This story was written during the Duckbill Workshop in Delhi. Our thanks to Kanika for allowing us to use this.
Prince Kritya asked Karna, the minister’s son, to go with him on a mission to fetch back his beloved royal ball. Karna, who was afraid of climbing the wall covered with slimy tendrils of creepers came up with an excuse: ‘Rajkumar, I am not blessed with the mighty powers, courage and strength that you have. I haven’t even completed my archery lessons with Guru Bhasmacharya. I am an ordinary child with ordinary brains. But your highness, you are bestowed with exceptional powers that can come handy in fetching the ball.’
‘I know that Karna, but don’t you remember the orders of Maharaja Surajmal? He always insists that I shouldn’t be alone outside the Rajasi Mahal premises. Always under the continuous surveillance of a platoon of royal commanders, I feel like a tiger in a cage. I want to roar in the jungle, experience new adventures and find the goal of my life. And right now only you can help me complete the quest of bringing my royal ball back. Maharaja too trusts you, because you are his confidante’s son. It’s because of his trust in you that I get some freedom from royal surveillance when I play with you.’
‘But Rajkumar, I am not capable of climbing this wall full of creepers.’ Karna’s body trembled as he saw the wall, which looked to him like it was covered with snakes camouflaged in green, waiting to devour his soul with their hissing tongues. Please Rajkumar; let’s go back to our Rajmahal. We will get a better ball than this.’
‘No Karna, I will not go back to Rajasi Mahal without this ball, even if I have to climb a wall leading to the skies. I will not give up this chance to go on an adventurous quest.’
‘Rajkumar, because you want this, I will come with you, but if I feel scared at any point of time, please hold my hand. It will make me feel better.’
The prince started climbing the creepers first. In a few seconds, he reached close to the top of the wall. Though Karna had agreed to join this royal quest, he was still scared. With his eyes squeezed shut, he tried to reach out and hold the Prince’s hand. Kritya pulled Karna up and now they jumped down on the other side of the wall to find the royal ball.