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Chapter-1

A Happy Family

A happy family is like a watch. You look at a watch and what does it tell you? It tells time of course. Similarly look at a happy family. Does it not tell you something?
This is the story of such a happy family.
You see that huge figure in working clothes walking in easy stride? There he turns to walk through the path shaded by trees. The figure is none other than Father Adonai.
All that land you see out there belongs to him. There are orchards for fruit trees, acres and acres of land for different sort of crops and fields for grazing. He owns forestlands and lakes filled with fishes that swim therein. He is keeping them safe so one day he may give it all to his children.
He is the head of a happy family.
As a father to his children, so are his field hands to him. See how field hands salute him with easy familiarity? He is happy with them. There are thousands of them working at any part of this land. From one end to the other his land sweeps your eye to the horizon. You can walk for miles and see the horizon still stays somewhere in middle of his demesne. And didn’t you notice how green are his fields? A sea of emerald green swaying in wind does need constant care. He knows his field hands work hard and he is happy with them.

He as the landlord sets an example. He takes no chance with his land. He is out there in all kinds of weather to see his land yield its best. In order to achieve this he knows how important are those who work there. He daily keeps himself out in the open and puts himself in their midst. He takes care of all that happens in his land. It is as vast as its yield is awesome. Its wealth in a way shows he has set a good example.
His wealth has been created because of his care for his land and people.
See now how cheerful he is?
The master is cheerful since he has done with his task for the morning. As he walks under the shade he is happy because he knows he has a home to go to. No sooner than he has done the morning’s work he turns towards his home.
Come rain or sunshine he goes home around noon. Like the minute hand of a watch he walks in one direction along the shaded path. It leads him to his home. His home is where he has reared his two sons. He smiles at the thought. Only as happy and a proud father can.
He cheerfully waves to some tenants who wait at a distance. They are smallholders. They work on some parcel of land belonging to him. Each year the Lord of Sans-Souci sets how much each tenant should give him. It is his land and whatever he says they are willing to abide by. So Father Adonai can always speak easily with them. But that noon he smiles but waves them away indicating that he has no time at that moment.
Everyone in Sans-Souci knows the rule. The Lord is not to be troubled while he has lunch with his children. Lunch is always a family occasion. It is the only time when he sat down with his dear sons and heard them talk. During lunch they may talk over anything. Anything under the sun they shall speak warmed by the warmth of their father. The field hands know that for sure. So do the smallholders who are sorry they didn’t come to meet him when he had time for them.
Father Adonai cannot wait to go in and he turns the corner where that plane tree stands. See how he freezes? There he sees something that makes him feel hot and cold by turns. And doesn’t that face take on some frightful aspect? Come closer and I shall let you into a secret.
Every happy family has it. The secret is what makes a family special, and it must be treated as such by all members of the family. Whatever is their secret causes him double as if in pain; and anger such as only a father can feel.
Don’t expect me to reveal all. (No one can feel interest in all the twists and turns of a family secret as the members themselves.) I shall therefore have to use my utmost discretion. On that condition follow me; we are intruding into a family drama.
There the Lord of Sans-Souci strides into his mansion.
Isn’t it strange to see a man who is one moment so light hearted and on the next thrown into a black mood? Yes. There must be a mystery, you will agree. In order to clear the air I must tell you what went before.
2.
Yes, the only thing Adonai loved above his land was his family. Having lost his wife so early he had none to love but his two sons. Nimrud was the older boy and Josh the younger. Their education was in the hands of a clutch of tutors who taught things dear to the heart of the master and lord of Sans-Souci. As a result the sons knew the world outside was of no consequence for their wellbeing.
In addition to their tutors Father Adonai also taught them many things himself. These practical lessons were taught whenever he took them for rides. More often as they grew older. How lovingly he told them of what he intended to give them! Whatever they looked at belonged to them. Who would not be impressed? He stopped every now and then, to show different soils that underpinned the wealth of Sans-Souci. He would explain how each helped to cultivate a certain crop better than the other. “The trick is in understanding the soil and making it yield a bumper crop.” Such visits helped them learn of the secret of their enormous wealth.
