The wicked prince

Once upon a time there was a very kind king who was loved by all his people. But he had grown old and weak and was no longer able to rule his country, so his son looked after the affairs of the State.

Unlike the king who was loved by all, the prince was, however, cruel and unkind, so the people called him “Prince Terrible.”

One day the prince went out to the countryside with his soldiers and there he found a small village with many beautiful houses.

He asked the people there: “Whose house are these?”

They replied, “These houses are ours, Prince!”

But the prince was angry and said: “How can these houses be yours, when I am the prince of this country? Everything in this country is mine and so are these houses!”

Then he ordered his soldiers to enter the houses and carry away all the valuable things. The people cried out, “Prince, these houses are ours, not yours, our fathers built them,” but the prince refused to listen to them and his soldiers plundered all.

Just then a very old woman came out of a tiny house and said, “Prince, you are a young reprobate, this house is mine and those houses are the people’s, not yours. You are a prince so you should learn to love your people and protect their property.”

But the prince just laughed at her and said: “This old woman said that I should

learn to love my people. Well, she is a foolish woman and

she should learn that everything they say as theirs is mine.” And as the prince’s soldiers entered the houses and robbed them, the people were puzzled and they cried: “We don’t understand now what is ours and what is yours!” “They are all mine!” laughed the prince and rode away.

One day the notorious prince reached a remote village. This village was different from the others, it was more beautiful with plants, fruit trees and flowers all around the very lovely houses.

The prince rode slowly through the village and the people stood around watching him. They were afraid as they had heard about his cruel acts. The prince walked about and asked an old man sitting there, “Whose house is this?” The old man replied, “Why, this house belongs to the prince, Sir.” The prince then ordered the soldiers to break down the walls and enter the premises. “Take all the goods,” he commanded and they followed his orders.

What the prince didn’t know was that the land and all the houses belonged to a terrible giant. The giant had a device planted in all the houses: whenever anyone would step on the threshold an automatic underground door would open and the person standing on the spot would disappear into the dark recesses below. The same thing happened to the prince and his soldiers as the people stood by silently witnessing their horrible fate.

This story has been passed down from grandfather to grandson for many generations. It is thought to be true as it has a moral to it and that is if you are cruel to someone there shall always be a way for you to also meet with the same treatment by someone else.

No one knows what became of the prince and his soldiers that day because they

never came out of that first house. — Ranjita Baniya, Minar English Boarding School