An Asian Folklore


(The following story is purely fictional and original and has not been plagiarized)
Once upon a time there lived a farmer named Narendra. He used to live with his dear wife Swati. The couple used to live in a village named Bhimespur in the northern part of modern India. In those days, there weren’t any countries and the regions all the way from Iran to the present day Indonesia was ruled by a king named Veera. Narendra and Swati were very humble and down to earth and would always engage themselves in helping the poor. Though being miserably poor they would be more than happy helping someone than keeping their hard earned earnings for themselves. Swati would give away their food to any beggar who begged for something on most days. The people admired the generous nature of the couple. Narendra used to work hard in the fields all day while Swati did the household chores. Their neighbours were happy with them and would give them the love and support they needed. Everything was well except for the fact that they didn’t have a child. This made them sad. Narendra and Swati used to pray every day for a child. But they never had one. Nevertheless they put aside this issue and continued with their chores. They made good profits from the rice fields.
One day at about 2 am in the morning as Narendra was sleeping, he woke up to the sound of a child crying loudly. Narendra was shocked to hear the voice of the child and decided to check it out. He left the house and went into the woods, looking for the child. As he approached the mighty river Bhagirathi, he saw a small boat moving towards him. As the sound of the cry became louder and louder, he realized that it was coming from the boat. He was terror-stricken to see the child crying inside the boat. He had to do something fast as the river was flowing towards a water fall. Without any further thought, he jumped into the river and tried swimming towards the boat. The strong currents battled against Narendra who was a good swimmer himself. He was able to get to the boat and climb it. By that time, it was too late. The boat had already reached the edge of the fall. He braced himself for the fall and safely kept the baby under his arms. The strong currents pushed the boat off the cliff and it began to fall. The fall was about 50 meters. SPLASH! The boat dashed into the water at top speed. There was a moment of silence all around. The birds stopped chirping. The animals gathered around the area to look at the scene. There was absolute silence. SPLASH! Out came Narendra holding the baby above his arms. The baby had stopped crying and was safe in his arms. Narendra had put the baby’s life above his and saved him from death. He moved to the bank of the river to catch his breath. He then had the opportunity to look at the baby closely for the first time. “What a beautiful child!” he exclaimed. “Who would put this child in a boat and abandon it?” he thought. Knowing nothing about it, he decided to take it home.

“Knock Knock”
As Swati opened the door she was shocked to see Narendra and the baby.
“Where have you been this long and from where did you get this baby?” she exclaimed.
“It is a long story my dear.”
“Why are you in such a filthy condition and Oh my God! What happened to your legs? Why are they bleeding?”
“I will tell you the whole story my dear. Please look after the baby while I go and have a bath. I’ll tell you my adventure when I finish.”
“Okay! As you say”
Swati bathed the baby and made tea for Narendra while he bathed.