Another time the father took them through the fields and showed the channels he had cut extensively so every part of his ground could benefit. His irrigation systems worked well, he said. He then took them where he had built large reservoirs to hold water from a distant river. “ So the river flows straight into our tanks?” Josh was beginning to understand a little more clearly. Another time passing along a chain of hills he wanted to know if the hills also belonged to them. Father Adonai shook himself with laughter, ”Of course we own them.” Master Josh was only twelve and he was beginning to ask questions. It pleased him greatly. He showed promise.
Next day during the lunch he asked his father, ”Papa did we plant the hills?” ”No silly!” retorted Nimrud and explained, ”Papa got them along with the land. Am I not correct Papa?” Father Adonai nodded and asked them to eat what was set on their plates.” You ought to thank you get a full plate anytime.” The children bowed their heads in reverence to him. ”Yes Papa. There is no denying.” He said kindly that they should enjoy all the bounty that was given without let-up. Nimrud nudged his younger brother to tell him,” your secret is safe with me. Only that you should not disappoint our dear father.” Their father raised his eyebrows to holler, ”Secret eh?” He asked with his forefinger wagging, ”Come, there is a dear son and between us no secrets!” Nimrud nudged his sibling to come clean and he said, ”Papa I called on Ole’ Lazarus, this morning.”
“That lazy goose,” cried the father, ”you see how wretched his condition is? Only he is to blame for his misery!” Josh fell silent and Nimrud looked at his father helplessly, ”Josh can be sometimes a bit annoying. Father just give him time.” Father softly urged his younger son to perk up and finish his plate. Josh said he couldn’t eat thinking there were such misery around. “Between him and you. Why such a difference, I wonder?”
Father Adonai was about to speak. Nimrud was sure it served him right. “To go gallivanting around places that one was sure to get lost.”
”I only wandered within the walls of Sans-Souci!” he defended himself. “ I am surprised, Josh!” Nimrud perorated with gestures suitable to the high-mindedness he always displayed. Even Father Adonai thought it was uncalled for. “Nimrud, interrupting me before I am finished is rude.” He heard them and nodded his head as though they might make up their differences and both did.
Quickly they were chattering away as though nothing had happened. ‘Children are so resilient,’ he mused happily.
They often argued between themselves. They also made up as often.
Father Adonai was also used to their curiosity. Often they peppered him with questions and it did not make him feel irritated. Instead he felt buoyant. He had two children who used their heads. He was certain of one thing. They were completely different- as opposite as black was from white.
Nimrud when he became fourteen knew how he wanted to please his father. On that day after opening the presents he got from all he hugged his father and said, ”Your work takes too much effort from you. Oh father I intend to make it all ‘very scientific.”
“Being very scientific and all that is fine.” Adonai wanted to know how it helped him. Nimrud answered,” I shall make every field hand work double time. Twice as much yield it will give you. I assure you it would be scientific.” “Good.” Father Adonai laughed heartily and he felt happy.
Days passed.
One noon while the father came for lunch Nimrud came running to him to whisper, ”Tomorrow is Josh’s birthday. You haven’t forgotten it. Have you, Papa?” Hugging him he shook his head. “We will surprise him tomorrow,” he whispered into his son’s ears. Joshua his younger son meanwhile came into the house leading a friend of his. Nimrud could see it from where he was. Hurriedly he left his father.
Josh did not know what was the matter. His brother stood there red all over. Oh boy was he angry! Nimrud having come in a fluster roughly pulled him aside and said how cross he was with him. He then blurted out, ”You are a silly brat. Don’t you know how papa is particular about lunch?” Knowing they were alone he explained it was the only time the three had an intimate moment to chat and catch up with family matters. He also said he had no business to bring Gabby to lunch. ‘You could be thoughtless,- so stupid to deserve a knock on the head.”
Josh answered it was all right but he didn’t understand why Gabriel could not be with him. “He is my best friend. And Papa wouldn’t mind. I am sure.” He was ready to vouch for his good behaviour. Having failed to smoothen his brother’s temper Josh took the matter directly with his father who assured him that he didn’t mind it all.
In fact he was happy that Josh had his heart in the right place. Gabby wasn’t one whom Nimrud would have ever kept as a companion. He was the son of a tenant farmer. Nimrud especially disliked him because his father did not do as he was told. Whoever upset his father was no friend of his. Nimrud thought his father was entirely in the right to send off one who failed to pay his dues often. Nimrud didn’t think much of his son.
Father Adonai saw his older son was particular of whom he chose as friends. ‘Only those who were in similar circumstances as he’ as he once explained to his father, ’so I bring reverence to your name and position.’ But Joshua was so different in his outlook. He looked at Gabriel and cared for him not because of his father. He let his father to deal with his own. His friend treated him like a friend and nothing more he needed to know. And as for title and honor, he treated them as trifles. Lord Adonai couldn’t understand why. But he had a tender and warm heart that satisfied his father. “Let him,” muttered the Lord of Sans-Souci,” and learn from experience.”

