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Manas Gupta

Children Stories Fantasy


Manas Gupta

Children Stories Fantasy

The Prodigal Daughter

The Prodigal Daughter

9 mins 25.2K 9 mins 25.2K

There once was a young girl who dreamt of flying. She would look out the window and watch the birds as they jumped and flew and played with each other and sang their melodies. And when the wind blew she would run to an open field and spread her arms. She would let herself be swayed by the currents. She imagined tasting the clouds and they always felt sweet. She often made up stories from things and could weave an excuse in an instant. Sometimes her tales would be so dull and boring that they would put a freshly woken man to deep sleep even as he stood and she also knew how to carve stones into small figures for her stories.

When she grew a little older and became of marrying age, her mother tried to look for a suitable man but none would want a girl with her head in the clouds, for the young girl had never learned the chores of a woman. She knew not how to stitch or cook or feed the cattle or look after the young. So finally her mother took her to the village seer who nobody liked. She was an old and ugly hag with hunch, her eyes had become dull and grey and her teeth rotted under a long beaky nose and her shrill voice drove the villagers insane but they still went to her in time of great need or great sorrow for her predictions were always accurate.

The mother pleaded. "Please oh Seer, tell me where I can find a man to wed my daughter." 

"You will never find one for she will find him... Across the mountain and the river in a tree hung by his feet. And go she must for all of your lives depend on it! Now leave me my tribute and go." She cackled back.

The mother, disappointed by the response, went back and told her husband what the seer had said. 

"We must send her." Said the mother

"But what of the dangers of the mountain? She will surely not survive. She can live here forever." Her loving father protested but her mother would not hear of it.

"I shall go and find him." The girl finally said after hearing of this several times. "I will surely try." And so she packed a small bag and away she went.

She climbed the mountain and on her way down, she found a rabbit with knotted ears who cowered under a tree trunk. It looked pale and weak.

"Please help me dear girl. " He cried. "For I can't hear when a predator lurks and in fear of it, I will surely starve."

"I will surely try." She said calmly.

She picked him up and after several attempts, untied his ears. The rabbit jumped with joy as he got his hearing back. 

"Dear girl, thank you for your kindness and if you ever need a favor, leave a note under this trunk and surely I will help." With that he hopped off into the forest.

The girl then moved towards the river. It was wide and rough and she could not cross it on her own. She found a fisherman on the bank. He was pulling nets from the river that had morsels of half eaten rotting fish. He looked pale and weak.

"Please help me dear girl." He cried. "For a bear lives up the river, it kills all the fish but doesn't eat them; leaving the rotting remains to flow down and fill up my nets. If I don't catch some fish soon, I will surely starve." 

"I will surely try but I need to cross this river." Said the girl.

"If you help me catch some fish I will, in return, ferry you across whenever you want." 

So she walked up the riverside and found the bear. To her surprise, the bear had lost most of its fur and looked pale and weak.

"Please help me dear girl." He cried. "For I am a master fisher and caught a diamond scaled salmon. On biting down, all my teeth broke and now I can catch fish but not eat them. I need to chew the fish or I will surely starve." 

"Oh giant bear! I can carve you some teeth from these stones but for that please leave some fish for the fisherman down the river." The bear agreed.

So the girl used her carving skills to fashion him teeth. The bear caught a few fish hungrily and was now able to chew them down. After having his fill he walked back to the girl.

"Dear girl, thank you for your kindness. If you ever need a favor leave a note on this rock and I will surely help." With that he dove into the river and swam away.

The girl now went back to the farmer who was very happy to have caught so many fish lately. He happily ferried her across.

She walked into the forest and surely there was a man hanging upside down from a tree. His feet had got caught in a branch and two huge broken feathers lay on the ground under him, he looked pale and weak.

"Please help me dear girl." He cried. "For I was attacked by a giant eagle who reigns over this forest." After which he fainted.

