welfare. For them, he made houses, roads, hospitals and everything. There was nothing that he did not do for his people. As a result of this, everybody in his kingdom was very happy and they loved him like their father. The king also loved his subjects as his own children, and was always ready to do anything for them.
One day, when king Vikram was discussing a very important issue with one of his most trusted ministers, the gatekeeper came to him and told him that an extremely old man had just approached the main entrance of the palace, and wanted to see him immediately. " Seeing the cold weather, I asked him to come tomorrow, but he says that tomorrow will be very late. He says that each and every moment is important for him," said the gatekeeper. Though the king was very busy and did not want to meet the old man, he ordered him to produce the old man before him at that very instant. The old man was produced before the king, but he said that he would not tell him anything unless he was alone with him in that room and that if anyone tried to listen to their conversation, he would give him a death sentence and hang him in public the very next day. He appeared to be very interesting for the king, and it was sure that he could not do him any harm in his own palace, as he was already extremely weak and frail. He could not even stand straight and take a single step without taking the support of his walking stick. The king looked at his ministers, and they one by one made a bow to him and left the court.
" Now, only two of us are here, so you can tell me what so far you've treasured in your old heart."
" O, Great King! Please listen carefully and don't miss any of the words that I'm going to utter in front of you. On the seventh day from today, a great storm of snow will rise in the heights of the Great Himalayas. It will devastate everything falling on its path. By the mid-night of the seventh day when everyone will be sleeping in their soft beds, it will engulf your kingdom and destroy it."
' How can you say this? What 's the proof? On what basis are you saying this?"
" O, Great King! It is the will of the divine, and this time it's bent on taking revenge."
" Revenge! What revenge...? Ooon whom ?"
" Revenge on them who misuse their powers. "
" Who misuse their power ? Who...?"
" It's neither you nor any of your countrymen ! It's Shatrujeet, your neighbour and enemy. He's the cause of the anger of the divine spirits of the Great Mountains."
"But what do you want of me? "
" Save the people of Asimgarh. "
" How can I save them ? You know he is my enemy."
"The spirits are thirsty of his blood. Offer them his blood."
Bikram knew that it was not so easy as his guest told him, as he knew his strength."
"But he's far stronger than me. He has the largest army of the world. Isn't it injustice to put me against him ? "
"You think it as an injustice, not as an opportunity, an opportunity to save your men and women. "
King Vikram knew somewhere in his heart that he was acting like a fool by rejecting a golden opportunity to finish his greatest enemy on earth.
" Injustice ! No, it's not an injustice. I know that you are capable enough to tackle him, and that's why nature has sent me to help you and guide on this mission, but tell me, son, isn't it the duty of a capable ruler to go outside his kingdom and see whether things are going right there or not ? Isn't it the duty of the powerful to protect the weak and helpless."
" Yes, it's his duty to see and, as far as possible, try to set the things right, if anything wrong comes to his notice."
"Then, Son, did you ever try to know how the people live in Asimgarh. It is little better than hell itself. No day ever passes there without shrieks of the innocent. In his kingdom, no one has the right to breathe without his permission. Boodshed is his favourite sport. And you know there 's no special reason for his hatred. It is innate. His whim is such that if he does not like anybody's voice, he gets his skin flayed alive."
The old man looked at King Vikram. Repentance was clearly visible on his countenance. His eyes were down.
"I don't think it right to interfere in the internal affairs of any other sovereign country. Shatrujeet himself is responsible for whatever is happening in Asimgarh," said Vikram.
'No, it's the duty of all the civilized countries to stand against such inhumane rulers and depose them for the good of the people and the culture flourishing there." Vikram knew that each word of the old man was right. He worked only for the progress of his own countrymen and left his neighbours to die under the rule of a cruel king. Though he made his mind to correct the things, it was not easy one for him.
Seeing him thoughtful, the old man did not take time to know his mood, " Do you want to correct your mistake? "
Vikram looked up at him. " You've only seven days before you. The eighth day will be of mine."
"Mine! Who're you ? " he said waking up with a jerk. " Yes, the seventh day will be mine. "
The old and fragile fellow who was standing before him till the last moment suddenly got up and moved towards the exit and before anybody could understand anything, disappeared in the thin chilled wind blowing from the snow capped mountains standing far apart from the forts of Devgarh. King Vikram did not know what he to do or what not to do, so he simply kept staring in the direction whither his old guest had gone and disappeared before his eyes, a few moments ago. His ministers had also gone, and they would come to him only the next morning. Next morning...! It 'd be too late for them. He sent for them all, and soon, they were with him planning to avert the impending devastation.