(To be Cont’d)

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“Science Education in the United States is the equivalent of a radically divided market because it takes place in 16,000 largely autonomous school districts. If a new drug is developed by a pharmaceutical company, it can be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and then sold to everyone in the United States. But “if you have figured out the equivalent of . . . the latest cure in science education, you must, in a sense, persuade 16,000 FDAs that this is the antidote to their ills. And therein lies one dimension of what makes this problem so massive.” When politics enter the hallowed halls of education there falls a shadow of votes that obscurantism carry. So creationism, intelligent design and many other opinions must also be allowed in. Where politics is matter of numbers one would assume mathematics ought to be high in priorities.

U.S. students with reported higher levels of confidence scored lower than students in other countries who reported themselves to be less confident. For example, 39 percent of U.S. students said that they usually do well in mathematics, while just 4 percent of students in Japan said the same. Yet the average mathematics score in the United States was considerably lower than that in Japan.“We tend to believe that a large determinant of a student’s success in school is ability,” Sullivan said. “In many other cultures and countries, it is perceived and believed that the correlation is with effort, with work, with investment, and self-discipline.”Here we have the finger on the pulse of anti-Science. Lack of self-discipline is the worm in the can: given the premium on wealth and affluence the privileged children can afford the best education and opportunities as we recently witnessed appointment of one to a top job had the whole nation divided. Parties either covered up the nominee’s past or dismissed the minority party as ‘playing politics. Politics has taken over civility truth and good manners. How can Science perform without scientific temper where truth must be shown for what is?
So bad science is where human potential had been already compromised by what wealth plays in the national blood stream. The young from privileged Haves develop rather affluenza and one of the legal luminaries who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court admitted in his diary that ‘obnoxious drunk’ more or less explained their status. It was achieved with no sweat and it is part of the American dream.
There remains a very sharp divide between the perceptions of leaders in the United States and the perceptions of parents. Even though most parents know that more mathematics and science are needed for students, they tend not to extend that reasoning to their own children. (Ack: 2. Science and Science Education in the United States/ Kathryn Sullivan, director of the Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy at Ohio State Uni/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26409)
Major threat to the future is our collective influence on the climate, environment and biodiversity, So, it’s important to have international conversations about how to combat the pressures humanity has placed on the world. And it’s much easier to solve the world’s problems, such as by combating climate change, than by packing up our things and going to a new planet. But politics can find yet another topic if climate control does not bring in votes and serve equally disastrous to the whole world. There must be a truism that a nation who achieves the superpower status may do ten victory laps and yet prove disastrous for future.

“It’s a dangerous illusion to think that we can escape the world’s problems by going to Mars,” In fact, robots — who will likely be better-adapted to space travel than humans — will mostly be the ones exploring the cosmos while man shall be still playing politics and keep Anti-Science alive and a threat. Robots are not truly a threat for the future as man is. “I don’t worry as much as some people do about AI taking over,” one Scientist said recently, “Humans evolved from earlier primates because of natural selection, and the traits that were favored were intelligence and aggression”. Electronics “are not engaged in a struggle for survival as in Darwinian selection, so there’s no reason why they should be aggressive,” he said. For that reason, they probably won’t kill off the human race and expand into the universe. That would be too “anthropomorphic” of them.”(Ack: Live Science)
Benny

Here is a quote from an article from Nature of 10, March,2015: “In another embarrassing moment for US scientists, Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) last month theatrically tossed a snowball onto the floor of the Senate during a debate on global warming. Despite all the talk of record temperatures in 2014, he said, there was snow on the lawn of the Capitol in Washington DC in winter.
Inhofe may or may not be aware of the distinction between weather and climate. Either way, he is unlikely to alter his views on climate change. More important is how such messages are received by the public, and in particular by the millions of schoolchildren who will be wrestling with the problem of global warming long after Inhofe is gone.
The United States has an opportunity to hugely improve the way that Earth sciences are taught in its schools. The difference between weather and climate, for example, could become standard discussion for third-grade classes, when children are eight or nine years old. Powerful lobby groups are trying to derail this opportunity. All scientists should help to stop them. (Ack: /www.nature.com/news /Help to fight the battle for Earth in US schools/ Nicole D.LaDue)”

