The king yawned, once again.
“Fifty-three,” said the doctor.
“No, fifty-four,” mumbled the magician.
The king shouted in annoyance, “How does it matter whether it is the fifty-third yawn or fifty-fourth? When will I get sleep?”
“My Lord, it is just a matter of a few more minutes and then you will surely get a sound sleep,” said the doctor.
“My Lord, my magic has never failed. Just try to relax your frayed nerves and the magic will do the rest,” said the magicians.
“Throw these buffoons out of the palace,” the king thundered at his soldiers.
The king had not been able to sleep for many months. He would yawn and yawn and yawn but sleep would not come. He would toss on his bed; he would stroll in his room; he would walk in the garden but sleep refused to oblige him. Doctors had tried their medicines and magicians had tried their magic but all to no avail.
The king announced that anyone who would help him sleep would be declared heir to the throne for he had no son of his own.
One day a young man, named Hewise, came to the palace and said to the king, “My Lord, I don’t need to be declared as your heir for I am a farmer and I love my farm more than your kingdom. But if you do what I tell you to do, you will soon sleep like a child.”
The king was impressed by his confidence, “Youngman, I promise that I will do what you ask me to do.”
The man left for a few minutes and came with a boy who was about five years of age.
“My Lord, you have to pretend that you are a boy as young as my son, Newise, and just try to do whatever he does.”
The king looked at the man and his son and laughed, “Are you serious?”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The king agreed.
Newise had never seen a king’s palace. His excitement was boundless when he saw the royal bed chamber. In sheer joy, he started jumping on the ground; next moment he was dancing on the floor and later he was singing as loudly as he could. Sometimes he rolled on the ground and sometimes he laughed for no reason.
The king pretended that he was a little boy and he started copying every action and every movement of Newise. He tried to everything that the child did. But he could not keep pace with the boy and soon he was tired and breathless. It was difficult for him to match the boy’s energy and enthusiasm.
The king finally gave in and raised his hands. He asked the boy to relax for a few minutes. Both of them lay down on the royal bed. Soon the king was sleeping like a child. The boy too fell asleep.
When the king woke up he told Hewise, “This is the magic I had been looking for. If I want to sleep like a child then I will have to live like a child and find joy in everything I do”
The king still yawns but only for a few times; he has learnt to live and sleep like a child.
© i b arora