Bedtime Stories for Kids - All for A JackFruit

All For A Jack-Fruit 

Sam was returning home from the office, but he was feeling unhappy. It was because his wife Roma, had asked him for jackfruit, but he had not been able to secure one. Roma was performing some ritual spread over three days. She had promised to offer a jackfruit to the deity. Two days had already passed. If he cannot find a jackfruit by tomorrow, Roma will consider her ritual fruitless. That will terribly depress her. "Couldn't you find a jackfruit even today?" asked Roma the moment her eyes fell on Sam. "No, but I have just heard of a weekly market outside the town. It is sitting today. I will go and I hope I'd find a jackfruit there," said Sam. Roma looked happy. Sam soon left for the market. There was only one jackfruit with a fruit seller. But while Sam was haggling over its price, another customer promptly paid whatever the seller demanded and walked away with it. Probably he too needed it badly for a ritual. Sam was new to the place. He did not know where else he could find a jackfruit. He was walking back to his home at a leisurely pace when he happened to look at the compound of a posh house. There were many trees bearing flowers and fruit. Among them stood a jackfruit tree with a number of fruits hanging from it. He crossed into the compound and tapped on the door of the house. A well-dressed lady opened the door with a frown. "Your tree abounds in jackfruit. Can I buy one?" asked Sam after courtesying to the lady.

"What did you say? Buy a jackfruit of us? How generous of you. But, for your information, we are not fruit sellers. You may go." The lady showed him the way. "Pardon me, but I am badly in need of one. If you won't sell one, give me one on loan. I promise to return a more plumpy jackfruit," said Sam entreatingly. "Who is asking you for a more plumpy jackfruit? We are quite happy with our poor quality ones. Now begone!" The lady rudely shut the door on his face. Sam came out of the compound in a huff. Almost trembling with indignation, he took a grim decision: "I shall steal a jackfruit at night!" he told himself. He came back home and said to Roma, "I bought a jackfruit but I had to leave it at a friend's place because I carried no bag with me. I have an invitation to dinner at the friend's house. I shall bring the jackfruit along when I return after dinner. Don't worry if I am late." He went out again in the early hours of the night, this time with a bag and a knife. He dined in a hotel and leisurely reached his destination on the outskirts of the town. All was quiet. There was nobody to watch him. He scaled the wall surrounding the compound and went near the tree with cautious steps. He chose a ripe fruit and cut it off the tree and put it in his bag. But what he suddenly saw in the faint moonlight gave him the creeps. Someone crouched on the ground a few yards away and gazed at him. Sam found out that the man was digging a pit.

Sam thought of running away. But how far can he run? He must stop near the wall which he cannot climb swiftly. The man might shout and he may be caught. He walked towards the man and said in a whisper, "I needed a jackfruit urgently and was ready to buy or take one on loan. But the lady of the house was very rude to me. That is why..." "So you are the chap who met my wife this morning! Please don't mind her conduct. Why one, take two jackfruits!" said the man. Sam understood that the gentleman was the head of the house. "I am so glad to have your permission, sir, but what are you doing at this hour all alone?" he asked. "That is a sad story. My wife had a pet cat. She left for her father's house a week ago asking me to look after the cat properly. This morning the cat saw a butterfly on my shawl and jumped to catch it. The shawl got torn. In a fit of anger, I gave a blow to the cat. It fell dead. I put it in a bag and hid it. My wife was back this afternoon. When she looked for her cat I told her that it was missing. She has refused to take food! I waited till she fell asleep. Will you please help me in digging the pit a bit deeper?" said the gentleman. "Gladly." Sam took the gentleman's crowbar and started digging. Suddenly the door of the house opened and the gentleman's wife asked in a shrill voice, "What are you doing there? Enjoying moonlight, eh?" "Let me go," the gentleman whispered to Sam, "Please bury the cat which is in the bag and sneak away. By the way please take two jackfruits or even more if you want..."

The gentleman disappeared into his house. The door was closed. Sam felt relieved. He buried the cat hurriedly and scaled the wall and walked towards his house. He was very happy with the success of his mission. "Hey! What are you carrying at this unearthly hour?" Sam was confronted by two guards patrolling the streets. "Nothing much, only jackfruit," answered Sam. "A jackfruit at midnight? We had never known such a lover of jackfruit!" said one of the guards and he gave a beating to Sam's bag. "Miaow!" came the sound from the bag. "Good God! Whoever had heard a jackfruit crying out like a cat!" The guards opened Sam's bag a little and peeped in and found a cat inside. They looked at each other and looked at Sam with great surprise. Why should a fellow carry a cat at midnight? And why should he bluff saying that it was a jackfruit? The answers to these questions were beyond them. Sam understood that he had bungled thins, that he had buried the bag with the jackfruit instead of the bag with the cat. "I think we should detain the fellow and produce him before the magistrate in the morning," one of the guards said. The other agreed. "Sir, this fellow was loitering in the streets at night. On being questioned by us, he said that he was carrying a jackfruit, but what he was really carrying was a cat!" the guards reported.

Sam and the magistrate kept looking at each other with amusement. The magistrate was none other than the gentleman Sam had met at night. Feigning gravity the magistrate told the guards, "Are you kids so naive that you don't understand the situation? Who but a wizard moves about at night with a cat? You may go away!" After the guards left the magistrate burst into a laugh and said, "So, my friend, in your hurry you buried the jackfruit. I am grateful to you and very happy that the cat is alive! My wife will be delighted to get back her pet." The magistrate sent his servant to fetch a jackfruit from his garden. He patted Sam on the back and said, "Come again. We are now friends. I should narrate the whole comedy to my wife one day in your presence. She is moody and rather crude in her talk, but she is a good-hearted lady otherwise, you know." When Sam reached his home, the lady of the neighboring house told him, "Where were you missing son? Poor Roma has had such an anxious time." Sam could not reply anything but smiled at his situation.

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