Bedtime Audio Stories - The Demon's Dream

 The Demon's Dream

In a village, a few miles off the sea coast lived a farmer. His wife had died long back leaving behind a son called Sam. Sam was not a very bright boy. When he became a man the farmer married him to an intelligent girl, Sheila. One day, while Sam was doing some carpentry in the backyard of his house, three pot-bellied bearded men appeared before him. "Young man our King who is the lord of the oceans wishes to see you. Come with us," said one of the men. Sam opened his eyes wide with astonishment. "Why does your King want to see me?" he asked. "Our King has been informed that you are the cleverest man in this kingdom. Therefore he wishes to honor you in his court," said another one of them. Sam swelled with pride. "You are right, but my father is cleverer than I am. Why don't you wait for a little? He should be coming in a short while." "Our king will be pleased if both of you come. He'll give you good jobs in the palace. But we don't have time to spare now. Come to the seashore tomorrow morning. We shall be waiting for you." So saying the three strange-looking men departed. When the farmer returned home after his day's work in the fields, Sam told him all about the three visitors. "Father, we shouldn't let this golden opportunity slip out of our hands. Imagine, no more slogging in the fields, no more woodwork, no worry about food and clothing. Oh, it's going to be fun!" 

"But, son, did those men carry any seal or letter from the King?" "No. But, father, why do you bother about formalities? Just think of it. Tomorrow we're going to meet the King of the seas! All we have to do is reach the seashore." "The sea is quite a few miles away from here. I can't walk that far. If you can make some arrangements to ease the strain of the journey, I'll come along," said the farmer. Sam took his problem to his wife. "Now, how do I take father to the shore?" he asked her. "Easy. Hold his attention by telling one story after another and before he realizes he'll have reached his destination. But you'd better select some really interesting stories," said Sheila, laughing. Early next morning father and son set out for the distant shore. Sam narrated the stories Sheila had told him the previous night. Soon they reached the vast expanse of sparkling water. A boat was tied to the rocks and three men were already waiting. "Sam, these are demons," whispered the farmer. But it was too late for them to back out. One of the demons helped them into the boat and proudly said, "Our King is impatient for your arrival. He has sent his fastest boat." The demons plunged the oars swiftly in. The boat sped over the waves. After a short while, they stopped at a desolate island. There were no plants, trees, creepers or any sign of vegetation. The island was a veritable desert.

The farmer and Sam were led into a dark cave where the demon king sat. He was uglier than his messengers. "Why have you called us?" asked the farmer impatiently. "Follow me," said the demon King and he led the farmer and Sam into yet another cave in which there stood a huge pot with intricate designs on it. "You see that. I have stolen that magic pot from the gods," said the king and patted his mustache. "You become immortal if you eat food cooked in that pot. But, only if the food is cooked by human beings does the magic work. That's why I have brought you here. To help us demons attain immortality. If by tomorrow you do not finish the cooking you will be thrown into the sea." The demon king walked out. The guards immediately bolted the cave door from outside. "We are trapped father," said Sam, a sad man. "Don't worry son, I'll get us out of here." After raking his brains for some time the farmer knocked on the cave door. A guard opened it. "Take me to the King." The farmer was taken to the King. "O King, in order to light the fire for the cooking I need two cartloads of sandalwood." "Sandalwood? We don't have any kind of wood on our island," burst out the demon king. "Don't worry, I have enough sandalwood in my house," said the farmer. "Good, My men will fetch them immediately." "But, O King, my daughter-in-law is a little stupid. Seeing strangers she'll ask a thousand annoying questions. Why don't you send the Prince? Seeing his royal face, she'll immediately comply with your request. And tell her we couldn't come because we are at present lame and that we have asked her to treat the prince in a fitting manner."

The King was pleased. He sent his son along with his men to fetch the wood. When the demon Prince and the other demons reached the farmer's house, Sheila was anxiously waiting for some news of her husband and father-in-law. When she got his message saying that they were lame she immediately understood that they had been deprived of their freedom. She also understood what will be the fitting manner of treating the Prince. "Please come this way," said Sheila very sweetly to the Prince. "The wood is stacked here." She led the Prince into a dark room with a thick iron door. The moment he stepped in, Sheila bolted the door from outside and locked it. Then she said, "My father-in-law and husband are not the only lame people. Now you're a lame man too." Sheila next went to the other three demons who were waiting at the threshold of the house and in a tearful voice said, "Look what happened to your prince. As soon as he entered the room the door closed and got locked by itself, what do I do? The key is with my father-in-law," wailed Sheila. The foolish demons returned to their island and reported everything to their King. The King called the farmer and Sam and told them that they had to go back to their village to set his trapped son free. "Well, your Highness, we are really not anxious to return home. We came for earning money. My daughter-in-law will not feed us unless we show her our income!" said the farmer. The demon King gave them enough gold to last a lifetime to ensure his son's safe return. For the moment, due to anxiety, the demon King forgot his dreams of immortality. The farmer and his son returned to their village, set the Prince free, and thereafter lived very comfortably. 

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