One of the disastrous consequences of universal literacy which of course was a natural result of Enlightenment and it is what we see in the field of education. Science made Easy for all one could say was a typical American invention. As a result we have Pop Science as expounded through pop culture by superheroes. Superman, Spiderman and Wonder woman et al. Education geared to keep the Junior off trouble served through Marvel comics and DC comics has only created nay sayers on climate control take control. What happened? Did we trivialize Science without acquiring scientific temper? How can we not when nations let education find means to fund itself. Naturally funds provided by Big Corporations come to dictate future and education was geared to profits. So money invested paid off the Corporations well. So we have now alternate Science and Science.
Liberty is my birthright, right? Under capitalism what is time consuming research is Bad Science. So let those who foot the bill hold the world to ransom. For a profit margin we see before us the specter of Anti-Science and the nation whose only survival strategy is on dollar and cents fight shy of the Paris Accord. Their deep state is coal and fossil fuel.
We have this news:
“It’s the final call, say scientists, the most extensive warning yet on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Their dramatic report on keeping that rise under 1.5 degrees C says the world is now completely off track, heading instead towards 3C. Keeping to the preferred target of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will mean “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

It will be hugely expensive – but the window of opportunity remains open.

After three years of research and a week of haggling between scientists and government officials at a meeting in South Korea, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a special report on the impact of global warming of 1.5C.(Ack: BBC online news)

The politics in the US has made the movers and shakers in the White House deny the facts. It is fake news which is fashionable so Pop science give the Environmental Agency some ‘facts’ that are stranger than Science. Past debacles are alternate facts so anything where preferred lobby groups can make fat profits seems to win the argument each time.
Can a task force of insects carrying genetically modified viruses save America’s farms — or are they an uncontrollable bioweapon in the making? Forget about killer bees of yesterday and this is the realm of Insect Allies yielding a kill at the drop of command,”Go!”

This is the debate swirling around a controversial new Pentagon research project called “Insect Allies.” Funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project involves using gene-editing techniques like CRISPR to infect insects with modified viruses that could help make America’s crops more resilient. If a cornfield were hit by an unexpected drought or suddenly exposed to a pathogen, for example, Insect Allies might deploy an army of aphids carrying a genetically modified virus to slow the corn plant’s growth rate.

According to the DARPA website, these “targeted therapies” could take effect in a single growing season, potentially protecting the American crop system from food security threats like disease, flooding, frost and even “threats introduced by state or non-state actors.(www.Live Science.com)

(To be concluded)

Goldfishes: pastel


Reprinted from an earlier post.

A CHILD’S PLAY

Mr. Leigh C. Bones may have been blessed with a handle Lazybones but he was in need of work like every other to give him satisfaction. He was up and early. He was looking for work. He went directly to A to Z Employment Agency.
He was in a line along with many others. He could see the poster behind the lady. It said. Work? A Child’s Play Here.
Mr.Bones knew he came to the right place. When his turn came up he was all- eager. Politely he said,’ Good morning, Miss!”
The lady laid aside some papers. She asked smartly for particulars while tapping some keys at her computer. He gave them. A few more taps and she was done. She smiled cheerfully glancing towards him. Mr.Bones knew work was a child’s play with the agency. He was glad that he joined up.
She asked while checking her papers, ”Work experience?”
“None.” Mr. Bones answered truthfully. The nice lady attending to him replied, ”Good!” He almost fell off in surprise. “Good did you say?”
“Yes,” she replied, “it saves the bother of filling in.” Mr.Lazybones could well appreciate it.
A man in overalls and wearing a hardhat came over to escort Mr.Lazybones. “Where are you taking me?” he asked him.

