Folktales With Morals - A Drama Within A Drama

A Drama Within A Drama

Garry showed no interest in his studies. When he discontinued going to school, his mother advised him to take up a job. She was even prepared to sell away her ornaments to provide him with capital, should he wish to do any business. But Garry showed no interest in any of these proposals either. His joy lay in acting in plays. He had appeared on stage two or three times. But there was no much scope for acting in that village area. "Garry, your talent will flourish only if you go over to the town where there are several drama troupes. You can surely join one of them!" his friends told him. That inspired Garry. One day he set out for the town. It did not take long to understand that it was not so easy to join any drama troupe. The directors would take only experienced actors. There was no one in the town to certify that Garry had some experience in acting. To his good luck, he met Sam, a budding director, who had newly formed a theatrical party. Sam was willing to give Garry a trial. What is more, he let Garry share his lodge. He had taken the house on rent from a landlord who lived in the next house. Garry got a good role in the play, the rehearsal for which was going on. His was the role of a young man who left home even without his mother's knowledge. The young man's maternal uncle had traced him and was persuading him to return home. Because Garry joined the troupe late, Sam wanted that he should practice his part even when he was alone.

"Let me see how well you remember your part," Sam told Garry, leading him to the backyard of their lodge. Sam acted the part of the maternal uncle. This is how the dialogue went on:
Sam: "My boy, your mother's condition is very serious. You may not be able to see her alive unless you proceed home immediately.
Garry: "I am firm in my decision. I will not return home. Please do not waste your time on me."
After a few more lines of dialogue, Sam left the lodge to attend to some other work. There was still sunlight in the backyard. Garry stood there reading the script. Suddenly his attention went over to someone on the other side of the wall. Through a big hole in the wall, he saw a stranger, bearded and in colorful robes, keenly observing him. At first, Garry felt fear. He turned to move away. But, "Wait, you young man!" said the stranger. The old man's voice was quite commanding. Garry stopped and looked at the old man again. Behind him stood a huge mansion, looking like a haunted house. "Don't be afraid of me. Come closer!" commanded the stranger. Garry slowly advanced towards the wall. "Take your uncle's advice and go back to your home immediately. You will be sinning if you let your mother suffer," said the old man. Garry understood that the old man had mistaken the dialogues to be true. At once an idea flashed in his mind. He said, "Sir, I should be willing to go. But my village is far. I have no passage money."

The old man laughed. "Since your uncle has come all the way to take you back, he must have brought money with him. Never mind. I am ready to help you," he said and walked away. In a few minutes, he was back carrying a small bag. He handed it over to Garry, saying, "Leave for your village as early as you can!" "I will do so, sir!" said Garry. Back in his room, Garry opened the bag eagerly. It contained fifty coins. He was very happy with his cleverness. He hid the bag under his pillow. Talking to Sam at night he understood that the stranger he had met was the landlord, a very generous, though whimsical, man. The next day, in the afternoon, Garry had to recite the dialogue once again with Sam. Sam left in a few minutes, instructing Garry to get the words by heart. Garry noticed the landlord slowly approaching the wall. He waited. As expected, the landlord demanded to know, "Why are you still here?" "Sir, I would have left today. The problem is, I have not been able to pay for the hotel where I have been taking food." "How much do you owe them?" "About a hundred coins, sir." "Wait!" The landlord turned back and strode into his mansion. Garry waited, suppressing his amusement. The old man was back in ten minutes, with yet another bag in his hand. "I agree that you should repay your loan before leaving the town. Here is the amount, perhaps a little more than you'll need. Now, my boy, you must start for your village right in the morning."

Garry pretended to be moved by the landlord's gesture. As soon as the landlord was out of his sight, he gleefully opened the bag and counted the money. It was an amount of one hundred and twenty coins. He felt proud of his own cleverness and wondered if it would be possible for him to extract some more money out of the old man. But he could not hit upon any new plan. "I came to the town only the other day. I have already earned a good amount of money. With the passing of days I shall surely have much greater success," he told himself. The next day Sam led Garry to the backyard once again, saying, "Today we will rehearse the next scene. As you know, you are not to say anything, but only to give an expression of sorrow and guilt. Now, let me recite the uncle's part. Let your face express the right kind of emotion." Sam then looked at the script and said, "My son, you did not pay heed to my advice. Your mother breathed her last, heart-broken. It is for your cruel conduct that I lost my godly sister!" "What! Is that chap still here?" shouted an angry voice. Sam was startled to see the landlord suddenly emerging from the hole on the wall. Garry's face paled. "Why did you accept money from me if you had decided not to go?" the landlord asked Garry. Garry was unable to speak. "Why don't you answer?" The landlord's voice grew louder and sterner. 

"Sir, I don't really understand what you say. We are in the midst of rehearsing a play. Who took money from you?" Sam enquired. "Play? Do you mean to say that this boy deceived me?" asked the angry landlord. He then shouted for two of his servants. At the landlord's instruction, they searched Garry's room and recovered the two money bags. "Sir, I knew nothing about this. Please do not misunderstand me," Sam said apologetically. "I have no complaint against you. But you ought to be sure of a fellow's character before you grant shelter to him. "I am at fault, sir," admitted Sam. The landlord and his servants went away. Sam fixed his gaze on Garry and said, "Well, boy, please leave my house, with your bag and baggage. I have nothing to do with a cheat." Garry left, hiding his tears. He was no cheat, but he had tried to play clever, rather too clever! but there was nothing he could do now and decided not to repeat the mistake again in his life.

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