Bedtime Audio Stories in English - Man And The Spirits

 Man And The Spirits

In a remote village lived Sandy. He grew all sorts of vegetables and fruits in the backyard of his house and managed to make both ends meet by selling these in the nearby town. One day Sandy got delayed in town. Darkness had already set in by the time he hurried homewards. On the way, it suddenly started to rain. Sandy quickly ran to take shelter under a big tamarind tree. Suddenly he saw fire under another tamarind tree in the distance. Three spirits sat talking around the bright fire. They looked gloomy. A frightened cry escaped Sandy's mouth. At the sound of his cry, the strange creatures began to laugh. "Come, come and sit beside the fire and warm yourself. Are you not from the nearby village? Can you tell us what important things are going to happen in your village tomorrow?" they asked. Their warm welcome gave Sandy the courage to join them around the fire. "No," he answered, "I'm not an astrologer. How can I say?" "Then listen carefully to us," said the spirits. The first one swallowed a mouthful of fire and said, "The neem tree in your village school has been dangerously leaning to the right. Tomorrow it will crash on the school roof." The second one placed a handful of fire on his head and said, "Tomorrow evening the elephant pulling the deity's car will suddenly go mad!." The third one put his face into the fire and said, "Tomorrow night the embankments of your lake will burst!."

And then, before Sandy's very eyes, the spirits along with the fire disappeared into thin air. After the rain stopped Sandy returned to his village and went straight to the headmaster of the school and told him of the spirit's prophecy. In the morning the frightened headmaster declared the school closed and sent all the children back home. Hardly had the children left when with a thundering crash, the neem tree came down on the school roof smashing a great part of the old house. News spread about the truth of the spirits' prediction. People flocked to Sandy's house to hear more. He told them of the second spirit's warning. The villagers wasted no time in taking the temple elephant into the jungles. Then they left him tied in iron fetters. In the evening it was reported that the elephant had truly gone mad. It had broken its shackles and rushed madly deeper into the jungles. By this time Sandy had already told the villagers of the third spirit's warning. The village people armed with a basketful of mud and pebble went to the lake. Late in the night, it started to rain. The lake quickly filled up with water. Suddenly, on one side the embankment cracked. But the people were ready and they immediately filled the crack and reinforced it with fresh plaster and pebbles. The villagers were in a jubilant mood. They filled Sandy's house with all kinds of presents. But the villagers were not satisfied. "Sandy, you have saved us only from one day's calamities. What about tomorrow? Please go and ask your spirit friends." The next evening Sandy went into the tamarind grove and waited fearlessly for the spirits to appear.

"Didn't what we'd said come true?" they asked suddenly appearing before Sandy. "They did. All the three things that you had predicted happened. The village folk has sent me to ask you what you have to say for tomorrow," said Sandy. One of the spirits took a piece of flaming coal and keeping it on his palm said, "There will be a robbery in the landlord's house tomorrow." Another said, "Tomorrow the village headman's daughter is getting married. A poisonous lizard will fall in the sweet preparations made for the bridegroom's people." So saying the spirits became invisible again. Sandy hastened back to warn the village folk of tomorrow's predictions. Due care and precautions were taken the next day at the landlord's and the headman's house. The robbers came but fled. The lizard was detected and the preparation was thrown away. Overnight Sandy became popular. People visited him in great numbers. Some came with different gifts and some with money. Sandy no longer needed to go to the nearby town to sell his vegetables. He had everything he wanted. One early morning the landlord of the village came to Sandy and said, "Brother, please be kind enough to ask the spirits when I shall be blessed with a son. Here, take fifty gold coins as advance." Soon after came a gentleman from the neighboring village and said, "I'm an ordinary businessman. My forefathers were rich merchants. So my wife wants me to be a merchant too. Will you please ask the spirits if I'll make a successful merchant? Please accept these fifty gold coins for your services."

Many other village folks came to sandy with their problems. By the end of the day, Sandy had five hundred coins. That night he went to the tamarind grove with the money in a bag. "Come, come," said the spirits who were already sitting around a fire. Sandy approached them and said, "I have something new to suggest. Landlords, businessmen, and ordinary men alike come to me with their problems so that I would bring them answers from you. This piece of paper is a list of questions. You have to provide answers to each of them. It's a deal. Here, take this bag of money for the beginning. It's a good business. I don't have to work anymore for a living." The moment Sandy finished what he had to say the spirits tore the piece of paper with questions and along with the money bag threw the shreds into the fire. Their faces were red with anger. "You fool, don't come back here again. Even if you do, you won't be able to see us anymore." Then the spirits disappeared. Sandy stood rooted to his spot. The spirits were gone and so had the money people had given him in advance for the answers to their problems. How was he to return it to them? All night he sat there, thinking and thinking. Early next morning an elderly pilgrim was passing through the tamarind grove. Seeing Sandy he stopped and asked, "Son, why do you look so sad and troubled?" Sandy blurted out the whole story and wondered why the spirits got annoyed with him. 

The elderly man said, "Son, didn't you know that the spirits have no need for money? In their human birth, they must have done some wrong deeds. That's why they are haunting the forests. They wanted to atone for their sins by doing something good but you spoilt their mood by offering them money for their help. That's why they became angry." Sandy went back home soothed by the pilgrim's kind words, he returned to those people whatever money he could and started life anew by working hard. With time the memory of the spirits faded and Sandy thought of it only as an uncomfortable dream.

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