Narendra narrated his adventure to Swati while she heard with astonishment. At the end, Narendra requested her to keep the baby with them. She agreed. They decided to name the baby Mahir as in ‘great’. The couple was finally happy with their new child. Narendra taught Mahir the Vedas and the art of self-defence while Swati taught him the art of cooking. Mahir turned out to be a fast learner. He too followed the good ways and helped the people. He was loved by all for his generosity and courage.
One fine day, as Swati was cleaning the cowshed, she accidentally stepped on something. On picking it up, she observed that it was a small silver chain. She was intrigued by its appearance. It was very short and it was beautifully carved with silver. It had some strangle symbols engraved on it.
“Who must have lost this precious thing in our cowshed!” she wondered.
“What are these strange symbols?”
“I think they are trying to tell something”
“The symbol at the centre is a lot fancier and bigger than the others. What must it be?”
Many such questions came into her mind. She decided to keep it and ask Narendra and Mahir in the evening.
After a long and tiring day, the father and the son returned. While having supper, Swati enquired them about the silver chain.
“I found this silver chain in our cowshed today morning. Do you know anything about it?”
“No mother, I’ve never seen it. Please bring the food quickly! I’m hungry” cried Mahir.
“WHAT? WHERE DID YOU FIND IT? HOW DID YOU FIND IT? GIVE IT TO ME QUICK!” shouted Narendra with a panicked look.
“I think I have made it clear. I found it in our cow shed today morning while cleaning it. Why are you so interested in it? Now I’m even more curious.”
“Yes father, why are you shocked? Calm down” said son.
“It concerns Mahir and I believe it would be better if I told you about it without him. So son, would you mind leaving us for a minute?”
“NO! He is our son and if it concerns him, he must also hear it out” Swati said.
“But it concerns his life!” cried Narendra.
“Oh! I see. In that case, Narendra my dear, please leave us for while”
“Hold on. Don’t you think we tell him about it anyways? He has the right to know about his past.”
“Okay fine!”
“So it begins like this,
I had found this small chain hung around little Mahir when I found him in the boat. I was also perplexed by the symbols. I had no time to think. So, I kept it with me and saved him from the fall. Later, after I reached home I tried many times to understand the meaning of those symbols. But I failed all the time. Since then I have kept it safe with me until today morning when I accidently dropped it while going to the fields.”
“Why did you hide it from me all this time?” shrieked Swati.
“Because I thought it was some kind of evil chain and I did not want to lose Mahir”
By this time Mahir was also shocked listening to their talk and was beginning to feel weird. The whole night was spent it explaining the facts to the son about his history and all.
Swati and Narendra tried a lot understanding the meaning of those symbols. They finally decided to seek the help of the sage Vreeksha. Sage Vreeksha was the most intelligent man in the kingdom and had the knowledge of the Vedas, and many languages. All the citizens used to consult him when they were in trouble.
“Tell me my dear ones. What has been troubling you so much that you had to consult me?”
“It is this silver chain my Lord. We can’t seem to figure out the meaning of these bizarre symbols inscribed on it.”
“That is not at all a problem my dear ones. Let me see the chain.”
“Here it is” Narendra handed it to the Sage.
Sage Vreeksha observed the chain with utmost concentration. After a minute or so, he revealed,
“These are Turkish symbols which represent the three necessities of every human being. They are nobility, truthfulness and service to others. The other ones can be converted to service before self. As for the large symbol at the centre, it is ‘Semih’ which is probably a Turkish name for a boy. That is the information which I could get from the symbols. As for the silver, it is not the usual silver we get. It has been specially made for some occasion and is in its precious form. I think this was made on the occasion of the birth of a child. Being so small, that is the only reason I can think of.”
“That is it my Lord. Thank you for the help. Please tell me what I can do for you in return”
“Do nothing my children. I am more than happy to help you!”

Thus Narendra and Swati came to know about the chain and its symbols. They returned to their home to find Mahir bringing back the bulls. Narendra and Swati discussed about the chain the following night. They came to the conclusion that Mahir was born in Turkey. His parents had probably visited Bharat and had accidentally lost Mahir or abandoned him because of some reason. They told everything they found out about the chain to Mahir.
“I need to find out the truth” cried Mahir
“And put your life at risk and lose you? No way!” shouted Narendra
“But it concerns me! I need to find out what happened to me after I was born. You have brought me up like your own child despite the circumstances and provided me with utmost love and care. What I am today is only because of you. But the truth is the truth. I need to find it.”
The argument continued for hours.

At the end, the parents agreed to their son. They had faith in their son as he was strong and smart, well versed with various arts and culture. It was decided that he kept an alias for his safety. Thus Mahir (now called Qadir) was all set to travel all the way to Turkey. It was decided that he would leave for Turkey the following week. The day finally came after a week. With a box of coins and a bag of food, Mahir bid farewell to his parents and set out on a journey to Turkey. He had no idea what the trip would be or what he would find about himself.

The journey proved fruitful to him as he got to meet many people and learn many things from them. He also had the opportunity to teach them the various arts and skills that his father had taught him. Being raised in a jungle, he could easily understand the behaviour of wild animals and could pacify them with ease. He could ride wild horses, elephants and play with wild beasts with ease. He travelled many places like the present day Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The days were spent in the travelling while the nights were spent in taking rest. There were days when he had no place to rest. Such times were the toughest; he used to sleep on the trees with the birds, got bitten by insects sometimes. If he was lucky, some kind stranger would offer him a place to stay. All this time he used to carry the silver chain with him and enquire about Semih. Never did he get a positive reply. Nobody ever heard the name Semih. Young Mahir never gave up hope and continued his journey. After many months, he finally reached the border of Turkey. Turkey was a beautiful place. The area was surrounded with mosques and other tall buildings. You could find all kinds of people in the streets. They would do almost anything to earn money.