Someone said they should leave the kingdom and as far from it as possible to stay safe from the storm. Another one said they should all go to the mountains and try to please their God by offering him different types of gifts. There were no two ministers whose suggestions on this matter were similar. There was a difference in their ideas of dealing with the coming danger. It seemed they were unable to understand the seriousness of the moment. Their childish suggestions irritated the Vikram, but he kept patience and made his mind to do whatever could be possible by him. He knew somewhere in his heart that it was again a test of his courage and determination. He remembered his father's words which he had said just before leaving this mortal world that one should always rely on his own wisdom and strength whenever there was a question of his existence in the world, and it was the question of his entire kingdom.
Asimgarh was similar to Devgarh in almost all respects, like area, population, wealth and resources. However, the former was regarded to be a little more powerful than the latter, and that was one of the reasons why King Vikram kept away from its internal affairs. The second reason was in the form of a vast and endless jungle stretched over hundreds of miles between these two kingdoms. Entering them with their army meant getting lost in the labyrinth and waiting for the worst. However, King Vikram was not to be stopped. He jumped into the forest with his most trusted friend, Badal, which ran all through the jungle and stopped a little away from the main entrance to the kingdom. Next morning with a band of travellers, a merchant too entered the city. Though he was new to the city, soon a huge crowd gathered around him, as he was not any ordinary merchant. He was a merchant of precious rare gems. It seemed that he had not come there to make profits but to have himself robbed by the residents of the city, as he was selling his precious gems probably at the cheapest rate.
The news soon reached the palace from where an invitation was sent to him, according to which, the king himself wanted to see the merchant and purchase some of the rare gems from him. As he was fond of gems and other precious stones, he did not want to miss this opportunity.
At the appointed time, the merchant arrived at the entrance of the king's grand palace. From there, he was taken into the guest-room and asked to take rest till the evening when he would be taken to the central hall where the king along with his queens and other important members of the family would see his gems and if they found them really beautiful, he would be given any price for them. In the evening, as he had been told before, he was taken to the central hall where all the important members of the royal family had gathered. At their demand, he put down the bale on the floor and undid the knot. As he undid the knot, a good number of gems rolled everywhere on the floor towards which the merchant paid no attention. He showed the beautiful gems to the king and the queen both. Each one was more beautiful than the other. They were confused as to which one to buy and which one to leave; so, the king decided to keep all the gems and asked the merchant to wait till morning to be paid for his gems. There was a strange shine in his eyes. The merchant was a worldly-wise man who did not take much time to understand his plan. " My Lord, I have not come to do business with you. These are my gifts for you. I belong to a place where there are a lot of such precious things.," he knew it very well that Shatrujeet was very greedy, and it was the only way to beat him in his own game.
" A lot of gems...! But...where? "
"Not so far, My Lord! Just a little away from your kingdom. "
The king seemed to be pleased with his words, " Can you take me to that place? Can you...I'll give you anything you for it. "
" But, My Lord, you needn't take any tension for theses cheap materials, as what will be my use if I cannot do this little favour to you by getting some of these to you for your pleasure. After all, you're our beloved Lord."
Shatrujeet had become so blind with greed that he spent the whole night dreaming about the valley of gems, and early in the next morning both, he and the merchant started their journey to the valley of gems. On the way, they met numerous calamities and at last, they arrived at a palace where the merchant told the king alighting from his horse, " Now, get down of your horse, my Lord! We 're very close to our destination." Shatrujeet dismounted from his horse and stood in front of the merchant like a young child. "Where're we and where 're the gems? How long shall we go in this wilderness? "
" Not for long, Master, not for long...! Do you see those mountains ?" the merchant said pointing towards the snow-covered peaks of mountains in the north, " We will have to reach there as the keys to the valley of gems are lying there."
" But it's impossible! We cannot ever reach there. Isn't a trick? Who're you ?"
By then the merchant had put his sword on his shoulder, " You want to know who I am. Listen, I'm Vikram...King Vikram....the King of Devgarh, and I want to capture you so that you may be handed over to the divine spirits of the holy mountains, that don't want you like cruel king to rule over the earth." Shatrujeet shuddered for a moment, then mustering up his courage said,
" Then, you're not a merchant! You tricked me... you tricked Shatrujeet!" and drawing his sword fell on King Vikram. The valley filled with the sound of their swords. They fought as no one had fought before, But, at last, Shastrujeet fell down on the hard ground with cuts and bleeding all over the body. Without wasting any moment, Vikram tied his hands and legs and put him on his horse, rode as fast as he could to his kingdom. As he was determined, he reached his palace right on the seventh day.
Right at the mid-night, as predicted by the old man, a huge storm hit the kingdom. The people sleeping peacefully in their houses were awakened by the din of the powerful wind. There was a play of destruction all around. It seemed that nothing would be left. Just then, King Vikram came out of his palace dragging Shatrujeet and stood at the entrance. A huge cloud of wind whirling over the palace descended to engulf them both. When the wind stopped, only King Vikram was seen talking to someone, no one could see who he was talking to. After this day, Shatrujeet was not seen by anyone. Where he went and what happened to him all remained a mystery.