Bedtime Stories in English - Dumb Billy's Lost Luck

 Dumb Billy's Lost Luck

Billy was a young villager. He was poor, but what was worse, he was dumb. A disease in childhood had deprived him of his power of speech. He had a flock of sheep. He led his sheep to a pasture which was very close to the forest. This he did day after day. One day he found one of his lambs missing. He began searching for it in the forest. He did not know when he entered quite deep into the forest. Unfortunately, he could not shout for his lost lamb. He could only look for it here and there. His eyes fell on a cave. Was the lamb hiding inside it? He wondered. To his joy, he heard the bleating of the lamb. He entered the cave. He found it to be a tunnel rather than a cave. But as he looked into the tunnel, he felt paralyzed with fear. There, at the farthest end of the tunnel was an apparition that Billy took to be a ghost. But before long he understood that it was not a ghost, but a skeleton. Perhaps somebody sat there doing some kind of penance and had died in that condition. Near the skeleton was a jug. Billy was awfully thirsty. He saw that there was water in the jug. He drank it up. "What a satisfaction!" he said. Next moment he was surprised and delighted. How could he speak? He had been dumb for years! No doubt, the water had magic in it. He jumped with joy. Then, carrying his lamb, he came out of the cave. He observed that somehow his lamb had lost its tail. He said in a murmur, "What a pity that mine will be the only lamb in the village to be without a tail. I wish, all the lambs in the village lost their tails." 

What a surprise it was for everybody to find out that all the lambs in the village had lost their tails. The villagers began to discuss the strange happening, but nobody had any explanation for it. Billy was not very intelligent, but he was not a complete fool either. He understood that the magic water which gave him the power to speak had also given him greater power. Whatever he uttered would become true! Well, he could contain his pride for a full day, but not longer than that. He told one of his friends about his secret power, the friend told his friend, and that friend told his friend. Within half a day everybody in the village knew about the strange power of Billy. The next day the village landlord's manager met him privately. "Dear Billy, I have something to tell you. Will you please come to my house?" Billy felt very important. He happily followed the manager. He was sumptuously fed by the manager. The manager said, "Dear boy, do me a favor. Just say that the landlord should die! Your word will become true. Then I will become the new landlord!" "How can I do such a thing?" Billy said with horror. "Then, you become a prisoner in my house!" said the manager. And, true to his threat, he locked up Billy in a room. "Only if this fellow died...I," said Billy at midnight, angry with the manager. A little later he heard cries. Someone opened his room and he heard that the manager had suddenly collapsed and died.

Billy thought that it was not safe for him to live in that village. He decided to settle down in another village on the other side of the forest. He led his flock and began crossing the forest. Suddenly a gang of bandits surrounded him. "Don't think that I am an ordinary man. I can bring death to you all!" he shouted. The bandits were amused. They were laughing when a tiger pounced on a sheep of Billy. "Death to you, you tiger!" shouted Billy. Lo and behold! The tiger lay dead. The bandits were so panicky at this that they left Billy and fled. A new idea struck Billy. "If I can change my sheep to tigers, no danger will come upon them!" he said and then shouted, looking at his flock, "Become tigers!" Instantly his sheep became tigers. Billy proudly led them through the forest. But as he emerged on the other side, the villagers who saw him with his tigers were terror-stricken. They ran away and some of them reported the matter to the king. The king sent his minister to verify the unusual report. The minister marked that while Billy's flock consisted of tigers, instead of roaring, they were bleating! 

"Young man! You seem to know magic!" shouted the minister from a safe distance. "Of course, I know!" said Billy. Realizing that he was already outside the forest and there was no danger to his flock, he said, "Become sheep!" They became sheep. The minister came near him and invited him to visit the king's court. Billy obliged him. The minister whispered to the king, "This young man has miraculous powers. But he does not seem to be intelligent or wise. If our enemies get him, they will be able to do us great harm. We better give him all the comforts and keep him in our court." The king appreciated the advice. Billy was made a courtier. He was given a beautiful house to live in. Servants were at his command. Arrangements were made for him to enjoy delicious dishes. But he felt bored. Soon the soldier assigned to guard his house became his friend. "Sir, you can do anything you like, can't you? Why don't you propose to marry the princess? She is the king's only child. And you know how beautiful she is. If you marry her, one day you will become the king!" The idea appealed to Billy. He went to the king and put forth the proposal.

The king sat speechless for a moment. He could not displease Billy. At the same time, it was out of the question to agree to his proposal. "My young friend, we will talk it over. Let's sit for dinner!" said the king. Billy joined the king for dinner. Just as he would begin eating, a question arose in his mind, "Why did the king suddenly decide to entertain him to dinner? Is the food safe? Is there no poison mixed with it? The question terrified him so much that he felt giddy. He feared that he had already consumed poison. "I wish I could go back to my old good days when I was dumb and without such powers!" he unknowingly blurted as he swooned away. Alas, he had become dumb when he was revived. The king took pity on him and sent him to his village with his flock of sheep and some money. 

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