A curious story
By Shahida Paracha
Anyway, its inhabitants used to constantly quarrel, fight and deceive each other. No a single day passed without the residents of the neighbourhoods bickering over the garbage on the pathways as they all were in the habit of throwing trash on the road. But no one was ready to clean it.
The townspeople also had the habit of cheating and lying. The shelves of the shoe shops were stocked with solid-looking boots and elegant shoes, but they quickly fell apart because they were made out of poor quality leather. The counters of the bakeries displayed mouth-watering pastries and crispy breads, but they were undercooked from inside; in a bid to save time and bake more items, the cooks baked them in a hurry.
In the tailor’s shops there hung beautiful dresses and suits, but the quality of the materials and stitching were poor. Fruit vendors and sellers of other things didn’t care about the quality of the goods they sold, only about the money they made as a result.
Yet, it was not that the people were absolute crooks — back home, within their family they never had arguments and lived happily. After all, everyone needs a corner of warmth, comfort and love.
So the days passed, when one day a fair from a foreign land arrived in the city. The dull municipal square wonderfully metamorphosed: neighing of horses, the sounds of working axes and saws, loud music pouring created the air of magic. The hullabaloo lasted till late night, and in the light of the torches, shadows danced on the walls of the adjoining houses.
Next morning heralds were went around the town, blowing up horns and shouting: “Fair! A fair has arrived in your town! Wake up or you are going to miss all the quality goods we brought for you from abroad!”
As the townspeople heard the announcement, they jumped out of the bed, quickly changed their clothes, grabbed their wallets and rushed to the square. They were running and pushing each other, so much so that some people fell down.
When they returned home from the fair, there was no one who did not sustain bruises or scratches, while the sluggish ones even happened to break a couple of ribs. Though everyone shopped well, they didn’t feel happy. “How can we become so degraded that we behave in a bad way and mistreat each other over trifle things?” everyone thought with guilt.
Just outside the city there lived a wise old fairy, and the townspeople decided to turn to her for help. Deep in their hearts they were all tired of everyday quarrels, lies and insults, and wanted to put an end to their miseries.
The old fairy compassionately listened to them and said, “I noticed that every one of you loves his family. Thus, to prevent any further fights, I will cast a special spell. Every morning, when stepping out of your houses, you will forget who your relative is and who is not. And after the day of work, when you return to your houses, you will remember again.”
The fairy waved her magic wand and… What was that? People were staring at each other, unable to recognise who was their relative and who was not! Perplexed, they returned their homes, not uttering a single bad word — who knew the person next to him could be his father, brother or son.
From that day life in the town took a completely different turn. Initially, sitting at home, some of them planned to continue with cheating, fighting and lying. But as soon as they left their houses, they completely forgot who their kinfolk were. Now shoemakers made sturdy shoes, tailors stitched quality clothes, confectioner properly baked pastries, and fruiterers sold only fully ripen and sweet fruits. And how could it be otherwise? What if the buyer turns out to be his own father, mother or wife? How could offer something bad for his loved ones?
Garbage was removed from the streets, the trees were trimmed and more beautiful flowers were planted. The town now became a delightful place to live — clean, cosy and pretty. And, most importantly, its inhabitants now were friendly and cared about each other as one family, and loved all children as their own.
After some time, the fairy came to the town and asked the people, “Should I remove the spell or let it continue? I am afraid, without magic, the fights and deceits will resume.”
“The spell does not matter at all now, dear fairy,” people smiled. “We understand how good life can be without quarrels, frauds and offences, so we will never go back to the past. There is nothing better than to live as a big happy family, which always shares your difficulties and rejoices in your happiness!”