Kids Corner


The Village Constable




A Nihang Singh was tending to the chores on his farm when Bota Singh, the village constable, rode up one morning and started nitpicking about everything in sight.

"Look at those chickens! They look like an unruly lot. What do you feed them?" the constable demanded.

The Nihang was polite and deferential to the official, knowing that the latter had the power to do whatever he wanted: "Well, sir, we take care of our animals really well. We treat them with the utmost care by feeding them the highest quality of grain, so that they grow up healthy!"

"You feed them the highest quality of grain? How dare you! Do you know that there are people out there starving, and here you are wasting good food on these useless creatures!"

The Nihang knew the official was merely looking for an excuse to take away a chicken or two for dinner, and tried to avert the crisis:

"Oh sir, I‘m sorry. I'll make sure I do no such thing ever again. I'll be very careful from now on, if you'll please forgive me this time around."

The constable was not to be deterred: "There will be a penalty for your infraction. Here, put two of those obscenely fattened chickens into this bag. If I leave them here with you, you're simply going to stuff them to death. And remember, be careful from now on ..." he barked, as he rode away with his loot.

A week later, the Nihang saw, to his utter dismay, the same constable approaching the farm. He quickly collected his thoughts and was ready for the constable even before the latter had said a word.

"Oh sir, I have given these things nothing but left-overs, the few tid-bits that get left behind at the end of the day, which no one has any use for. You'll see, I've mended my ways."

The constable glared down at the chickens as they clucked around the yard. "They look sickly, if you ask me. You have been neglecting them, haven't you? Starving them! Looks like cruelty to me. What do you have to say for yourself?"

The Nihang was at a loss for words. "But, but ... but, sir ... I'll be careful from now on, and make sure they don't starve! I promise, if you‘ll give me one more chance, please!"

Bota Singh eyed two of the fattest ones as they circled his mule.

"Look at those! What cruelty! What neglect! I have half a mind to take you in and throw you in jail. But I'm in a good mood today and will give you one more chance. But, there'll be a penalty. Here, put those two in the bag. And remember, be kind to these creatures ..."

The Nihang Singh scratched his beard as the official rode away, quite befuddled by the quick turn of events.

When Bota Singh came back the following week, the Nihang stood by calmly, leaning against the railing, and waited for the onslaught.

The constable scowled at the chickens and demanded: "So, what have you been feeding them, eh?"

The Nihang Singh quietly said: "Oh sir, I've learnt my lesson and have carefully bided by your advice. Now, I just give them a few coins and let them fend for themselves. They get what they need from the market, and I simply mind my own business!"     


October 19, 2010 

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), October 19, 2010, 6:49 PM.

This is to add to your delightful fund of humour: A baniya calls a newspaper to ask the rate to print an obituary: Clerk: "Rs 50 per word." Baniya: "Dada Dead." Clerk: "No, minimum 5 words." Baniya: "OK - 'Dada Dead, Honda for sale.'" (Contributed by my nephew, Kitty.)

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