Bedtime Stories in English - The Strange Crown

 The Strange Crown

There was a kingdom in ancient China, the kings of which used to put on a strange cap. It was made of the skin of a jackal. Why? Well, we must tell you the full story behind it in order to answer the question. In the olden days there lived a young man named Atang in a small hut on the outskirts of a village. He had no property except the small land surrounding his hut. But that was enough to sustain him. How? Surely, this too is a natural question. The answer is on his land stood a pomegranate tree. Whoever had once tasted the fruit, would give any price for enjoying it again. No wonder that Atang's pomegranates were famous. He had raised a wall around his small land and, at night, slept under the tree so that no thief could plunder it. One morning he saw that a number of ripe pomegranates were missing from the tree. He found no human footprint on the ground. He was surprised. He was even more surprised the next day when he found even more pomegranates gone! Atang pretended to sleep but kept awake during the next night. Soon after midnight, he saw a jackal entering through a hole in the wall and jumping at a fruit. Atang got up. The jackal began to run. Atang gave it a chase and caught hold of its tail when it entered the hole. But the jackal slipped away. In the morning Atang deposited some strong gum in the passage. When the jackal entered it again, it got stuck in the gum. It could not free itself however it tried. 

Atang laughed and said, "So, there you are!" "Atang, kindly free me. I will do you much good," said the jackal. Atang was astonished to hear the jackal talk like a man. "Good God! You can talk!" he exclaimed. "I can talk and I can do much more. In fact, I am a wizard turned into a jackal under a curse. Set me free and see what I do for you," said the jackal. "All said and done, you are now only a jackal. What good can you do to me?" asked Atang. "I repeat, I can do much. I can even arrange for your marriage with the princess," said the jackal. "Is that so? Very good, let me see you do that," said Atang lightly and he set the jackal free and removed the gum from its body by applying oil to it. As soon as it was morning, the jackal swam across the river and reached the king's palace. He met the king and said, "My lord, I hear that you have a special sieve which can sift good gems from cheap ones. Can I borrow it for two days?" "It is astonishing that a jackal can talk like a man and that too fluently. But why do you need the sieve?" asked the king. "His Highness King Atang has a heap of gems. He wishes to find out the best ones for making an ornament for his would-be bride," answered the jackal. "King Atang? I never heard of him." "How can you hear of him? He lives in his castle in the forest of Tung. He does not care to come out," said the jackal. "But isn't the forest of Tung under a giant's occupation?" asked the king. "It was the kingdom of a giant. But the mighty king Atang tamed the giant and captured his castle. He is a great wizard," said the jackal.

The jackal came back with the sieve after two days. Some colorful stones were found stuck in the sieve. "Indeed, the sieve was used to sift gems!" observed the princess who saw it. "Who is going to marry King Atang?" she asked. "We have not yet decided. I wish I found a beautiful princess like you!" said the jackal. The princess blushed and looked at her father. "Jackal, Sir, Why don't you propose my daughter's marriage with your king?" said the king. "I am authorized to finalize any proposal if I find it good enough. Well, let us fix the date," said the jackal. The king was happy. The date of the wedding was fixed. The jackal went back and brought Atang with him on the appointed day. Atang was in his soiled clothes. The jackal kept him standing in the river and ran to the king and said, feigning sorrow, "My lord, King Atang was coming with his party. A sudden flood swept the members of the party. But lucky is the princess, for, her bridegroom is alive. However, his royal robes got soiled. He took it off in disgust and threw it to the current. He is now standing amidst the river." The king rushed to the river bank with new robes. Atang put on new clothes and marched to the castle. The wedding was performed. Atang spent some days happily in the royal castle. Now he must return home. "Are we to expect some people from Tung who will escort our son-in-law and daughter?" the king asked the jackal. "They are already camping on the other side of the river. I forbade them to cross the river lest there is once again a flood," said the jackal. 

Some merchants were camping on the other side of the river. The jackal met them in advance and said, "Take care! Bandits are coming!" "What should we do?" the leader of the merchants asked in a panic. "You are the wisest jackal on the earth, for you can talk. You can surely save us." "You sing the glory of King Atang. No bandit will dare to harm you." counseled the jackal. "Hail King Atang!" shouted the merchants. The king, bidding goodbye to his daughter and Atang on his side of the river, was impressed. Atang and his wife proceeded towards the forest, as advised by the jackal. The jackal ran ahead of them and was soon in the giant's castle. The giant had grown old. The jackal told him, "I'm sorry to inform you that the king is leading his large army to conquer your castle." "But, I am old and sick and am unable to fight!" lamented the giant. "Hide under a stack of wood. I will see to it that no harm comes to you," said the jackal. The giant did as advised. Atang occupied his castle. People of the forest who used to look upon the giant as their king now accepted Atang as their king. The giant lived in hiding till his death. The good jackal used to feed him without fail. Years later the jackal died. Atang wept and made a cap out of its skin. That became the hereditary crown of the dynasty that began with him.

For Audio Story Check Below:

For More Bedtime Stories Click Here