Mr.Lazybones did not have time to fully recover from his pleasant experience of joining up. “Your front desk was sure a child’s play.” Mr.Lazybones observed.
They were at a work site. The man in overalls showed shovels, which were stacked in one part of the field. “Have you made sandcastles as a child?” “Oh yes!” Mr. Lazybones said in excitement, ”Where is the beach, my good man?”
“The name is Mr. Foreman. “The man in hardhat said,
” There is no beach. But you worked with a shovel as a child. Did you not?”
“But I did it for fun.”
“Think this also as though you do for fun.”
“Impossible!”Mr.Lazybones replied, ”without a beach I cannot work myself into a mood.”
Mr.Foreman was irritated but he wanted to make work as a child’s play. Mr. Lazybones knew digging for a skyscraper was not his idea of fun. So the man escorted him to the site where workers were blasting a tunnel through a mountain. “Have you set off fireworks as a child?”
“That is a child’s play I can enjoy still.” Mr. Lazybones said with feeling, ”My friends and I would compete with one another to find who could set off the loudest noise possible. Good old days!”
“Good!” Mr. Foreman smiled. He led him to the store where explosives were kept. “You can work with them whole day!”
Mr. Lazybones saw those sticks, and warning labels plastered all over the place. He rummaged in his pocket for something, which his escort did not kindly take to. He asked,” See that sign over there? He nodded,” No smoking, it says; you are not going to blow up the whole place by smoking?” Mr.Lazybones in a shudder put back his kerchief. “ I am breaking out in a sweat.” He swallowed hard and added, “The whole place looks highly dangerous to me. Are you certain these sticks do not go off without warning?” Before Mr.Foreman could leave he caught up with him and said, “I shall not work without my friends.”
An angry Mr.Foreman led him to the place were bricks were heaped so high. So many hills they looked. “Have you played with coloured blocks as a child?”
“Well I have,”Mr.Lazybones said, ”But I am not a child to believe these are the same blocks I played with. These are bricks and if I were to handle these I shall get dirty.” Mr.Foreman was almost frothing in his mouth and his hands were itching to grab him by the throat.
“Besides working hard makes me sweat,”Mr.Lazybones suddenly broke off since the man had such a nasty look. He said, ”Mr. Foreman, I can see mention of work makes you very uncomfortable.”
Mr.Lazybones went home. His wife greeted him at the door and asked, ”Did you bring home the bacon?”
“No!”
“Good!”
“Good did you say?”
“Good! That saves the bother of cooking.” She was called Mrs. Lazybones. Naturally.
A fine pair they were.

(Originallu posted on May 1,2009, and revised)

