Who Killed The Dwarf

Long, long ago in India, there lived a master tailor who loved pleasure. On holidays he and his wife used to visit all the places for fun in the neighbouring city. On one of these outings, they met a performing dwarf. He was so amusing that the couple invited the dwarf home for dinner.

During dinner, which consisted of fried fish, bread and lemon sauce, the dwarf kept the tailor and his wife in fits of laughter with his jokes and witty remarks. The tailor’s wife was so pleased with the dwarf that she began feeding him with her hands. In doing so, she gave him a large piece of fish with a bone, which got stuck in the dwarf’s throat. Suffocated, the dwarf fell limp on the floor. The tailor cursed his fate saying, “God! What an awful thing to have to happen in the middle of such a pleasant dinner. Now I will be hanged for this.”

His wife admonished him, saying, “Don’t be silly. Let us quickly dispose of the dwarf’s body. Then no one will know who killed the dwarf.”

“What do you want me to do with the body?” asked the tailor.

“Let us cover the dwarf’s body with a white cloth and say that it is our child, who is ill with smallpox,” suggested his wife. “Then let us go out into the streets with the body and cry for a doctor.”

He was hearing the cry of small- pox’! Everyone in the street quickly moved away safely from the tailor and his wife. Only one brave man directed them to the doctor’s House.

The tailor’s wife knocked hard on the doctor’s door. The doctor’s servant came to the door and thrust a piece of silver into the servant’s hand; the tailor’s wife cried, “Good sir, the child is very ill! Please fetch the doctor immediately!”

As soon as the servant rushed upstairs to call the doctor, the tailor hurriedly carried the body up the stairs, and then he and his wife disappeared into the darkness as quickly as they could.

Seeing the large piece of silver that the tailor’s wife had given his servant, the doctor, in his excitement, forgot to take his lamp with him. He did not see the body of the dwarf lying on his landing and stumbled over it, sending it rolling down the flight of stairs.

The doctor quickly got his lamp and rushed down the stairs to see what he had kicked down. He found the body of the dwarf, and to his horror, he discovered that there was no life in the dwarf’s body and concluded that he had been the cause of the dwarf’s death. He immediately went to his wife and asked her what he should do.

“Husband,” said the doctor’s wife, “the body must be somehow disposed of before daybreak, or else we will be in great trouble. Let us put the body in the backyard of our good neighbour, the head cook of the Emperor. He keeps so many dogs and cats that by the morning, there will be nothing left of the dwarf’s body.”

The doctor and his wife carried the body and placed it leaning against the chief cook’s kitchen wall.

Soon afterwards, the chief cook returned home and found someone leaning against his kitchen wall. He often found things missing from his kitchen and now thought he had caught the thief red-handed. Shouting, “Thief! thief!” he hit the dwarf on his head with his walking stick as hard as he could.

The dwarf’s body slumped onto the ground, and the cook bent down to look at the thief. He discovered that the dwarf was dead and exclaimed, “I’m done for now. Not satisfied with robbing me when he was alive, now that he is dead, he is going to get me hanged!”.

He slung the corpse over his shoulder and carried it to the marketplace. There he propped the body up against the shutters of a closed shop.

A drunken money-lender was reeling homeward when he saw the dwarf’s body leaning against

The money lender caught the shutters of his shop. Imagining him to be a thief, he shouted, “Thief! thief! Catch him!” and rushed up to the dwarf and beat him up with his umbrella. The noise he made soon attracted a crowd. When they found the drunken money-lender beating up the dwarf, they caught hold of him and took him and the dwarf’s body to the local magistrate.

The money-lender was accused of murdering the dwarf and condemned to be hanged the following day.

At daybreak, the gallows were erected in the market- place. The whole town came to witness the hanging of the money-lender. He was led up to the gallows, and the noose was placed around his neck.

Just as he was about to be hanged, the Emperor’s chief- cook ran up shouting, “I killed the dwarf, I killed the dwarf, stop the hanging!”

“How did you kill the dwarf?” demanded the magistrate. The cook explained how it had all happened.

“Take the noose off the money-lenders neck,” ordered the magistrate, and put it round the neck of the cook, who has confessed his crime.”

The doctor then hurried up to the gallows and said that he and not the Emperor’s chief- cook had murdered the dwarf.

The magistrate heard his story and then ordered the noose to be placed around the doctor’s neck.

Before the doctor could be hanged, the tailor came forward and confessed that he was the originator of the crime: The magistrate exclaimed, “Ah, now, at last, we have the real murderer; hang him!”

Again there was a staying of the execution, and this time it was because of the orders of the Emperor himself.

The dwarf was the Emperor’s jester, and when the dwarf was found missing, the Emperor asked his courtiers what had happened to him.

“Your Majesty, your dwarf has been murdered. And four men claim to have killed him,” his courtiers told him.

The Emperor ordered that the body of his dwarf and the four murderers be brought before him.

The murderer’s and the dwarf’s bodies were brought before the Emperor. Each of the murderers told their individual stories to the Emperor. The Emperor’s physician regarding the tailor’s story scrutinized the dwarf’s body and said, “Your Majesty, the dwarf is not dead! There are signs of life in him still.”

The physician forced open the mouth of the dwarf and carefully examined it. Then he took his forceps from his medicine bag, and, keeping the dwarf’s mouth open with one hand, with the other, he pulled out the big piece of fish from the gullet of the dwarf. The dwarf at once sneezed several times and then sat up and rubbed his eyes, and slowly rose to his feet.

The four alleged murderers were overjoyed that the dwarf was alive. The Emperor gave his physician a handsome reward for his clever diagnosis. He also gave each of the acquitted murderers a significant gift because he was pleased that his dwarf jester was alive and well.

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