Boon of Boons

It was a dark night and the king was riding on his knight through a narrow street. The king had this habit of disguising himself as a common man to observe his citizens.
That day, the king was unaware of the bandits who were following him. The bandits being impressed by the king’s horse, were following the king to snatch it away from him.
When the horse clinged to a corner of the street, the bandits emerged from their hiding place and surrounded the king. The king, under attack, did not panic but prepared to escape from the claws of the bandits. The bandits got ready to pounce upon the king. Just then, six young men appeared on the scene and attacked the bandits from behind. The bandits, forced to defend themselves were unable to harm the king.
Whenever the king went on disguise, his bodyguards would follow him, keeping themselves at a distance. These bodyguards too arrived on the scene and caught the bandits with the help of the young men. The king was very pleased with the young men, who saved his life. He thanked them, took them to his palace and commanded his servants to give them royal service.

Next morning, the news became widespread in the kingdom. People were pleased to know that their king was unhurt. They showered praises over the courage of the six young men.
As soon as the king appeared in his court, the six men were brought before him. The king came down from his throne and embraced them. He said, “Let each one of you ask me for a thing that pleases him the most. I promise to grant you that thing, unless it is beyond my power or capacity to do so.”
The oldest of the men was asked to put his wish first. He thought for a while and said, “I have always wanted to live in a comfortable house. So, please grant my wish to live in a royal house”. The king immediately summoned the royal architect and asked him to build a royal house for the young man.
The next man wanted to be the promoted to the rank of nobleman. The king bestowed upon him some medals and made him one of his peers.
The third man desired to marry a beautiful girl. The king remembered his minister having a beautiful girl. He asked the minister to consider marrying her girl with the young man. The minister readily agreed.
The fourth man said, “People from my village have to come to the town to sell vegetables everyday. But because of poor roads, they are facing lots of difficulties, especially during the rainy season. So, let there be good roads made between my village and the town”. The king immediately ordered the minister of roads to construct the roads.
The fifth man asked for a bag full of gold and was bestowed by the king with a plenty of gold coins.
The last man said, “My Lord, I want you to be my guest once in a year until one of us dies”. Everyone was surprised to hear the wish of the young man. They considered him a fool. The king, too, was surprised. But he had promised to grant his wish unless it is beyond his powers. So, the king agreed to spend a day and a night at the young man’s house each year.
Now, it was left with the ministers to arrange for the king’s visit to the young man’s house. First, a good road was built from the palace to the young man’s village so that king’s chariot can move smoothly. Then the question was, how can a king eat, sleep and drink for a day and night in the hut of the young man. So, a royal house similar to king’s palace was built for the young man. But with his meager income, how would the young man afford to maintain the royal house. So, he was given a bagful of gold and an annual allowance.
According to age-old traditions, a king can visit only a nobleman’s house. So, the young man was promoted as a nobleman and was bestowed upon several ranks. He commanded a status similar to the prince.
There was one more problem. The lady who serves the king must be aware about the likes and dislikes of the king. Who else than the king’s daughter would be aware about the king’s habits? So, the young man, being part of the noble family now, was married to the king’s daughter.

Thus, asking for a single boon, the young man gained all that his five friends had gained and in fact, much more!

Original Story by: Manoj Das
Retold by: Hitesh Joshi


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