So the girl got him down and cleaned him up. He was a tall and handsome man with a kind face and she would be happy to be his bride. She fed him and took care of him till he woke up.

"Dear girl, thank you for your kindness. I come from a kingdom in the clouds and those feathers were my wings. If you help me rebuild my wings I will forever be in your debt."

"I will surely try but could you make a pair for me as well? For I have always wanted to fly." She asked to which the man agreed.

"We will need four feathers from the giant eagle's wings to make wings for us and I dont have the strength to fight it alone." He said meekly. 

"I will nurse you till you gain your strength and then we will get them together." She said with a strong voice.

So the girl did as she promised and within a few weeks the man had regained his strength and vigour. He had also secretly started loving the girl and wanted to make her his but lacked the courage to ask her for marriage. When he was ready they both walked towards the centre of the forest where the eagle lay in it's giant nest with one glaring eye open.

"Ah the pray has walked back to be eaten." It bellowed and swiftly grabbed the man in its talons. 

"Oh great Eagle! Please hurt him not, for this man holds my heart and my life.".

"I will never let a man from the clouds go for their meat is as rare as shimor mushroom and as delicious as a diamond scaled salmon."

"Oh great Eagle! I shall fetch you both in return for this man's life." She pleaded.

The eagle thought for a moment.

"I shall hold him till you do. But return by sunset else first I will eat him and then I shall find you and take you for dessert." Said the eagle and placed the man in its nest. The man looked at the girl amazed and enamoured.

So the girl went back to the river and found the fisherman. She then reached the tree trunk and left a note for the rabbit. Then she walked back upto the riverside and left a note for the bear and then she waited.

It wasn't long before the rabbit came to her with a dozen Shimor mushrooms and then the bear came with a dozen diamond scaled salmon. They both looked strong and healthy.

She took the bounty back to the eagle.

"Oh great eagle! I have here a dozen shimor mushrooms and a dozen diamond scaled Salmons, would you please let the man go now?"

"You have pleased me so I will spare your life but the man is too precious for me to let go. He is the only prey that ever escaped me. I shall not release him. Now be gone!"

The girl was disappointed but did not lose hope.

"Oh great eagle! Allow me to entertain you with a tale while you feast on the mushroom and the salmon for I wish to spend the last moments with the man I love." She pleaded to which the eagle agreed.

She then quickly came up with a tale and started reciting it to the eagle. The tale was so dull and boring that the eagle, halfway through her feast, could not help but fall asleep. The girl continued even though the eagle had gone into a deep slumber.

She then quietly moved towards the man who had also fallen asleep and woke him up all the while continuing her tale. The man sensed her internation and went under the wing of the eagle and plucked four feathers as swiftly as he could. Then they both ran back into the forest.

He quickly fashioned two pairs and they both flew up into the clouds leaving behind the giant sleeping eagle. On his way he professed his love for her and she agreed to marry him.

When they reached the kingdom, the girl was surprised to see a royal welcome for the man. He was a prince of the kingdom and was tasked by the old dying king to find a wife for himself and pluck the feathers of a giant eagle in order to inherit the kingdom.

He took the girl for his wife and she became the queen of the cloud kingdom. A few moons passed and she longed to see her parents so she decided to fly down to her maiden village. 

The village was dry and distraught; her father stood outside his farm pale and weak. His eyes had become grey and he could not recognise her in her royal attire as she stood in front of him.

"Please help me dear girl" He cried " For the rain has failed us this season and the crop will soon die and we will surely starve."

The girl silently moved closer to her father and then hugged him. "I will surely try." She said with a tiny sob.

"Dear girl, you have returned. I hope you are doing well." He smiled weekly as he recognised her. 

"Yes father, I am now the queen of cloud kingdom and I can order rain clouds to this village at will." With that she she flew up into the clouds and in a few moments the sky turned grey, she flew back down and with her came showers of rain.

Behind her proud father stood her proud mother whose tears were washed away by the fresh raindrops that fell from the sky.

The end.

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