“What a wonderful place!” exclaimed Mahir
“Somebody here would definitely know something about Semih or about the chain” thought Mahir
But to his dismay, nobody knew anything of the name or the chain. Mahir used to wonder in the streets for days. To earn his living, he used to work in a variety of shops ranging from the butcher’s place to tailor’s shop. He used to deliver goods, work in houses as a cook, teach little children archery, and sew clothes for people in the tailor’s place. He used to excel everywhere and impress people with his sharp wit and brilliance. Gradually, he became more and more famous among the people and became acquainted with the place. He found out that Turkey was ruled by a king named Gamze and that he was a cruel person. He used to pester the citizens for more taxes when they couldn’t even afford the normal pay. The extra taxes were spent on the jewellery that he wore and the lavish food that he ate. He never cared for the citizens and used to ill-treat them for no reason. It was known that he had a father named Nurten who was the former king of Turkey. He was a great king who used to rule Turkey before his son. He used to help the poor and demand fewer taxes. He was a just king and was highly respected for his brilliant leadership skills. Due to old age, he had decided to hand over the kingdom to his only son Gamze. Gamze changed the rules of the kingdom after his father’s rule. Nurton now realizes that he should never have given the kingdom to his son’s hands. He regrets this mistake every day.
It was known that his father now rested in the palace.
One fine day, as he was delivering goods to the minister’s house, he observed that two people were mumbling something near the house entrance. He couldn’t help overhear them. So he decided to hear it out.

“Our king is such a poor leader. I heard he spends the taxes on his personal expenditure” Mumbled one of the guys
“Yeah, I have heard it too. His father is also unhappy with him and wishes to change the king before he leaves his for heavenly abode.” Said the other
“I have also heard something I have never heard before”
“Well, what is that?”
“You remember the event that happened 25 years ago right? The one near Bharat. The tiger incident where the tigers killed the Queen and the guards while the king was badly injured trying to save the others. He failed to save them as they were outnumbered by the tigers?”
“Yes. I remember. The trip that lasted a year but ended tragically.”
“Well, it seemed a child was born to them during that time. During that attack, the king had apparently hid his child in a boat. The king had fought bravely but he failed to save any lives. All the soldiers were killed along with his dear wife. After getting badly injured, he had crawled back to the bank where he had hidden his child. To his dismay, there was no sign of the boat or the child. Being heavily injured, he fell unconscious.”

