Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there ruled a king. He was arrogant, egoistic, lazy, extravagant and unpopular . . . but handsome and strong. He was the king of Chakrapur, a kingdom which was bordered by three other kingdoms. Two of these kingdoms were minor, and the third was the one on which the king focused on most.
I’m guessing that you people already know why.
A princess. Also, an alliance with that kingdom will be excellent for the prosperity of our king’s land.
Did I mention that the princess was very beautiful?
I’m sure you would’ve read our hero’s characteristics, so you can use your (ahem) Sherlockian skills to figure out that the princess wasn’t very interested. But, then again, our hero’s kingdom was very large, and I mentioned the advantages of an alliance with a powerful kingdom.
The princess had seen many suitors, but didn’t like any of them. By the end, she was so fed up, that she decided that every suitor had to pass four almost impossible tasks to marry her. The line of suitors became extremely small after that.
When the news of the contest reached our king’s ears, he said, “I like the princess, but these tasks are impossible. I give up.”
All his ministers sighed, ‘hopeless.’
One minister stood up. “Sire, with all due respect, you could win this contest.”
“How? It says that I have to tame the untamed wild bull of the north, kill the dragon of the east, capture the tiger of the south and put toothpaste back in its tube!”
“But, my lord, there is nothing in the rules about performing the deeds alone. With our help, you can surely win this contest.”
“Hmm. Very well.”
“Messenger!” He barked. “Tell the king of the Western Kingdom that I shall take part in this competition, but only after he grants me two months’ time to prepare.”
“Very well, my lord.”
The ministers realized that their king did not need physical training- only mental preparation.
He had to get rid of his arrogance, his ego, his laziness and his habit of spending a lot of money. For this, the ministers taught him lessons.
First, the ministers told him that he had to give up his royal powers, and live like a commoner in the kingdom, earn his living and stay like that for a few days.
As you can imagine, the king kicked up a royal tantrum, but gave in at the end.
He found it extremely tough to earn a living, as he was lazy and arrogant and egoistic. But, the shopkeeper, at the shop where he managed to get a job, punished him for being lazy and arrogant.
There was this one incident, when the king decided that he’d had enough. He screamed,”Fools! All of you! I am the king! Bow down to me!”
The people called him a drunkard, and the shopkeeper kicked him out of the shop.
But, in the end, the king got his salary, and the ministers turned up at his house. They took most of his salary as tax, and by the end of this episode, the king was in tears—he had learnt his lessons.
The next few weeks were spent in rigorous training for the tasks. All the ministers were now happy that the king was very well behaved and focused nowadays.
THE FIRST TASK
The ministers had prepared him for this. They had told him about the ruins of an old kingdom in the north, where the bull roamed. Also, the ministers had told him about how bulls can recognize the color red, and how they react to fluttering cloth.
They basically gave him a red colored cloth.
He saw the bull in the eastern chamber of the palace, it was huge. No. Huge was actually an understatement. It was gigantic.
The bull chased the king, but it was all part of the king’s plan. He made the bull run straight into the arena—four walls and a lot of space in it.
The bull was on one side, the king on the other. The bull gnashed its teeth, and the king took his red cloth out. He waved the cloth by his side, and the bull came running straight at it. The king sidestepped, and the bull ran straight into a wall.
People say bullfighting began in Spain . . .
An entire section of wall collapsed on the bull and the bull fell unconscious. The king then dragged the bull all the way to the king of the Eastern Kingdom. The bull didn’t wake even once because the king used two of the ministers’ inventions—a tranquilizer agent and a syringe.
THE SECOND TASK
Killing the dragon of the east was an extremely difficult task, since warriors had been chasing this dragon since the beginning of time, with no positive results.
Yet, our king managed to kill the dragon by using the same tranquilizer agent, a stronger dose, dispersed by air.
The dragon noticed the king, and blew fire at him. Our daring hero ducked and rolled till a rock. He waited till the dragon stopped blowing fire, and then he showed himself. He threw the tranquilizer agent in the air, but the dragon blew fire all around, and the bag caught fire.
Then, the dragon died.
See, the tranquilizer that the ministers had given the king was highly flammable, so when the dragon blew fire, it exploded in its face.
THE THIRD TASK
Capturing the tiger of the south was not as difficult as you would’ve thought.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the drill—wrestling, tranq agent, spit, grit and a whole lot of duct tape.
Within two hours, a tiger was lying at the feet of the king of the Western Kingdom, and the king was ready for the fourth and final task—beating Doraemon at arm wrestling.
(Nah. Just putting toothpaste back in its tube.)
THE FOURTH TASK
The king awoke early and readied the things that he needed—patience, trusty syringe and Doraemon repellent spray.
At the other king’s palace, a table with toothpaste in a beaker and a toothpaste tube was ready, alongside a chair for the king.
Thousands of spectators had arrived to see the king perform a task they had all considered impossible.
The king began. He poured water into the beaker with toothpaste and shook it in such a way that the viscous toothpaste became a liquid. He then took his syringe, and slowly dripped it back into the tube. When the contents of the beaker were in the toothpaste tube, a huge cheer ran through the palace.
The princess accepted the fact that the king had completed all her challenges, and she married the king. The king and the queen then lived happily ever after
SEVEN YEARS LATER
The queen was in her son’s chamber, and her son was about to sleep.
The boy said,” Mother, tell me a story, please.”
And so the mother began her story,” Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there ruled a king. He was arrogant, egoistic, lazy, extravagant and unpopular . . . but handsome and strong . . .”