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Gopal And The Hilsa Fish

- April 29, 2021


By Mansee Jain and Krithika Nair  In the kingdom of Krishnanagar in Bengal, there once lived a king named Krishna Chandra. Among his courtiers, his favourite was Gopal, the jester. Gopal’s wit would often come to the king’s rescue when he was in sticky situations. The jester’s guidance was quite valuable to the king. Once, it was the season of Hilsa fish in Krishnanagar, and nobody could stop talking about it. The fishermen only caught Hilsa fish, for the fishmongers wanted nothing else. Why? Because the people would not buy anything other than Hilsa these days. The Hilsa fever spared no one, it gripped everyone in Krishnanagar right from the householder to the courtiers! For a few days, the king politely indulged all the talk about the fish but sometimes, it was intolerable. “Have you been to the market yet? I heard the price of Hilsa is down today,” said a courtier. “I did! You wouldn’t believe how much I got it for,” the other one replied. “Really?” A third courtier chimed in. “He’s right. I was there early, got the biggest one.” Then, turning to the king, he said, “Your Majesty, you should have seen the Hilsa I bought. It was this big!” while gesturing with his hands. The king could not stand this obsession anymore. “Enough! Not another word about Hilsa. What are you, courtiers or fishermen?” he angrily roared. The court fell silent. They had no intention of angering the king, they were just discussing something that was the talk of the town. Realising that his frustration got the best of him, the king calmed down. “I’m sorry. I lost my temper. It’s just that ever since the Hilsa season has begun, no one has talked about anything else. Nobody can stop anyone from talking about Hilsa. I don’t think even Gopal could do it!” he said. Gopal saw a challenge. Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Urmila Sinha “Oh, I think I could, Your Majesty,” Gopal said with a mischievous smile. The king huffed. “If that is so, then let me see you buy a huge Hilsa and bring it to the palace without a single soul asking you about it.” Gopal accepted the king’s challenge and began to plan his victory. A few days later, Gopal’s wife walked into an interesting scene. Gopal’s usually clean-shaven face was only shaved on one side. He was...

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