Funny Story For Kids - The Royal Secret

 The Royal Secret

Long, long ago there lived a jolly good king. He had a liking for food and savored all the tasty dishes that his dozen cooks could offer him. Often, the king would walk down the streets of his realm, disguised as a commoner, to find out if someone was eating something that he had never tasted. It so happened that one day, as the king was enjoying one such stroll, escorted by a trusted attendant, the aroma of some delicious preparations wafted to his long sensitive nose. They followed it and came to a humble town dwelling. "Such mouth-watering smell!" exclaimed the king smacking his lips and knocking on the door. "What can I do for you?" answered a kindly old man. "We are but two weary wayfarers and we seek some shelter from the cold of the night," replied the king, in the accent of a rustic. "Do come in and make yourselves comfortable in our little hut," said the man welcoming them. As they entered, they saw a pot in the oven. The old man's wife was busy cooking. Soon the guests were offered two dishfuls of steaming food. Both happily relished it. "Gentle Friends," asked the king with an appeased smile, "what is the item that you fed us today? Such a delicacy I had never tasted!"

"O good travelers, where do you come from? What you partook now was nothing else but a porridge of simple chaff!" replied the old lady, feeling rather amused. "Mere chaff! O la la!" chuckled the king's attendant. "Keep quiet!" gestured his master. "But... your Majesty, chaff is the food for horses, cows, and pigs! You are our king!" whispered the servant impatiently. "Nevertheless, it tasted delicious!" said the other firmly. Before daybreak, the two strangers took leave of their host. But the generous ruler did not forget to hand over a pouchful of gold to the kindly couple for their hospitality. On their way back to the palace, the king told his servant in a stern tone, "Listen, on no account should you open your mouth to anyone that I relish chaff! If you do, mind you, your head shall simply disappear!" "Your Majesty, I promise to keep this the most carefully guarded secret in my life!" replied the attendant feigning great seriousness. From then on, the king sent his trusted attendant every day to the poor couple's home to bring him a bowlful of chaff porridge in exchange for some pieces of gold. All this was executed in extreme secrecy. For the couple, the transaction remained a mystery. The king's attendant felt very proud indeed that he knew a most guarded secret of his master. But as time passed, he found it more and more difficult to keep it a secret. He would not get any sleep and lost his appetite. Day by day, he began to grow lean and thin. His wife wondered what was wrong but, despite her query, he dared not disclose his problem to her lest he should lose his head. He tried his best to forget it but alas, the more he tried, the more restless he became. "If only I could speak out the secret where no one heard me, then surely I'd be cured of my unusual ailment," he, at last, told himself.

At first, he decided to tell the river but feared that the fishermen would hear him. He thought of speaking it aloud in the open valley, but the naughty shepherds would surely come to know of it. His days grew more and more agonizing and finally one morning he went into the deep woods. To his great joy, he found a tree with a large hollow trunk. "There can't be a safer listener than this!" he happily exclaimed. Quickly thrusting his head in the gaping hollow, he whispered and went on whispering to his heart's content. "Our King eats chaff! Tra la la la! Our King eats chaff! Tra la la la..! From that moment onwards a great relief came into him. He got back his sleep and appetite and there was now a spring in his gait. Days passed into months and months into a year. The annual festival of drums approached and the little realm wore a colorful look. But the chief drummer proposed that the big old royal drum be replaced by a new one for the great event. Orders were sent to the drum makers. They went to the woods in search of suitable timber. It so happened that they selected the very tree with a hollow in the trunk to which the attendant had confided the royal secret. The tree was felled and indeed a beautiful drum was carved out of its wood. The king himself saw it and was satisfied. The day of the festival dawned at last. The people of the little realm gathered, donned in their best attires.

The king was to inaugurate the fanfare by beating the new royal drum. He appeared on the dais accompanied by the queen. Picking up the sticks wrapped in gold, the king beat the drum amidst pin-drop silence. But the sound the emanated from the drum took everyone by utter surprise. "Boom! Boom! Boom! Our King eats chaff! Tru la la la.." The king was petrified and the queen collapsed in a fain. The subjects, unable to believe their ears, exclaimed, "Does His Majesty turn into a cow or a horse at times?" "My dear people, it matters little whether I occasionally turn into a horse or a cow! I am your king and let the carnival continue as usual," said the jolly good ruler gathering himself and hurriedly retired to the palace. Soon the trusted attendant was summoned to his presence. "I think you were the only one to know of my secret!" the king observed sternly. "Yes, Your Majesty, nor have I shared it with another human being," replied the servant truthfully, trembling in fear. "Then how come the drum came to know of it?" questioned the other. "My Lord, unable to contain myself any longer, I spoke out the secret into the hollow of the tree with whose wood the drum has been made," confessed the fellow, almost seeing his severed head in front of him. The jolly good king was amused. He pardoned the attendant. But now the great secret was out, he invited the poor old couple to the palace. There they lived and cooked for their master the delicious chaff which he relished with delight for the rest of his days.

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