King Sondumal was just like his name. Always sleepy and lazy. He had a huge kingdom but he didn’t try to make it rich, strong or happy. People came to him with their problems, but they were always sent back saying the king was resting.
King Sondumal’s kingdom was in a bad condition. People were poor and unhappy. But do you know who was the unhappiest person in the kingdom? It was the royal cook. He worked hard to grind the spices, cut the vegetables, cook them into rich curries, but the king never liked what he cooked. Everyone else loved what he cooked. But it was just the king who never even finished his meals.
“What a tasteless curry! You call yourself the royal cook? You don’t know how to make a simple potato curry. Take it away”, the king would shout and go back to bed.
The cook prepared the next meal with even more dedication. But it was impossible to please the king.
One day the cook had an idea. He went to the king and said, “My Lord, I want to treat you to the tastiest meal in the world.”
The king made a face. “ You cannot make a simple
“ You cannot make a simple daal and you talk about treating me to the tastiest meal?”
“Yes my lord, trust me. Pumpkin soup- it’s the tastiest meal in the world.”
“Would someone take this madman away? or should I throw him in the jail? Pumpkin soup is the most tasteless thing in the world. Do you understand?” yelled the king in frustration.
The cook was unafraid. He said, “What if I prove you wrong? I have a ‘pumpking’ growing in my garden.”
“A pumpking? What’s that??” asked the king.
“It’s a royal pumpkin and the tastiest breed of pumpkin. It’s so royal that when anyone who is not a king touches it, it rots immediately. So all I want from you is to go to my garden and bring that ‘pumpking’. I will make you a soup so yummy that you would want it every day. If I fail, you can put me in the jail.”
The king was surprised at his confidence. And he was curious about this ‘pumpking’ growing in his garden. So he agreed.
He called for his chariot.
“My lord, you cannot take a horse or a charioteer with you. They are not kings. The king has to go alone to the garden and pick the pumpking”, said the cook.
So the king walked towards the cook’s home. He found that the cook lives uphill. He started climbing the hill on foot. In just 15 minutes he was sweating and panting heavily. And the cook’s home was still far.
The king kept walking and walking for 2 more hours and reached the cook’s home at the top of the hill. He found the ‘pumpking’ in his garden. It was huge. He picked it and carried it back to his palace.
The ‘pumpking’ was too heavy and the road was too long. The king walked for another 2.5 hours before he reached his palace.
He was fuming.
“Now if you don’t make a good meal out of this, I am going to kill you,” said the king.
The cook went inside and quickly made the ‘pumpking’ soup- bland and tasteless.
He served it in the royal bowl to the king who was very tired and hungry.
As soon as he saw the soup, he gulped it down.
“I can’t believe this! This is definitely tastier than anything I have tasted till now,” declared the king.
And then he asked for two more bowls of ‘pumpking’ soup.
The cook was happy. Back in the kitchen, the cook’s helpers tasted the soup.
“There’s no salt! It tastes horrible,” said the helpers.
“I told you, it’s a royal pumpkin. Only the kings will find it tasty”, said the cook smiling to himself.
But kids, you are smart. You know the truth, right? The king worked hard for the first time. He walked for hours carrying the pumpkin on his shoulders, got tired and hungry. So he found even the saltless pumpkin soup tasty. Those who work hard, enjoy their meals the most.