Benny

The Language of the Birds

I can tell you my dear readers only in Russia this story could have taken place. My sad fate awaits whosoever aims high beyond such gifts God in heaven has chosen to give. You may know that I am a king’s son and the reins of my kingdom slipped out of my hands for one error; But that was long ago and now I have this story which even after so many years is still strange and wondrous as when it happened. So hear me patiently and you may find in it something worthwhile.
{Somewhere in a town in holy Russia, there lived a rich merchant with his wife. He had an only son, by name Ivan. One day while the three supped a nightingale in its cage in another room carolled; many times they had heard the bird sing but that particular moment its song carried certain loveliness that the father listened and turned to his wife and said, “I am sure the bird is trying to speak something for which I can vouch with my life. But what?” Thereafter he fell into melancholy. He was never the same.
This strange and abrupt turn did not escape the notice of his son. Ever since no matter where he went, no matter where he was, no matter what he did, he always had only one thought: ‘How shall I master the language of the birds?’
One day Ivan went into the fields to hunt but a sudden downpour followed by thunder and lightening sent him into the woods.
Ivan soon came near a large tree and saw a big nest in the branches. Four small birds were in the nest; they were quite alone, and neither father nor mother was there to protect them from the cold and wet. The good Ivan pitied them, climbed the tree and covered the little ones with his “kaftan,” and by and by the thunderstorm passed. A big owl came flying and sat down on a branch near the nest and spoke very kindly to Ivan. After thanking the boy the bird wanted to do something in return. He said ‘As king of the birds it is within my power to grant your wish.”
At first Ivan would not say but the bird encouraged to speak. The bird-king pressed him and he said “ Oh teach me the birds’ language.”
“Stay with me three days and thou shalt know all about it.”
Ivan remained in the forest three days. He understood well the teaching of the big bird and returned home.
Some time later he was having dinner with his parents and as soon as the nightingale began he made a gesture to them to keep quiet. After the bird ceased singing Ivan began to weep and it startled his parents. When pressed for a reason he said he could understand what the bird was trying say.
“What then is the meaning? Tell us the whole truth; do not hide it from us,” said the father and mother. The son sighed and said, “I wish I was never born!” Alarmed the father was all the more eager to know why he became distraught.
“Do you not hear for yourselves? The nightingale says: ‘The time will come when Ivan, the merchant’s son, shall become Ivan, the king’s son, and his own father shall serve him as a simple servant.'”
The merchant and his wife felt troubled and began to distrust their son, their good Ivan. So one night they gave him a drowsy drink, and when he had fallen asleep the father and his servants put him in a boat on the wide sea, spread the white sails as the wind became strong; pushing her to the sea they made good of their escape.
The boat with Ivan, bobbing up and down and driven by strong winds came near a large merchant vessel, which struck against it. Only when the seamen pulled him aboard Ivan woke up. Ivan was loath to tell what brought him there but requested the captain to let him pay his way up some far off lands. Thus he became a seaman. One day they spotted cranes circling overhead. Ivan said to the sailors:
“Be careful; I hear the birds predicting a storm. Let us enter a harbour or we shall suffer great danger and damage. All the sails will be torn and all the masts will be broken.”
But no one paid any attention and they went farther on. Just as he had predicted the storm arose and did great damage. The captain of the ship skilfully steered the damaged ship to the nearest haven. When they were done and ready for the next leg of voyage they heard many wild swans flying above them and talking very loud among themselves.
“What are they talking about?” inquired the men, this time with interest.
“Be careful,” advised Ivan. “I hear and distinctly understand them to say that the pirates, the terrible sea robbers, are near.” They discussed and safely towed the ship to another part so when the pirates went on pillaging many ships in their path Ivan had saved the ship from all harm.
After making sure they were safe the ship with Ivan went farther and after many months of sailing they anchored in the harbour of another kingdom. The king who ruled the kingdom was much annoyed by three black crows. These three crows were not simply birds but they spoke as they were taught at the feet of Satan himself. One went on reciting all the time ill about other kings; the second one never stopped how to conquer other kingdoms and make their people work in gulags. The third crow went on chattering how much profits for the winner and loss for the loser and so forth. No one knew how to get rid of them and no one could kill them. The king ordered notices to be placed throughout the broadways and byways saying that whoever was able to relieve the king from the noisy birds would be rewarded by obtaining the youngest korolevna, the king’s daughter, for a wife; but whosoever lost was to be hanged forthwith. Ivan read the announcement, once, twice, and once more for good measure.
Ivan went to the palace and presented himself. The King’s men took him to the king’s chamber. Opening the window they retreated so Ivan could hear them at his leisure and as usual crows began the day with their ranting. In between pause Ivan leant out and beckoned said, “Rube, you are wasting your breath. Didn’t you hear peace has been declared?” The crow looked at the speaker, “Long ago?”
“Yes, next time you speak ill of other,- another word, the word will go to your king. You know what will happen then?” Rube almost fell off from his branch. He told other two crows, “wait till I ask the little prince.” He flew off. Ivan called the next crow to ask, “Misha, How long will you play the fool? You know what happens to those who teach others to do evil?” “Now what? You tell me!” Ivan replied smoothly, “ Evil always returns to the doer. You want a lightening to strike you?” Misha almost did a somersault and said to the third crow, “Let me give a piece of my mind to prince Igor who dealt with us treacherously.” With two crows gone Ivan called sharply and said, “Boris, you can add and subtract but lie is whatever you have said so far. The little prince meant you great harm.” Boris just quaked and said, “I put herewith a curse on the little prince. He taught us man’s ways in return for learning the language of the birds. I speak no idle words.” The other two crows came back and said, “Prince Igor is struck with a shaking fit even as we said our piece” Boris looked at Ivan and said, “You saw how my curse works, master?” The three crows vowed never to speak or glorify war and they flew off.
The king duly gave one-half of his kingdom and his youngest daughter to Ivan, and a happy life began for him.
In the meantime his father, the rich merchant through constant wars lost his wife and his fortune also. There was no one left to take care of him, and the old man went begging and after months whom does he see but his son? He and his bride had come in the neighbouring kingdom on a state visit. Ivan saw him and recognized him, ordered him to come inside, and gave him food to eat and also supplied him with good clothes, asking questions:
“Dear old man, what can I do for you?” he said.
“If thou art so very good,” answered the poor father, without knowing that he was speaking to his own son, “let me remain here and serve thee among thy faithful servants.”
“Dear, dear father!” exclaimed Ivan, “The language of the birds are not idle tales. And now recall how the nightingale foresaw our fate? The birds are messengers. They were once before the Heavenly Father and their offspring in many plumes and in many tongues praise his goodness.” Pointing to some wood pigeons Ivan told his father, “Even so they encircle above telling in vain, for we hear them; do we really understand them?” His father nodded in agreement. For the remaining years he lived in the household of his son.}
You must wonder where do I come in? I am born a prince. My servants addressed me Prince Igor. I was the wisest, but I took a wrong step. When I set out to learn the language of the birds I went to an eagle in the Black Mountains and learned it. In return I taught the bird, ways of man and what makes him dominate every other creature on the earth. My knowledge I put to wrong use. It is obvious. You see I can’t even hold a pen or write. Some crow put a curse on me. That was long ago.
The End