THE IN­VEN­TION OF SHOES

Active Kids - - Kids‛ Story - (Adap­ta­tion of Rabindranatha Tagore’s poem, “The In­ven­tion of Shoes”).

One day, Hobu, the King of Chan­dra­pur was very angry with his min­is­ter, Gobu. He was sick of the dust which clung to his feet. “You take high wages from me but never bother to serve the de­mands of your king! My own soil is soil­ing my feet. I can’t tol­er­ate this! Un­less you find a so­lu­tion for this grave is­sue, you are doomed to death”! King Hobu snarled. Min­is­ter Gobu was very frightened. He called all the courtiers, schol­ars and pan­dits of Chan­dra­pur. He said, “Seven days are there for you. Find a so­lu­tion for the King’s soiled feet, if not be ready to face the royal rage”. A thou­sand gold coins will be the re­ward. Wise men came for­ward one by one with great ideas. One sci­en­tist said, “If the crust of the earth loses its dust, you couldn’t grow food grains, so be care­ful”. Every­body nod­ded their heads and agreed. The pun­dit from Ka­lighat said, “Min­is­terji, it is so sim­ple, buy mil­lions of

brooms and sweep away the dust”. Min­is­ter Gobu or­dered for it. The army started to sweep the land. The dust from the street filled the royal palace of King Hobu. Peo­ple were blinded by the dust, they coughed and sneezed. King Hobu was so angry that he shouted.”Fools, in­stead of clean­ing the dust, you have added more. Now clean it away! Min­is­ter Gobu sum­moned one lakh wa­ter­men for sprin­kling wa­ter to set­tle the dust down. They drained all the lakes and rivers. Boats couldn’t sail in the streams. Wa­ter crea­tures died land an­i­mals strug­gled to swim in the pools of wa­ter on the streets and roads. All the business of Chan­dra­pur King­dom was stuck. Wa­ter, wa­ter, ev­ery­where! King Hobu screamed in dis­tress, “My army of asses has changed my king­dom to a patch of marshy land. Gobu tell me, what is the rem­edy?” Gobu said, “Your Majesty can al­ways sit in a closed cham­ber so that your royal feet will never touch the dust’’.”How can I rule my king­dom sit­ting in a closed cham­ber? Angry King Hobu snarled like a lion. Padma River came for­ward, bowed be­fore the King and said, “Your Majesty, we can cover the earth with a leather sheet, for that we have to just find a smart leather man”. “What a won­der­ful idea! Per­mis­sion granted”, said King Hobu. The Royal Army searched ev­ery­where for such a crafts man. They knocked at the doors of all the leather works men in the coun­try. But they couldn’t find even one. Then one day an old cob­bler came to the palace. He had a so­lu­tion for the King’s prob­lem. King Hobu sum­moned him in. “The Royal Army of Chan­dra­pur is in search of a leather works man to cover the whole king­dom with a leather sheet. I hope you can do it”, King Hobu said. The cob­bler replied: “Your Majesty, for that we don’t have to cover the king­dom with a leather sheet, just cover your holy feet”. “What? Cover His Majesty’s feet! What im­pu­dence! Sol­diers ar­rest him and throw into the prison!” Min­is­ter Gobu screamed. “Let him fin­ish his work”, de­clared King Hobu. The old man sat silently at the feet of the King and took the mea­sure­ment of King Hobu’s feet. Then he took some leather pieces and sewed them to­gether. The leather man dressed up His Majesty’s feet with beau­ti­ful leather cov­er­ings. King Hobu walked grace­fully in the palace cham­ber. He laughed aloud, clapped his hands and said, “Great idea! Oh leather man! you are so wise! You have solved the se­ri­ous prob­lem which was trou­bling Chan­dra­pur.You can be my royal ad­vi­sor”. King Hobu em­braced the cob­bler. He pa­raded be­fore his courtiers with the newly in­vented leather cov­er­ing for his feet. That is how shoes were in­vented.

SHIRLY SO­MA­SUN­DARAM. Vidy­o­daya School, Er­naku­lam

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