The King’s Turban

Shiv Kumar, the King of Mandur, was both vain and stupid. And stupid he certainly was because he could hardly read or write and surrounded himself with a bevvy of advisers who were just as ridiculous as himself.

Now Bhat was a wandering poet and an excellent poet too, but when he entered the King’s palace one day, he had no idea that the King loathed poetry and poets.

Bhat wandered into the audience chamber and started to recite some verses he had recently composed. On hearing Bhat’s melodious voice, the King turned purple with rage and ordered his guards to give the miscreant a good whipping and throw him out of the palace.

Bruised and shaken, poor Bhat wandered along the highway, vowing that one day he would find the ways and means of teaching that arrogant King a good lesson.

The following day Bhat arrived at the nearby kingdom of Bundi, and he knew that King Aluhar was famed throughout the land as a great soldier and poet. Approaching the town’s gates, Bhat was fortunate to see the King and his entourage returning from a hunting expedition.

Bhat immediately, in a gold voice, started reciting en verses praising the victories of King Aluhar, the greatness of his forefathers and the wealth of his kingdom. The King stopped his chariot, called the poet to come forward, praised the beauty of his verses and asked Bhat what he would like as a gift.

Bhat looked up at the King, “Your Majesty, there is nothing I would like better than the turban you are wearing.”

“What an odd request,” replied the King, “I thought you would ask for gold or a jewel, but instead, you ask for my turban, which is of very little value; why?”

“I shall wear your royal turban as a king’s gift to poetry,” said Bhat,” and wherever I go, your fame as a king and friend of poets will spread.”

“For those kind words, you shall have my turban,” The King took off his turban and gave it to the poet.

Everyone at Bundi forgot the poet and his unusual request, but one day he arrived at the court in a deplorable condition. His clothing was torn and bespattered with blood, and in his hands, he carried the tattered remnants of the King’s turban.

The King was full of sympathy and asked Bhat what had happened.

Then Bhat told his sad story, “Your Majesty, I have visited. Many courts, and before I bowed to the kings, I took off your turban, and when they asked me why I removed it, I told them that the turban belonged to the great King Aluhar and could not be made to bow to other kings. They all agreed that was just, but when I went to the court of King Shiv Kumar, he said everyone should bow low before him, and in a mad fury, he snatched your turban from my hands and trampled it under his feet. Then he had me whipped and kicked out of his palace.”

King Aluhar jumped to his feet. “I will teach that ill-mannered underling a lesson he will never forget.

The following morning King Aluhar led his chariots and army to Mandur. At the sight of such a large force, the poorly paid soldiers of Shiv Kumar threw down their weapons and ran. Shiv Kumar begged for mercy but was rightly thrown into a dungeon, there to spend the rest of his days.

Mandur, to the delight of the people, became part of King Aluhar’s domain. And Bhat lived happily at the King’s palace because of a King’s turban.

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