Funny Story From Farland - Barber And The Demon

Barber And The Demon

Once upon a time, there lived a young barber. However, he was not too keen to be a barber and would do nothing the whole day except look into the mirror in his hand and sigh, "I'm made for better things. Why should I spend my time cutting people's hair and shaving their ugly faces?" His parents got fed up with him and told him that he was old enough to earn his living and he should start doing just that. But to no avail. The barber just peered into the mirror and lamented his fate. His mother was finally really exasperated and she chased him out with a broom. The barber felt so humiliated, he vowed not to go back till he had made a fortune. He decided to walk through the forests to the faraway mountains and pray to the gods for wealth and fortune. As he entered the forest he met a demon who was dancing away furiously. The barber was quite frightened but he did not allow fear to paralyze his brains. He, too, started dancing, keeping pace with the demon. After a while, he asked the demon why he was dancing. "Ah," said the demon, "I was waiting for that question. I knew you didn't know the reason or else you wouldn't have joined me. I always dance when I'm about to have a good meal. You look like a well-fed man and will make a delicious meal. That's why I'm dancing. But tell me, why are you dancing?" "I'm also happy because I'm at the end of a long quest," said the barber, who had managed to keep his wits about him.

"Our king has proclaimed that he'll give his beautiful daughter and a lot of wealth to anyone who'll capture a hundred and one demons. You see, the prince is sick, and he'll get well only with the blood from the hearts of a hundred and one demons. I've already captured a hundred of them and now you'll make it a hundred and one. See, I've already captured your soul and you're in my pocket." Saying this, the barber pulled out his mirror and held it in front of the demon. The stupid demon saw himself in the mirror and thought he had been captured. He fell at the barber's feet in terror and pleaded for mercy. The barber, of course, would not agree. He enjoyed watching the strong and powerful demon at his feet. The demon promised him all kinds of things, including the treasury he had collected from seven kings. "Ah," thought the barber, "this is my chance." And he pretended to give in reluctantly. "Well," he said, "where's all that money? How do I know you'll give it to me?" "O! I will, I will!" promised the demon, now desperate. "See all the money is in that hole in the tree behind you. If you'll promise to release me, I shall carry it all to your house." "My house is quite far away," said the cunning barber. "How will I get there to see that you've actually deposited all the money there?" "O please!" said the demon. "That's really no problem. I shall carry you as well." "All right," said the barber. "Let's see if you can do it." So the poor, foolish demon, quite unaware that it was only his fear and ignorance that was keeping him captive carried all the wealth on one shoulder and the barber on the other and set off for the barber's house.

After depositing the money and the barber safely, he begged to be released. But the barber knew he was onto something good and refused to release him. "Ah!" he said. "Do you think you can regain your soul that easily? People who lose their souls live in bondage. You must work for it. Look at all those paddy fields ready for harvesting. They belong to my family. Go and cut all that paddy and bring it in. Only then will I release you." The poor demon decided there was no way out, and sadly set off to work in the fields. When he was cutting the paddy, another demon passed by and asked him what he was doing. So our demon told him the whole sad story. His friend could not believe his ears and said, "How on earth did you get into this mess? Don't you know demons are much more powerful than humans?" The captive demon insisted that the barber had his soul in his pocket for he had seen it himself. So, the other demon decided to investigate matters. He went to the barber's house by the back gate so that he could sneak in and see if the barber really had the souls of a hundred and one demons.  Now, the barber's mother, who had chased him out of the house with a broomstick, wanted to make amends and decided to have a grand feast to celebrate her son's success and return. She had cooked a big pot of milk sweet which the cat had just upturned and eaten. So she was very angry and was waiting at the window holding a spoon with a long handle. She knew the cat would come back for the rest of the milk. The demon's friend just then put in his hairy face and the old lady brought down the spoon quickly. The sharp edge of the handle cut off his nose. In pain and fright, the demon ran away, thinking that these humans would have something more up their sleeves. The captive demon, in the meantime, finished harvesting all the paddy and came back to the barber to ask for his release. The barber relented and this time showed him the other side of the mirror. The demon went away, quickly and happily convinced that his soul that had been captured was now free.

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