Bedtime Stories in English - The Strange Rains

 The Strange Rains

Ray and Ben were friends. Ray was intelligent and good-natured. Ben was by no means bad, but he was a simpleton and a talkative fellow. He could never keep a secret. Ray warned him against his habit again and again, over the years, but to no avail. The two friends went to the nearby kingdom, looking for employment. They found work at two different places but stayed together in a deserted building. The building belonged to a landlord who was dead and who had left no heir. It was in ruins. The small portions which still had roofs over them were not safe. However, Ray and Ben took shelter there because they had no other place to go. One night it rained heavily. There was also a cyclonic wind. Ray and Ben sat huddling in a corner of their room, feeling very unsafe. Suddenly a stone pillar in front of their room collapsed. In the lightning, Ray saw a box falling out.

It had laid hidden in the pillar. The rains subsided towards the dawn. Ray drew the box into their room and broke it open. It contained gold coins. "How lucky we are!" exclaimed Ben. "We should be lucky only if you hold your tongue. If you go on telling people about our find, we may have to lose this. According to our contract, we have to be in this town for a week more. Then we can go back and set up some business with this wealth for capital," said Ray. "Right. We should not leave this place right now. That may give rise to suspicion in the minds of others," observed Ben like an intelligent man. But he did not prove intelligent when he went to work. He was found to be smiling and laughing. "What's the matter with you? You seem very happy!" his colleagues remarked. That was sufficient for Ben to confide to his colleagues all about his wonderful luck! "I hope, you have not disclosed this to anybody!" asked Ray at night. "Er-er-no-no-not at all!" replied Ben. From the manner of his talk, Ray knew that he had already spoken about it to some people. Perhaps before long, he will also speak out where they had kept the box. But Ray did not say anything to Ben then. When Ben fell asleep, he carried the box to a field outside the town and buried it under a tree, and returned to the deserted house quietly. The next day he bought some sweets. At night he tiptoed out of the house once again. Along the way, he hung the sweetmeats to the branches of some trees.

A river flowed by the road. Fishermen had set a net and a fish had been caught. Ray took out the fish and put it inside a trap set near a vegetable field for jackals. When he was back at the deserted house, the wind was growing violent. As he anticipated, rains came down. He woke up Ben and said, "Let us remain alert. Who knows if another box of gold won't spring before us?" "Who knows?" agreed Ben. But no pillar collapsed and no box came out. "Ben, there is another deserted house like this one on the other side of the king's palace. Let us pay a visit there. Maybe, we will find some wealth. Rains do strange things in this town!" proposed Ray. Both were on the road soon. "Look here, Ben, rains have made this tree produce a sweet!" Ray said, pointing at a sweetmeat hanging from the branch of a banyan tree." "It is strange. Rains do miracles in this town!" observed Ben. Before long they discovered a dozen more sweets. "Look here, Ben, a fish was trying to be clever. It wanted to enter the vegetable field and eat the cucumbers. But it is caught in the trap!" said Ray.

"Indeed, the rains seem to turn a fish mad!" As they passed by the palace they heard an owl screeching. "The king's father-in-law is under attack from a ghost. It happens in rainy nights. Let's go back," said Ray and he returned towards their lodge. Ben followed him without a word. Three of four days later one morning the king's guards surrounded their room inside the deserted house and caught hold of them. "Where is the box of gold?" they demanded of the two friends. "What box with gold, gentlemen?" asked Ben. "Don't try to fool us!" said the guards. They searched every part of the house but, of course, found nothing! The two friends were led to the king. "Look here, your friend has told his colleagues, in confidence, about your finding gold in that deserted house. How many boxes did you find?" the king asked Ray with a menacing gesture. "My lord, this friend of mine is crazy. He grows more so when it rains at night," replied Ray. The king understood that it will not be easy to elicit facts from Ray. He turned to Ben and demanded, "Tell me, how many boxes did you find?" "Only one, my lord. We could have found another from another house, but we had to go back when we heard your father-in-law shrieking under a ghost's attack." "What?" "My lord, that night the rains resulted in the trees bringing forth sweets!." The king now began to look amazed. 

"What else did the rains do?" he asked. "The rains emboldened a fish to walk up to a vegetable field to eat cucumbers, but..." The king and his courtiers burst into peals of laughter. The king summoned his Chief Intelligence Officer. "You careless officer! Should you not check the information about people before hauling them out of their house? Of these, one is as innocent as a calf, the other is a crackpot. Must we harass such people who have come from neighboring lands?" The officer looked guilty. Ray and Ben were allowed to leave the court. For the two more days they spent in the town, Ben never spoke a word to anybody. Then they set out for their village. "Ray, was there no truth in our finding any treasure? Was it a dream of mine? I'm puzzled," said Ben. "Follow me silently." When they were outside the town, Ray dug out the box, Ben smiled. On reaching home they used the wealth as capital for a business. Ben never did anything against Ray's advice and Ray was particular that Ben was never deprived of his dues.

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