The Priest and his clever son

The Preast
The Priest

It is so said that the dog’s tail is curled and will ever remain curled. So, one thing you can’t straighten up on this earth is a dog’s tail. If you straighten it out, it just snaps back again! Even if you tie it down, it won’t stay put. It’s just made that way.

In very very old days there lived a poor priest. He had a young and clever son. Priest was very upset with his state of life. Once talking to his son he said, “The life is not going anywhere, I need to earn some magical power, power by which I can control this world. I’m going to pray the god and offer him sacrifice, really hard stuff, and get the most powerful magic from god. I’m going now; you look after the temple.”

So he went in to the dark forest and began this prayer. Days, months, seasons, and then years went by and the priest religiously performed the worship.  Then one day, God came and asked the priest, “What do you want?”

“Oh lord; I want the whole world in the palm of my hand!”

“The world’s bigger than your hand, you know,” explained god.

“I don’t care! I want that kind of power!”

“All right,” said god. “Five elements govern this world, and I’m going to put them under your control. Then you can rule the world as you like.”

God summoned the leader of the 5 elements and said to him, “From this very moment this priest will govern your actions. From now on, obey him.”

“All right, my lord. Before I surrender to him I want one promise that he must give me work every day. I’m not of those types who can just sit around idle, not even for a minute. If he doesn’t keep me occupied, I’ll eat him.”

“Hear that, Priest?” asked god.

“Yes, I give my promise that I will always keep him occupied with work. I have got loads of work for him; he can’t possibly finish it.”

So god sent the leader of the 5 elements to work for the priest.

The priest then returned back to the temple where he reunited with his son. The priest said to his son, “I wanted a boon, but… well, I guess I made a mistake.”

“What happened father, why do you look so sad?”

“I performed a great prayer and the God was happy with it. He came down to fulfill my desire. Bit I am confused if god give me what I asked for. I mean, I told him I wanted to control the world, and he gave me the power to control the 5 elements that make with earth. The problem is the elements must be kept busy all the time; if not, he’ll eat us up!”

Shaking with fear, the priest also said, “You be the one to give him work; I know only you can manage this situation.” Then, telling the leader of elements to take orders from his son, the priest slipped away.

Next day the leader of elements went to the son and asked, “What work shall I do, sir?”

“Look at this vast ocean; you must empty it completely before nightfall. I don’t want to see a single drop of water!” said the son. The elements went to the ocean, sucked deeply and half the ocean disappeared! He drank again and the whole ocean was gone. “This is too easy,” he thought and sat down.

It was still some time for sun set so he went back to the son, who asked, “Have you drunk up the ocean? Are you sure nothing is left, not a drop.” When the son saw that this was true, he began to feel a little worried: “My father has put me in a big trouble. Of course, he is the head of elements who govern the world.”

“How about some more work today?” asked the leader of elements but the son sent him away.

The next day, the leader came to the son and said, “Sir, last days work was very easy and not worth my effort; give me some real work today.”

The son thought, “All right, let’s use these elements to make us rich; we could do with a nice house, at least.” So he said, “See those sixty acres over there. Go and cut down all the trees and bushes, and then build two beautiful golden mansions – all before nightfall!”

When the leader blew hard, he uprooted huge trees which flew in the air and landed miles away. Then he leveled the ground and blew a whistle. Suddenly thousands of people appeared and began to construct pillars and windows made of the nine gems – diamonds, emeralds, rubies, cats-eye, coral, and pearls, in just couple of hours that army had finished built two beautiful golden mansions glittering with jewels.

The leader returned to the son, who asked if he had completed the task. “Look at the mansions! C’mon, you’re giving me simple tasks,” said the leader. “We’ll see what better you can do; come back tomorrow,” said the son. The son was very worried by now.

In the evening, the son began to think, “Right. We have built golden mansions; now I have got to get rid of him somehow.” Wondering would he send back the leader back to god without losing his own life. He saw a dog lying outside the temple. Looking at the dog, he remembered what people said about a dog’s tail – one can never ever straighten it out.

In the morning the leader of elements appeared the clever son knew what to ask for. “Listen,” said the son, “today you’ve got to straighten this dog’s tail. It’s got to be perfectly straight! And you can’t hurt the dog or do anything to its hair. Can’t harm it in any way. Not a scratch on its tail, mind you. But the tail must stand up straight, before dark.” the son added, “if you could not do this you are of no use to he, then you may go back to the god and never show me your face.”

The leader of elements confidently grabbed the tail, smoothed its hair and slowly unrolled it. “The dog’s tail is nice and straight,” thought the leader. “Now let’s see what happens.” With these words, he let the tail go. Snap! It snapped back into a curl! The leader would try it again and again, but its tail did what it always does.

He tried smearing it with butter, thinking that might smooth it out, but that didn’t work either. Snap! Right back into a curl.

What to do? He found some silk thread and a stick, then laid the stick along the straightened tail and tied it on with the thread. You know, like a splint for a broken limb. He kept it like that for half an hour, but when he untied it – snap! Back went the tail into a curl. Again and again, he tied it and loosened it, but the tail rolled back up every time. By this time the sun had set.

In the morning the priest came and asked his son about the leader of elements. “He is gone, father, gone forever. We are safe now, do not worry any more. The poor chap could not straighten the dog’s tail. Look! We have these golden mansions to spend the rest of our lives in!” Thereafter they lived a rich man’s life in those golden mansions.

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