‘A task too small?’ Story by 13 year old G. Supraja from Chennai
Kareem’s job was seemingly nondescript. He was to clear the debris from the pools of water in the mountains crevices, that fed the lovely spring flowing through the centre of the kingdom of Kismathpur. Regularly he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches and cleared away the silt that would otherwise have choked and contaminated the flow of fresh water.
The kingdom soon became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring. It looked like paradise. The birds looked very happy. Farm lands were naturally irrigated and the view was picturesque beyond description. The mill wheels of various businesses located near the water, turned day and night.
Years flew past. The old King Gautamji surveyed Kismathpur fondly. The king believed that his son preserved the aesthetic natural beauty of his kingdom.
The king passed away and the reign passed on to his eldest son Jayan. King Jayan was a reckless young man. He called an assembly of his ministers and increased the taxes.
He said, “My father was too liberal. So he employed two people where only one was required.” King Jayan asked for all the employment records. Seeing the records, he said, ” Hmmm…… Here are some busy bodies ……. Ahh!!! Who is Kareem ? Why do we pay him year after year? We rarely see him so dismiss him. The king’s orders were carried out. Kareem was dismissed by the king.
By early autumn, the trees began to shed their leaves. Small branches snapped off and fell into the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water. A slimy film covering sections of foul odour, was soon detected. The mill wheels moved more slowly. Some finally ground a halt. The water started becoming murkier.
People wondered what happened to Kismatpur? The swans left the pond and the tourists also left the town. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village. The water tasted terrible too.
The king was baffled and asked, “Why is this so? The nearest servant replied, “Oh king , you had hastily dismissed Karim who kept the water source clean by removing debris. “
The king ordered to rehire Kareem. It didn’t take a long time for the embarrassed king to issue fresh orders. Within a few weeks, the river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn and the old life returned to Kismatpur. All the vacationers returned to Kismatpur, to enjoy its natural beauty. And birds too came to the pond and swam happily and the water also turned pure enough to drink.
The king realized the mistake he had made. He also learnt to never discourage because of the smallness of anything- whether in job or life.
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