Story From Arabian Nights - The King And His Page

The King And His Page

 The young king was in the forest for hunting. He was there with a number of bodyguards. Bihkard was his name. King Bihkard ran after a deer. It was a swift little creature that escaped from the sight time and again. The king asked his page to follow the deer from another direction. When they and the deer were thus playing hide and seek, with a swish an arrow passed by the king, making a hole in his right ear! The king soon recovered from his shock and asked in an angry growl, "Who did this?" Well, it was the page. He had aimed at the deer. The king suddenly jumped forward and got the wound. King Bihkard was not known for being kind or merciful to anybody. The page trembled with fear thinking of his fate. And his fear proved true when the king pronounced his judgment, "Put the fellow to death!" The page fell at his feet.

"Your Highness!" he cried out. "I never meant this to happen. I never knew that you will come between the deer and me. Be merciful to me. God will be merciful to you when you are in danger." For once the King Bihkard was moved. The page had very pleasing manners and the king liked him. He let him live. After a few days, the page disappeared from the palace. The king looked for him, but he was not to be seen anywhere in the kingdom. Days passed. One day the king sailed for a small island in the sea. The island was in his possession and he visited it once a year. A storm broke out. The king's boat was swept deeper into the sea by a violent wind. Then it dashed against a submerged rock and sank. The king lay on the floating mast. After a full day and a night, narrowly escaping a whale, he came ashore. It was another kingdom. In tattered clothes and disheveled hair, he looked like a wandering lunatic. It was night when he found his way to the king's castle. He knew nobody in that land. He felt ashamed of calling himself a king before the guards of the castle. He found a dark nook and sat down there, leaning against a wall. He had fallen asleep when some guards gave him a shake. He opened his eyes and in no time found himself arrested. "Why did you kill this fellow?" he asked. King Bihkard looked with astonishment and saw a dead body lying near him. Nobody believed him when he said that he knew nothing about the killing. He was produced before the king who sent him to jail.

"I'm lucky that the king did not order for my head to be cut off!" he thought, for he was in the habit of passing orders rashly himself!" "How many innocent fellows I must have punished with death?" he wondered. He had begun to take stock of his own follies. A crow perched in the small window of the prison house and cawed hoarsely. Bihkard picked up a stone and hurled it at the crow. It did not hit the target but shot out through the window. "I see, I am still rash in my action," Bihkard said, taking himself to the task. Two minutes had passed when the prison door was hastily opened. A pair of hefty sepoys lifted King Bihkard and threw him outside, in front of a group of young men. The group included the prince of the land. He was playing with some youths of noble families when the stone hurled by Bihkard hit his left ear. He bled. "Put this lousy fellow to death!" said the prince. The seapoys pulled Bihkard by his arms. He was being dragged away when the prince shouted, "Stop!" The prince came closer to Bihkard and gazed at his right ear.

"What caused this hole in your ear?" he asked. "O, noble prince! Once a young man pierced my right ear with his arrow, as unintentionally as I wounded you in your left ear," replied Bihkard. "And what did you do to that young man?" "I let him go unpunished." "Don't you think that you too deserve to go unpunished, King Bihkard?" The prisoner was startled at being called by his name. He looked at the prince intently and recognized him, but did not dare to ask if he was not his page a couple of years ago. But the young man stepped forward and embraced Bihkard and said, "You have recognized me all right. I was your page. I had left my father's palace after a misunderstanding with him. Wandering here and there, I had taken employment with you. My father's spies found me out and told me how sincerely my father was longing to see me. I returned without informing you." King Bihkard was led into the castle and was given a royal reception. He was sent back to his country with many presents and escorts.  

For Audio Story Check Below:

For More Bedtime Stories  Click Here