Change of Heart

Change of Heart:

The king of Java Sukarno was a valiant warrior. His kingdom was vast. He used to hold court every evening in which he listened to complaints of the people. Sukarno wanted everyone to be happy in kingdom. He solved the problems of the people as far as possible.

The people loved their kind king. Sukarno considered it his duty to serve the poor. And he was very generous in helping the needy people. Most of the people in that kingdom were satisfied.

For the defence of his kingdom, Sukarno had a large army that had horse and elephant units.

The king was a good horseman himself. Paban was his favorite horse. The king Sukarno often went horse riding with his friend and minister Sonpalon. Paban was a fast horse. It raced like wind. Paban was a big and elegant horse. It was a famous animal. The king loved Paban like his own son.

A gang of dacoits had made one of the forests of the kingdom its base. The leader of the gang was Gulbasom. Wherever he went, a terror would spread. The soldiers of the king tried to nab Gulbasom. But every time he was long gone before the soldiers reached the spot of robbery.

The soldiers tried to get the gang at their forest base also but failed. The king wanted to catch the dacoits and put them to death.

Once a guest stayed in the king's guest house. He was given royal treatment. On the third day he expressed his wish to see the king. The soldiers informed the king about it. The king called the guest to him.

The guest enquired, “I hear that you fulfill all the needs and wishes of the people. Is it true?’’

The king remarked, “I think you are not satisfied with our hospitality. Anyway I will try to fulfill your wish if you have any.'

The guest said, ‘My house is towards those forests where there is always shortage of money and food,"

The king ordered the soldiers, ‘Present our honored guest a bag of 100 gold coins and ten sacks of grains. I want all my subjects to feel satisfied.''

The guest remarked, "There is acute shortage of horses in our area. We need as many as we can get for our travel."

The king said, ‘You are our guest. We won't disappoint you. You will get a horse as well."

King Sukarno ordered soldiers to make a big good horse available to the guest. The guest cut in to say 'O king' I don’t want any horse but your Paban. If you can give that horse to me then I won’t need anything else. Distribute the gold coins and the grains among the poor."

The king said shocked, ‘Do you know what you are asking for? Paban is like my son.'

The guest spoke, ‘I know he is dear to you like your son. His majestic size is also no secret. I have heard a lot about him. That s why I want Paban.'

Now the king was in confusion. He was feeling annoyed too and didn't how to refuse Paban to the guest. At the silence of the king the guest announced, “Well, forget about it. I will get Paban in my own way.'

Suddenly the guest took off his turban and thundered, “I had come after hearing about your generosity. Anyway, my name is Gufbasom. Now I don’t need your horse or gold corns or grains. I will take Paban by force."

The king became alert and screamed, “Dacoit Gulbasom… Get him!! He must not get away.'

But Gulbasom was smarter. He jumped out and got on his horse. In a trice he was gone.

Now the king became very careful. He put many units of soldiers to guard Paban. Many months passed but nothing happened. King Sukarno thought that it was an empty threat.

One day King Sukarno and Sonpalon went horse riding in the morning. They rode for hours. They decided to return. On their way back they found a sick man moaning under a tree by the roadside. He was bleeding. The king and his minister got down from their horses and went to see that person. As they approached him, the sick person sprang up in a flash. He had a gun in his hand. Sukarno recognized him. It was the same person who had been his guest and who had claimed to be dacoit Gulbasom.

As the king stood stunned, the dacoit jumped to ride on the back of Paban. Another dacoit emerged from behind the tree and got on Sonpalon s horse. Gulbasom declared, “I am doing what I had promised. I am raking away your horse by force."

The dacoits dug their heels into the horses to race them away. But Paban refused to move. He won’t obey to anyone but king Sukarno. Paban neighed and reared up his head skywards. Gulbasom fell down. The other horse too did the same and tossed down the other dacoit too. Sukarno watched without speaking. Gulbasom and the other dacoit tried to ride again and again but failed to control the horses.

King Sukarno went to Gulbasom and spoke, 'You know that I love Paban like my own son. Still you wanted to take it away from me. Paban won't let you. So, I gift my Paban to you. But remember that you are taking away my son. If ever you lose your son you will know what kind of pain it is.’

Sukarno patted Paban and whispered into his ears to cooperate with Gulbasom. Paban understood and the dacoits went away riding the horses.

At his den, Gulbasom sat thinking. His wife was feeding milk to his six month old son. He felt moved. He fondled his son again and again remembering the words of the king. He felt that he would die if someone took away his son. His wife would go mad

Gulbasom remembered the countless people he had killed wounded or maimed. They were also fathers or sons of someone. He brooded all night long. His heart was changing.

In the morning, he went to the king with his gang and surrendered. Paban was handed back. He spoke, 'King' You gave me your son, Paban and forced me to think. I had never realised how many sons I have separated from their fathers and mothers. I repent for it and I am ready to accept any punishment. You are indeed a great king sent to this earth to reform us all."

The king said, 'Gulbasom…The important thing is that you have realised your mistake I pardon you and appoint you the commander of my army. Use your valour for good cause. Defend your country and its people.’

All eyes looked at king Sukarno with admiration. His judgment was hailed with cheers.

The people paid tributes to the generosity and the wisdom of their kind king.

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