Vikram succeeds to get Betaal back on his shoulders. A burden, too heavy for the mind.
In the dark, dense forest, Vikram and Betaal embark on their journey to the final destination, one willingly and the other… not so willingly. Betaal was eager to fill the silent night with stories of all sorts and kind he had seen throughout his life, as long as Vikram remembered his conditions. But that only time will tell, till then he tells Vikram a tale of… The Gifted Gatekeeper
King Chandrakant treated all his people with utmost respect. He didn’t just hear them, he also listened to them and undoubtedly, people were happy to have him as their leader… as their King. Moreover, he was known for his valour and bravery, because of which he had concurred many territories and built a large empire of himself.
One day, while sitting in his court, the gatekeeper of the palace came running to him. The gatekeeper was shaking and looked terrified. “King Chandrakant,” he tried to speak through his shaky voice, “In a few days, the neighbouring kingdom is going to attack us with a huge army. There won’t be any chance of our survival, unless you warn your army now. Everyone’s life is in your hands now.” Chandrakant, stared at the gatekeeper who vent out everything within seconds. “How do you know this?” the king asked. The gatekeeper grew hesitant and uncomfortable, “It is just a hunch my king.”
Chandrakant wasn’t pleased with his answer but he couldn’t worry about that now. If the gatekeeper’s prediction was true, then Chandrakant had a war to prepare for. He alerted his soldiers and trained them and as rightly predicted by the gatekeeper, their enemies stood at the gates of the palace, followed by a large army. If this were a surprise attack, Chandrakant’s whole kingdom would have fallen apart in pieces but he and his army were prepared. They fought valiantly, and bore the gifts of their hard work. They won!
The next day, while the whole village was celebrating their win, Chandrakant called the gatekeeper to the court. “Now tell me honestly, how did you know?” The gatekeeper knew he had lied once, but he couldn’t lie to his King again. “You see my King. I have gift. Every time I fall asleep, I see the future. That is what happened on that day. That is what saved the kingdom.” He spoke politely.
The king looked at him. He was thankful for the gatekeeper’s gift so he chose his words wisely. “I will forever be grateful to you and your gift but you cannot work for the palace anymore. You can leave your job today.” After saying this, the king left the court. The gatekeeper stood there, tongue-tied and in confusion.
“Now tell me O Great King, why was the gatekeeper thrown out even after saving the lives of many? Was the noble king really noble?” Betaal asked Vikram. “The answer is simple Betaal. The gatekeeper should have been rewarded as he saved the whole kingdom from ruin, but the noble king was noble indeed. A gatekeeper’s job is to be vigilant at all times, not fall asleep during his duty. The future may hold dreadful deeds, but what if the present is much more terrifying? If this small, but important, criteria is not met, then Chandrakant’s decision was respectful and accurate. He actually did the gatekeeper a favour by showing him that his gift could be more beneficial at other places.”
Betaal smiled cunningly, “That is unfortunately the right answer King Vikram, but remember the conditions? With the words that you say, I can’t help but fly away.” Betaal left Vikram’s shoulder, flying away, back to his lair while Vikram chased him in the hauntingly dark night.
Moral – The present is more important than the future and that is where you have to concentrate on, especially when it is the need of the hour.