[Short Story] The Land without Stories

Thousands of years ago on the shore of the great bay of Bengal lay a small kingdom ruled by the brave King Dharmaraja. This small kingdom was blessed and prosperous in all the aspects. The subjects of the kingdom were content, no one slept hungry at night. The King Dharmaraja was called the wisest ruler that ever was born in the land.


But the kingdom had a problem, no one had heard of any other stories before. No one had heard any other tale before for the King Dharmaraja had banned story telling from his kingdom. If you believed in the local gossip, King Dharmaraja had banished all the storytellers from the land many years ago. The local bartender would tell you that the King was haunted by stories all his childhood. He will also tell you about the kings Gandharva caretaker that told stories of distant lands, monsters and demons. The bartender would also tell you that bartenders should not be trusted for they are creatures of deceit and cunningness and they lie.

"But what made the king so angry towards the storytellers?" asked Sadashiv to the local bartender.
"Shsss boy," the bartender spoke to his ward, "Do not ask questions that could get into trouble. I see great future in you, you have potential to become the gardener at the kings garden. Don't spoil your future."
"He asked no question that could cause him any trouble," spoke the man who was sitting quietly at the bar, "Questions do not get you in trouble, answers do."
"He is my ward," said the bartender, "What is it to you. You could be those spies of the king."
"Nay," said the man, "I am no spy, I am just a story teller travelling through the land."
The bartender shrieked in surprise, two people sitting at the table stood up and walked towards the bar.
"If I were you, good fellow, I will run. Run for your life."

"Did you not read the board at the gates of the Kingdom," asked King Dharmaraja in presence of full court, "Storytellers are not allowed in the kingdom."

"Indeed," said the storyteller, "I did read such a notice, I was pondering over it on my way inside."
"Then you dare," the king said, "Disobey an imperial decree. Tread on the path not allowed by the king and disrespect the imperial order and...," the whole court took a deep sigh, "...disobey me."
"I do no such thing," the storyteller said, "I am just a wayfarer passing through the kingdom seeking food and beer. I tell stories for that is my profession, I charge monies for them that pays for my food and survival. I do not see what I do wrong to be tried like a common criminal."
"Storytellers are liars and deceivers," said the king, "They scare little children by telling them about monsters, demons and other things that do not exist. They make stories of distant treasures that do not exists. Storytellers are evil."
"Nay," the storyteller said, "Storytellers do not deceive, they dream. They dream of worlds and places that may not exist. Bartenders deceive and so do Kings for that is their nature, we storytellers only tell stories. You, king, can only rule until the kingdom lives or you live. Storytellers are forever, for we have no face, we have no name. We tell stories, we immortalize the mortals like you oh king."

The king looked at him with a grin, "...and, we storytellers never scare little children by telling them about monsters, demon and other thing, oh king," The whole court held their breath, "Storytellers do not scare the children, nay, the children already know there are monsters, demon and other nightmares, they do not need stories for that, they already know monsters exist. Stories tell them that monsters can be killed."

The whole court was silent. Everyone looked at the king in fear. No one had dared argue with the king before.

"You amuse me," said the King, "You amuse me well. I hear your point and I laugh. Pray tell me then storyteller, why do we need you? I have my administrators who write everything that happens in our kingdom. I have documenters who will document every factual information about the kingdom, why do we need you then?"

"Indeed, you have nice documenters and they will indeed document your entire kingdom and its accomplishments but will they ever create your legend? Even Gods need storytellers for without stories legends are not created. Without the stories of a miracles, people will cease to believe in God. You have your administrators but they will never be able to create history for history is also someones story."

There was a hustle-bustle in the court, everyone started talking in whispers. The whispers were so loud and the king had to shout, "Silence."

Silence felt in the court. The storyteller looked at the king in a piercing gaze, the king in turn stared at the storyteller. Someone coughed in the court, but everyone chose to ignore it. Finally after a long silence the king laughed, the king laughed out loud.

He got down from his throne and kept laughing till he reached the storyteller. The court jester watching in awe as the king put his arm across the shoulder of the storyteller, "Come, dine with me and while you are at it, tell me a story..."

The storyyteller smiled one more story was getting shaped. One more story would be told.

We are all stories in the end, some are told, some are heard and countless others are to be lived.



4 comments

  1. What a profound message in the story indeed! True, most of us are living our stories.
    My first time visiting your blog...a practice I am sure will be quite common going forward!

    http://reekycoleslaw.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Rickie, I was obsessed with the word storyteller and people kept asking what does that mean. So here it is.

      Delete
  2. Uh, I guess.

    I write short stories for my own amusement.

    http://agent54nsa.blogspot.com/ Other people say that they enjoy them.

    If you read and enjoy my stories figure out a way to send me lots of money and I will spend it on the luxuries of life. Thank you, Agent 54

    ReplyDelete

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