Bedtime Audio Stories - The Foolish Companion

 The Foolish Companion

Once upon a time, there was a King in the Balkan area who had a pretty daughter. The princess was very fond of listening to stories and witty anecdotes. Now in the royal court was a nobleman whose young son was as witty as he was handsome. He was a good fighter and a good rider too. The king liked him and made him a knight but the princess loved him. "Will you marry me?" one day the young knight asked the princess when he found her alone in the palace garden. "Why not, if my father agrees to the proposal," said the princess and she asked her father about it the same evening. "My child, such loves are purely sentimental affairs. They do not stand the test of time. I have just finalized a proposal to send the young knight as the governor of a town which we have conquered. He will be there for five years. Let us see if he does not change his mind even after that," said the King. "What if he does not change his mind?" asked the princess. "I will be so pleased with him that I won't mind even if he elopes with you!" said the King. "That is fine," said the princess. The very next day the young knight left for the distant town. The same day a messenger from the royal court of Hungary met the Balkan King and said, "Our King wishes to marry your daughter." "My daughter wishes to remain unmarried for five years," said the King. Five years passed. 

The King of Hungary was reminded by his minister that he could now claim the hand of the princess. In order to impress the Balkan King with his humility, the Hungarian King rode all alone towards his destination. On a crossroad, he met a young rider coming from another direction. They talked and somehow the King found the young man funny and foolish. He liked having a companion. They had to cross a river. The young man pulled the reins and became slow. But the enthusiastic King galloped straight into the water. As the horse struck something under the water and gave a sudden jerk, the King would have fallen off the horse. He narrowly escaped fate. "My Lord, you should have carried a bridge with you!" observed the young man. "What nonsense do you speak! Is a bridge a matchbox that one can carry it?" said the King. The young man said nothing. After a while, it rained. The King got drenched. "My Lord, you should have carried your house with you!" observed the young man. "Young man, you don't know how big my house is. To carry it would be a feat which nobody can perform!" said the King.

After an hour the King said, "I am hungry, do you think any food will be available nearby?" "My Lord, you should have carried your father and your mother with you!" said the young man and he shared the food he was carrying with the King. It was evening when they entered the town which was their destination. "My Lord, here lies the royal road to the palace. On this side, there is a dusky lane which I call the road to the fulfillment of five years' plan. Which one will you like to take?" the young man asked. "The royal road, naturally!" said the King. "Go on, My Lord, I will take to the lane," said the young man. They parted ways. The Hungarian King was received most cordially by the host king. "Was the journey smooth?" the host asked. "Well, a funny chap met me on the way. I enjoyed his company, though he made foolish statements. For example, when my horse stumbled in the river, he said that I should have carried a bridge with me," said the King.

"Is that so? I'm afraid, he was not foolish. He was only speaking in a different language! To carry a bridge means to be cautious while crossing the river. For a King like you, your bodyguards should have ridden before you to examine the safety of the road," explained the host. "And when I got drenched, he observed that I should have carried my house with me." "What he meant was, you should have carried your raincoat!" "And when I felt hungry he told me that I should have carried my father and mother with me." said the guest. "In our proverb, father means food and mother means drink. It is because the father provides his child with food and the mother with milk. But who was that young man?" "I don't know. He took a short cut, saying that the road was known as the fulfillment of a five years' plan road." "Five years?" the host gave a start. "Wait, wait," said he and he rushed into the inner apartment of his palace. As he had guessed, he found the princess missing. The young knight had carried her away. Of course, they had not gone far, nor did they intend going far. They were just testing the King who had said that he won't mind even if his daughter eloped with the knight if the knight would wait for five years. When the Hungarian King heard the whole story, he was much amused. He did not mind his own inability to marry the princess. In fact, he was present at the marriage of the princess with the knight and they lived happily for a long time.

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