Short Story - Clever Boy
Cheemo, the young son of a shepherd used to go to the pasture to graze his sheep everyday. He would set out in the mornings to return just before sunset with his sheep.
One day, he sat at a place in the pasture thinking of something. Suddenly, his eyes brightened up and he tossed up his fur cap high in the air excitedly.
The fur cap came down to fall over the head of a mounted horse that was passing by. It scared the horse and it reared up on its hind legs. The rider fell off the horse.
The rider was the son of the richest merchant of the city. He was going on some business of his father in his fine clothes.
The accident angered the young man. He got up and dusted his clothes. Then, he screamed at the shepherd boy, “Stupid boy! Don’t you have any sense? You frightened my horse and I fell down.”
Cheemo spoke, ‘I had tossed my cap in joy. How could I know that it would frighten the horse by falling on its head?”
‘What was the reason for such joy? Let me hear it. I would have spanked you had I got seriously hurt.”
Cheemo revealed, ‘My father had posed a riddle to me and I hit on the answer.”
‘What was the riddle?’
“What is higher than a man but is shorter than a hen”
“What can that be?’
‘Don’t you also know the answer?’
‘I know, silly… But I want to hear it from you,” the young man cleverly said.
Cheemo informed proudly, “A cap1 On the head it is always higher than a man. But down on the ground it is shorter than a hen.’
Cheemo’s cleverness pleased the Youngman. ‘Smart kid. huh! Now if you get me something. I will give you a lot of reward. When I come back here tomorrow on my way back, keep a sheep ready for me it shouldn’t be black white, grey, mixed black and white or of any other colour.”
The Youngman departed after saying that. And Cheemo thought and thought about it.
The next day, he was grazing his sheep. The Youngman arrived on his horse on his way back. He asked, ’Why dear boy! Have you got the sheep I asked for?”
Cheemo cheerfully replied, ‘Yes young sir! I got it. It is at my home. You can send your man and collect it any time. But remember that it shouldn’t be Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And he shouldn’t come during morning day, evening or night”
The Youngman laughed loudly and said “I am very pleased at your cleverness. Take these five gold coins as your reward. And remember, if you ever need job come to me straight away.”
The Youngman gave the coins and his address to Cheemo. Then he raced his horse away.