Bedtime Stories in English - Magic Bell and Shung's Nose

 Magic Bell And Shung's Nose

Long, long ago, in ancient China, there was a rich man who had two sons, Shung and Mung. Shung was clever but selfish. Mung too was clever, but totally unselfish. Once the rich man died, Shung got hold of all his father's property and gave Mung nothing. Such was Mung's nature that he never murmured about it. He shifted to a small hut and earned his living by working for the village chieftain. The chieftain had a beautiful daughter who was very sympathetic towards Mung. She even thought of marrying him, but she knew that her father would not agree to the proposal, for Mung was so poor. One day Mung was sent to the town to buy some sugar candies for the chieftain's household. It became night when he returned from the town. He was eager to reach home fast. In order to make a short cut, he climbed a range of small hills. Suddenly he slipped and went along a slope down to a hidden valley. The sugar candies were scattered. He heard some giggles. In the moonlight, he saw a number of strange creatures collecting the candies and eating them. "Stop!" someone shouted. "Don't eat all of them. Keep some to be taken after our dinner." Mung saw that the one to pass this command was a spirit who sported a pair of horns. Obviously, he was the leader of the group. The spirits then carried Mung into a cave. Mung pretended to have swooned away.

"Let him lie there. In the morning he can go home," said the horned spirit. "What dinner should we have?" asked a spirit. "Ring the bell for sweetened rice, milk, bananas, and two curries with assortments of delicious vegetables," said the leader. The spirits brought out a bell. One of them uttered the items one by one and rang the bell once after every time he named an item. The items began to appear in heaps in front of the spirits. They ate them with great relish. Then they disappeared. At midnight Mung got up and picked up the bell. Hiding it under his loose garments, he walked away as quickly as he could. In the morning he reported the loss of sugar candies to the village chieftain and also told him all about the magic bell. The chieftain could not believe him but when he produced food by ringing the bell, the chieftain was delighted. Mung was no longer required to work. He was just required to use the bell thrice every day, during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The chieftain's family had the most delicious items. Although the mystery of the bell was not known widely, Shung's wife learned about it from Mung. She told her husband, "You too should explore the hills. Maybe, you will meet the spirits. They must be having more magic bells or other equally wonderful things. Try to get hold of something." One night Shung climbed the hills with sugar candies and deliberately fell down a slope. He heard some excited clamoring: "Here comes the fellow once again, the fellow who escaped with our magic bell."

Shung remembered that he looked like Mung and that is why the spirits mistook him to be his brother. He tried to tell that he was not Mung. But they did not hear. They led him into their cave and the horned spirit said, "He should be punished, Pull his nose!" One by one the spirits pulled his nose and his nose began to grow. They let him go when the nose had been several yards long. "Kindly tell me how my nose will become normal," he pleaded with the leader of the spirits, before leaving the cave. "You have the magic bell with you. Ask it to shorten your nose as you must be asking it for food!" replied the leader. Shung ran and ran and reached home very late at night. His wife was eagerly waiting for him. "What have you brought?" she asked. "A long nose. Oh, please don't step on it!" he shouted. Alas, the end of the long nose was lying on the threshold of the house and the lady had stepped on it. She shrieked in horror when she realized what had happened to Shung. "No use crying. Go to Mung and request him to lend the magic bell to us for a while," said Shung, folding his nose and holding it carefully. His wife knocked on the village chieftain's house and requested the servants to call Mung. Mung heard from her all about his brother's predicament and rushed in to fetch the magic bell. The chieftain's daughter had woken up meanwhile. She too heard everything. At once a new idea came to her. She told Mung, "Now it is clear that the bell can grant not only food but other things as well. Before we hand it over to your sister-in-law let us try it for some wealth."

The chieftain's daughter told the bell, "Can you give us a million gold ingots?" she rang the bell. They had small gold bricks, a million in number, in front of them. They locked the room and then Mung carried the bell to his brother's house. Shung with his fantastic nose looked funny and pitiable. Mung was very sorry to see him. He said, "Let Shung's nose become shorter!" and rang it. The nose became shorter by an inch. Mung repeated his words again and again and rang the bell and every time Shung's nose became shorter by an inch. Shung's wife grew impatient. "Must the process be so long? Can't you do it hurriedly?" she shouted. Then, snatching the bell away from Mung's hands, she beat it hard repeatedly, shouting, "Let Shung's nose became smaller, smaller, smaller!" Because of the force she applied, the bell suddenly cracked and broke. Meanwhile, the nose had grown so small that it was hardly there! "What did you do?" shrieked Shung looking at the mirror. But the bell was gone! They could not ask it to make the nose slightly bigger." Shung remained like that, to his great anguish. Mung had become the richest man in the kingdom because of the million gold ingots. The chieftain was only too happy to marry his daughter to him!

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