All this while, Mahir was keenly listening to their conversation. He was stunned after hearing the conversation. He couldn’t believe what he just heard. Having heard a shocker, he left for his home still wondering about the tale he just heard. That night Mahir couldn’t sleep at all. He kept thinking about his father Nurton.
The next morning, he decided to meet his father.
“I think this is the right decision” thought Mahir
So the next morning, he set off on a journey to the palace; when he reached the palace gates, he was stopped by the guards.
“Outsiders are not allowed inside the palace. So get lost!” shouted one of the guards.
“I want to meet the king and his father, it is important”
“I think you didn’t hear me. Outsiders are not allowed.”
Poor Mahir tried his best convincing the guards. They just wouldn’t listen.
“I have to think of another way to meet my father” thought Mahir.
Just then, he heard some guards approaching his area and announcing,
“Just like every year, this year’s annual multi-talent competition is going to be held next week! Interested people can come and participate in the competition. The competition consists of many events some of which include sprinting, swimming, wrestling, archery. The person who excels in most number of events will be declared the winner. The winner takes away 1000 coins of gold! I repeat 1000 coins gold! The winner also gets to meet the king and work under him.”
“This seems to be a good way to meet the king. I must work hard and try winning the prize.” Thought Mahir
Thus started Mahir’s preparation for the competition. From 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening, Mahir laboriously spent time in improving himself. As the days went by, he became better and better. Living in the streets proved useful as he got to know about street magic and the art of deception.
One week went by quickly and the competition had arrived. Many men of the kingdom had prepared themselves for the big event. It was heard that the King was also taking part in the event. This fact had disappointed most of the participants as the King was the best in these events. He was the best swimmer the world had known, he could shoot the eye of an eagle from miles away and it was said that he once chased a tiger and killed it with his bare hands. Such facts did not disappoint Mahir but only made him stronger.
The first event of the competition was the archery. Participants had to shoot at the target which was kept 20 meters away. The standard rules were accepted. The crowd cheered while the participants shot the arrows beautifully. Finally it was Mahir and the King’s turn. Mahir sought the blessings of the King and prepared himself for the event. It was the King’s turn first. All the three shots struck the bull’s eye. The crowd cheered in amazement. When it was Mahir’s turn, the crowd cheered “QADIR! QADIR! QADIR!” Even the king was surprised at such reaction from the crowd. When the guard provided him with the arrows, he took all the three arrows for a single shot.
“What are you doing? Don’t act smart. Do you think you can hit the bull’s eye using all the three?” said the King.
“Yes my Lord. I am confident enough.”
Mahir aimed the three arrows at the target. There was pin drop silence everywhere. The king’s father was watching the whole event from the palace balcony wondering, “Who is this guy?!”
With the release of his finger, the three arrows flew with lightening speed and struck the bull’s eye.
The crowd cheered in amazement. The king couldn’t believe his own eyes. Nobody could believe their eyes what they had just seen. Mahir had done the impossible. This was a moment of embarrassment for the King.
The next event was the swimming event. The participants were divided into groups. This was the easiest event for Mahir. Mahir had spent his childhood swimming against strong currents in huge rivers. This was child’s play for him. He secured the first place in this event too. The winners of each group were the participants for the final swimming event. The participants had to swim against the mighty river. This not only tested their stamina but also their strength. As the race began, most of the participants lost their energy and were washed away by the currents. In the end, only the King and Mahir were left. Just before the finish line when everyone was expecting the King to win, Mahir submerged himself and disappeared under the water. The king noticed this.
“The poor guy must have drowned” thought the King.
But suddenly, Mahir rose out of the water beyond the finish line even before the King could reach the finish line. Mahir had won the race! The crowd cheered as they had seen another amazing feat. The embarrassment just took another level for the King. By this time the whole palace authorities and the Royal family had gathered to watch the events. Mahir was too good for others, especially the King. In this way, he aced all the other events. He had become the first person in history to win each and every event and also the only participant ever to defeat the king. Nobody could believe what they had seen. The old Nurton was astonished to see someone so brilliant and strong.
The award ceremony took place after the events. The awards were given by the wise Nurton. It was a special moment in the kingdom as all the awards were bagged by a single person who was not the King himself. Mahir accepted the awards respectfully from his father. It was a proud moment for him.
“Who are you my son?”
“Where have you come from?”
“There is something special about you.” Asked the wise Nurton.
There was absolute silence everywhere. Most of the citizens never even knew that the former king had a son named Semih. It came as a surprise to everyone. Nobody had ever heard of him. There were cries from the crowd.
“He is not Semih. He is Qadir, the helper.”
“No! He is that boy who works at the butcher’s.”
“NO! He is that strong lad who helps me plough the fields.”
Such cries echoed the kingdom for the next few minutes.
“I am not Qadir. It is just an alias. My name is Semih. I am known as Mahir in Bharat where I was brought up.” Shouted Mahir.
The wise Nurton was more than happy to find his lost son.
“I am glad that I have found you. I have decided that the king needs to be changed. The kingdom needs a better ruler like him who excels in many areas. Isn’t it true my dear citizens?”
“YES!” shouted the audience.
All this was a total embarrassment for Gamze. But he couldn’t fight back. The truth was the truth. Mahir was way better than him in every field. He too felt that Mahir was a better ruler than him and agreed to his father.
“Yes father! You are right. I am not a good king. I have ill-treated the citizens of the kingdom. I apologize.”
“Don’t worry my brother. I will assign you as my minister and work together. Let’s make this kingdom a better place.” Said Mahir
“Thank you my dear brother.” Cried Gamze with tears coming out of his eyes.
Such cries echoed the kingdom.
“I just have one request my father.” Said Mahir
“Anything for you my son!”
“I want my parents who brought me up to stay with me in this palace.”
“Your wish is granted! Soldiers! Bring Semih’s parents from Bharat and give them the hospitality they never experienced!”
“Thank you father! Thank you!” cried Mahir.
His parents were brought from Bharat and they began to live in the palace. They were the happiest people around and were proud of what their son had accomplished. Mahir became a great ruler and his name was heard to far off places. Mahir also turned out to be a good teacher and taught Gamze the principles of life and made him a good minister.
Semih ruled the kingdom just fully. He spread his kingdom far and wide and became one of the greatest rulers the world had ever seen.

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