Funny Story From East - Denture For The Ghoul

 Denture For The Ghoul

Peter and Sam were two young men who were very poor. There was nobody in their village rich enough to employ them in the fields. One day the two friends left for a bigger village where there were several wealthy farmers and merchants. They worked in the fields of one of them. They were paid according to their work. If they plowed two acres of land instead of one or cleaned one acre of wasteland instead of half-acre during a day, they were paid twice the normal daily wage. They were keen to save enough money so that one day they could build huts for themselves and marry too. That is why they did not take any house on rent. They found a lonely place outside the village. There was a huge banyan tree there. Their employer gave them their mid-day meals. In the evening they retired to their shelter under the banyan tree and cooked their food and slept there. Nearby there was a large lake. They bathed and cleaned their clothes there. They hid their money in the hollow of the tree. One day, after returning from their work, they saw that the ground under the banyan tree had been swept clean. The earthen pots they used for cooking had been washed. Even some dry twigs had been collected and left there. "Has someone else started living here?" asked Peter with some irritation. "I hope, nobody, has stolen our money away!" said Sam, as he put his hand into the hollow. He shrieked in horror. "What is the matter?" Peter asked.

"I touched something fleshy, but as hot as fire!" said Sam. Suddenly they heard a nasal voice, "I am sorry to have scared you. I am a poor ghoul who has taken shelter here!" Next moment a huge dark creature emerged from the hollow and bowed to them. Both the friends had the creeps, but they put up brave faces and looked at the ghoul straight in the eye. "What business have you to occupy our hollow?" demanded Peter. "The greatest wizard of this land happens to be my maternal uncle's paternal uncle's brother-in-law's brother-in-law! If I report to him, he will forthwith put an end to your ghoulish life!." Sam sounded very impressive. "Kindly don't do any such thing!" pleaded the ghoul. "As you know, we ghouls cannot live at any place of our choice. We can live only in the hollows of trees which are at least nine hundred years old. There is no other tree of that age anywhere nearby excepting this one. Where could I go once I was driven out of my horde?" "You must have been very naughty to be driven out of your horde!" observed Peter. "Not so. It is because of the loss of my teeth that I had to suffer that humiliation. You see, in the community of ghouls, teeth are a must. Once a ghoul loses his teeth it is believed that he would bring ill-luck to the community. So he is thrown out," said the ghoul. "But how did you lose your teeth?" asked Sam. "That is a long story. There was...." Sam stopped the ghoul from going on with his narration with an impatient gesture of his hand and said, "We have no time for your long story, You may go."

"Where can I go? Let me be here. I will serve you not like one servant but as a full dozen servants. I will cook for you gathering vegetables from the forest and fish from the lake. I will wash your clothes and keep this place clean!" said the ghoul. By then the first surprise and fear of meeting the ghoul had been over. Peter and Sam exchanged looks and decided to try a new pattern of living, with the ghoul for their assistant. "All right. Stay on," they said. The ghoul was delighted. He cooked for them their dinner for that very night and they found the food quite tasteful. The ghoul of course devoured the lion's share. The next day the two friends went out to attend to their work as usual. The ghoul kept itself busy cleaning the place and washing their clothes. Days passed and Peter and Sam were happy with their assistant. Now they could work longer and earn more. One day while giving them money, their employer said, "It seems you are already married!" "What made you think so, sir?" asked the two friends. The employer laughed and explained, "I have seen that when people marry they work harder in order to earn more." As he laughed, the two friends saw that two of his teeth dazzled. It is because they were made of gold. On their way to the shelter, Peter said, "What if we buy a gold denture for the ghoul? He would be so happy!" "That is true. The poor thing is extremely sad for losing its teeth. But the gold denture would cost a lot. A silver one would do," said Sam.

The two friends went to a goldsmith and asked him to make a silver denture which would be twice as big as that worn by any human being, and with two teeth jutting out like the tusks of an elephant. "What for?" asked the craftsman. "For a drama. A man acting the role of a ghoul had to wear it!" said the two friends. To their pleasant surprise, the craftsman had such a set with him which was once used by a drama troupe. The troupe had been disbanded and he had bought it along with a few other things. He sold it to the two friends. The goldsmith's little son who overheard a part of their conversation came closer to them and asked, "What! You need a denture for a ghoul? How are you related to a ghoul? And how did the ghoul lose his teeth?" The two friends said jokingly, "Well, we have tamed a ghoul serving us. It lost its teeth because it was naughty and so the king of ghouls knocked them off! He serves us expecting that we will give him a set of silver teeth!." "And you are going to fulfill his desire?" said the boy and he laughed. Peter and Sam were leaving the place. The boy asked them, "Don't you wish to know why I laughed?" "Another time, boy, we are in a hurry today," said the two friends and they went away. 

Back at the banyan tree, they presented the denture to the ghoul. It was so happy that it danced around them and saw the reflection of its face on the waters of the lake. "Now. I will not only be admitted into my horde but also would become the king of the ghouls, for no other ghoul has silver teeth!" exclaimed the ghoul. "Are you going to leave us?" asked Peter and Sam. But the ghoul was in no mood to answer them. He flew and disappeared. The two friends looked at each other and heaved sighs of disappointment. The next day, as they happened to pass by the goldsmith's house, they saw the little boy. "Hello boy, why did you laugh yesterday?" they asked. "If you give your ghoul a set of silver teeth, do you hope that it will still serve you? Won't it go away to show it to the other ghouls?" said the boy. The two friends looked at each other and realized their folly.  

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