A bedtime story from uncle Ibrahim…

A long while ago in a faraway land, there existed a beautiful garden. It had the prettiest flowers on earth ,lovely singing streams , lush green meadows and trees kissing the clouds. And this garden was inhabited by exotic animals and birds of every kind.

What made this garden unique was a very old tree that stood in its very midst. The tree gave blossoms all around the year, as if spring was forever in its old heart. And it gave the sweetest fruits, the aroma and taste of which stood unparalleled in all worlds….

Beasts of every land and clime would visit this garden to feast on these heavenly fruits. Be it summer or winter, day or night, the garden would be bustling with activity, abuzz with seekers from every corner of the earth.

Now the land around this magical tree was owned by a group of pure bred horses, a very powerful and strong herd of animals who ruled the area with a tight hoof. They demanded heavy compensation from the seekers for getting access to the tree. Fearing their wrath, every one obliged and as seasons passed, the herd became the unchallenged masters of the garden. As their power increased, so did their tyranny. They enslaved other animals in the garden and forced them to slog for them. They broke every rule that were passed down to them from earlier generations. The garden eventually became a haven for a privileged few who lorded over the helpless downtrodden.

In these troubled times, their lived a caterpillar who was extremely pained by the oppression around him. He was always trying his bit to help his poor brothers. He would often try to dissuade the aggressors, but to no avail. Since he was the epitome of love and care, he was adored by all the embattled animals and birds in the garden.

Once in a while, this caterpillar would perch itself on a shrub and ponder over the sad state of things. He would remember the rules about kindness and love that he had heard from his parents and would eagerly dream of a time when oppression would end and all animals would live together in peace and harmony.

On one such occasion, as he was musing intensely about his lost garden, he found himself getting surrounded by a shroud. Greatly Alarmed by this, he tried pushing his way out. But the shroud kept pressing itself on him until he was fully covered by it.

Summer changed to autumn…. Winter came along and then the icy winds gave way to the first signs of spring.

And one fine day, the shroud cracked and there came out a being that was never ever seen in those parts of the world. He wore a cloak that resembled the rainbows that occasionally flashed across their skies. His cloak had every lovely color any garden could boast of and when he flashed his wings…. There spread all around him, the glow of a million dewdrops and the scent of every flower in the valley.

As all the animals and birds of the garden came out in amazement, the butterfly flew to the top of the magical tree and announced at the top of its voice…..

“My fellow beings…. Listen to me. I bring to you tidings from the one who has created this garden. Obey his rules and stop all oppression. A day will come when this whole garden will be destroyed and each of us will be judged according to our actions. And then the best of us will inherit forever a garden greatly better than the one we have and the worst amongst us will be doomed to live in pits of pain and misery”

The horses and their accomplices laughed at the butterfly. They scoffed and ridiculed him for his ignorance and audacity. But some of the oppressed ones were so relieved by his speech that they looked at him in awe, relishing every single word. The minds of some of the oldest animals in the garden seemed wholly taken up with reminiscences of past tales told by their forefathers on how a similar being had come into their world and had changed it for good.

The butterfly fluttered all around the garden spreading his message. With every flash of his lovely wings, the number of his detractors and supporters grew. But all his detractors were from the strong and powerful and his supporters from the weak and oppressed.

Finally the horses started getting threatened. They unleashed a reign of terror on the being and his followers. Many animals and birds were wantonly killed. But they kept on spreading their message without fighting back. As the oppression became unbearable, the butterfly decided to move out of the garden and fly away to another grove far away from his own.

In this new glade, the they created a world that respected all the age old rules of the garden . Every animal and bird , big and small, lived in harmony, loving and caring for one another and spending their time worshipping the gardener.

The horses and their accomplices couldn’t sit idle. They repeatedly attacked the grove. But every time, they had to retreat, greatly humbled. Though they were vastly outnumbered the butterfly and his companions resisted the onslaughts and won each time….

As time passed, the grove began to swell with believers. With every passing day, beasts from every land came flocking to him. And one day, all these animals and birds set out to reclaim the garden from where they were expelled.

The horses gave up without a fight , seeing the sheer strength of the being’s companions.

The butterfly took over the magic tree and changed all the oppressive rules for ever. All the horses and their accomplices were forgiven. They gratefully accepted the being as their leader and they all went on to live happily ever after……in peace with each other and their gardener.

Years passed….. The being, his companions and their descendants were all buried under the sands of time. Rules were broken again… Oppression raised its head again. Though a small herd of animals still held on to the rules, they were vastly outnumbered. Tyranny and anarchy reigned.

One day the earth shook. Trees tumbled. Springs overflowed…… Cracks appeared in the meadows, hills overturned and before sun set the whole garden was completely reduced to rubble…

Whether a long time passed… or a short spell… no one knows… but all the birds and animals found themselves awakened from their slumber. And they stood facing their gardener… and at his side was the butterfly.

The oppressors were dragged into dungeons of misery and pain…. doomed forever.

And the ones who followed the being were lead gracefully to a garden, the likes of which they could never have imagined.

Good Night…….And may you inherit that garden… one day

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