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The Axe Forgets, The Tree Remembers

By Sameer Khan

With every breaking dawn, the people of Dunginsberg rose with the thought of a better life. The scorched earth and the wretched faces of the people sang the requiem of their long forgotten dreams. The curious faces of the people hoped for a day where they could go back to their once healthy and prosperous days.

Once upon a time, this town was an epitome of what life should be. Dunginsberg was still a place where the word monarchy was not used with hatred and contempt and they gesticulated in front of their king and considered him reasonable enough to take the rightful decisions for them. They considered that the king will keep their interests in mind while taking a decision. The people of this town reacted with surprise and derision when they used to hear about the revolutions taking place in their neighboring countries. The happening of their neighboring countries was the talking point during their cultural events and they could not fathom that a king could stoop down to the point where he makes his people suffer at the hands of famishment and destitution.

The king of Dunginsberg, Nathaniel XII had all the makings of a great king. However, he was gullible enough to believe someone in the very first chance and this part of his demeanor set the stairway to Dunginsberg’s eventual doom. The king cared for two things i.e. his family and his people. He was ready to go to any lengths in order to guarantee their wellbeing. His people considered him next to the almighty and revered him for every ounce of happiness in their lives. However, his family members considered that it is the king’s duty to satiate their ever increasing demands and desires. He is ought to serve them.

Dunginsberg would have remained like this if that fateful incident on the night of Christmas had not happened. On the night of Christmas, king suffered a fatal disease. It could not be brought to control even by the most learned doctors available within the country. Since the king didn’t leave a rightful descendent or an heir to take his helm, the state expected the king’s brother to take charge and he willingly obliged. However, it was the king’s imminent death that brought to light the true colors of his family. They were overjoyed by the fact that they will get to drive the state on their own terms or “without” any terms. They never had the people’s best interests at heart. They yearned for the crown sans the responsibilities that came with it. The new king had neither the willpower nor the desire for commitment or sacrifices the way his brother had. The King’s Counsel had an inkling of the impending anarchy but they were left with their hands tied behind their backs. They served the new king without considering the implications they inaction were going to have.

The people realized that the situation is amiss when the king’s widow Enya started getting the treatment equivalent to a handmaiden. Since Enya had no one to confess or complain about her ill treatment at the hands of the royal personnel, she took it all in stride and slowly started to accept her fate. However, one day the situation got out of her hand when the new king, in an inebriated state tried to insult her modesty. When Enya tried to resist his actions, she was accused of adultery and exiled for life. The people of Dunginsberg knew that their queen was innocent as they could discern the winds of change in their once prosperous country which was now mired in corruption, adultery and greed but they like the ex-king’s counsel were powerless. Enya had two choices on her hands: accept the king’s decision and leave her homeland forever or fight a fruitless war which will certainly end with her death. She left Dunginsberg with a heavy heart and an ironclad promise that one day she will return to her homeland and obliterate the rule of this diabolic and bacchanalian emperor.

Many years passed and the passage of time and the reign of the tyrant had left the country in dire straits. The neighboring countries which were frowned upon and derided, were taking delight in the best of both worlds while the Dunginsberg natives could just mourn their long lost fortune. People had forgotten Nathaniel XII but there were people like Daniel who still remember him and the glory he brought on Dunginsberg. He compared everything of the present day to how it had been in king Nathaniel’s time. There were many people who shared this sentiment with him and the resentment against the tyrant was growing with every single day. In the years after the king’s death, many people rose up against the tyrant but before they could realize, they found themselves locked up inside the state prison which was ironically named as “The Paradise”. Paradise was the earthly equivalent of hell where every conceivable atrocity was committed. People who went against the tyrant’s wishes were sentenced to a death in “Paradise”, never to be seen again in public light. Graveyards were a common sight in Dunginsberg.

One day, it became high time for “Daniel” to start driving action when his own mother was killed before his own eyes because she refused to serve the kings men as she had only enough grains to serve her family. He knocked on every single door for justice but what he received was derision. The sheer callousness and grotesque nature attached with his mother’s death embarked him on the road to revenge. One thought had been going on in his head for a long time. The time had come to consider it and bring It to the fore. He knew that only one person could help them get justice i.e. their beloved queen Enya but he had no idea where he could find her. It had been many years and no one was aware of her whereabouts. Daniel and the people found her living far away in the remote town, preparing her own army to take down the king. She instantly got ready to help them and the first thing they did was to prepare and motivate the people to take down the “Paradise” because that was the place where the biggest supporters of the state were being held.

The night when the “Paradise” fell on the face of the earth, the tyrant realized that his time has come. The revolutionaries and the queen’s army forced their way through the Palace and brought the king in shackles and manacles. Enya took over the throne and allowed the people to decide what treatment should be given to the tyrant.

Karma has no menu. You get served what you deserve.

Daniel decided to send the prince into exile as he wanted him to suffer at the hands of misery and destitution. Instant Death would have been too easy on him. The tyrant was never seen again and Dunginsberg went back to its healthy and prosperous days. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About the Author: Sameer Khan is from the batch of 2017–19. He is a 2015 Graduate of Aligarh Muslim University. He loves to read mostly fiction even after believing the fact that the moment the last page ends, he will have to face the tunes of reality. But in those moments when the pages are still left to be turned, he can see another world through a character’s eyes believing it to be his. When he feels the need to expand his horizon, he dabbles into Non Fiction.

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