Art & Literature

Everyone’s Time Shall Come (Balochi folktale) Translated by: Fazal Baloch

Once there lived a certain king whose garden refused to bloom. He acquired the services of seasoned and expert gardeners but all their efforts went in vain. One day, the king was out for a stroll when he saw a poor man. He exchanged greetings with the king. The king asked him why he was wandering about. To this the poor man replied that he was wandering in search of a job. The king retorted: “I have a job for you. I have a garden but its trees do not bloom”.

The poor man turned to the king and said, ‘It’s God’s will. If he wishes the garden will surely bloom. Nevertheless, I will put all my efforts into it. The king said, ‘If you accept the job I will give you a share in its yields’. He thus accepted the job.

One day, at dusk, the poor man was sitting under the lemon tree when his eyes fell on a tiny lemon just sprouted from the flower. A moment later a rat came and nibbled it. He walked over to the king and addressed him thus, ‘Master! Your garden will surely bloom alas but a rat will not let it’. He thought the king would give him a rat-trap to catch the rat. But the king said, ‘Have patience! Rat’s time will come’.

A few days later a cat jumped on the rat and swallowed it. The man narrated the incident to the king. The king repeated, ‘Cat’s time will come’.

Some days later, a dog broke into the garden and leapt upon the cat and eventually mauled it to death. Again the poor man made it to the king and appraised him about the cat’s fate. The king after hearing him said, ‘Dog’s day will come as well’.

One morning, the poor man was on his way to the garden. When he drew close, the dog leapt forth to bite him. He tried to push it away but the dog did not budge. At last he hit the dog with his axe and it died on the spot. Thereafter, he went to the king and told him how he killed the dog. As usual the king said, ‘Your time will come’. He grew worried and feared he would die soon.

At last king’s garden bloomed and trees were laden with fruits. One day the princess expressed her desire to visit the garden along with her friends. She asked her father to tell the gardener to stay from the garden the next day. The king summoned the gardener and commanded him not to enter the garden during the hours of princess’ visit.

The gardener said to himself, ‘I’ve worked hard to make the garden bloom. I’ve not tasted any fruit yet. If princess and her friends visit the garden, they will certainly eat all the fruits. I will pluck the ripened fruits early in the morning’.

The next morning, he hurried to the garden and began to pluck the ripened bananas, guavas, and pomegranates. In the meantime, the princess along with her friends arrived. He quickly climbed on the jujube tree to hide himself from the sight of the princess. They explored every inch of the garden. Then they jumped into the water to refresh themselves. Once done, they sat under the jujube tree. One of girls spotted the gardener perched in the tree. Upon their return, they complained to the king that how the gardener spied them in the garden.

The king summoned the gardener to the court and asked him that why he violated his command and visited the garden. The gardener said, ‘The accursed devil deceived me’.

The king ordered his men to behead him. When he heard king’s order he turned to him and pleaded with him, ‘Master! Grant me permission to speak a few words first, then behead me or bury me alive, do whatever pleases you. The king said, ‘Permission granted’.

The man said, ‘Your garden didn’t bloom. You hired me, and by the grace of Lord all trees in the garden bore fruits. First time when a rat bit a fruit, I informed you, and to which you said, ‘Rat’s day will come’. When the cat swallowed the rat, you said, ‘Cat’s time will come’. When the dog t killed the cat, you said, ‘Dog’s day will come’. I killed the dog and you said, ‘Your time will come’. And now if you kill me, your time will surely come’.

The king thought things were all set to take and unpleasant course, thus he turned to the man and said, ‘Go away. I have pardoned you’.
The man went his way, and I am sitting here before you.

(This folktale originally published in ‘Gauhar Qeemati’ (The Pearl), an anthology of Balochi folktales compiled by Rahim Mehr).

 

Fazal Baloch is an accomplished translator. He has translated the works of several Balochi poets and fiction writers into English. His translation have appeared in Pakistan Academy of Letters’ biannual journal Pakistani Literature, ‘Silence Between the Notes—the first ever anthology of Partition poetry published by Dauhli Books India and various online magazines including the Balochistan Times and Borderless Journal. Recently he has translated short stories of Munir Ahmed Badini and Naguman in two separate anthologies under the titles ‘God and the Blind Man’ and ‘Why Does the Moon Look so Beautiful?’ respectively.
He is serving as Assistant Professor at the Atta Shad Degree College Turbat.
He tweets at @Fazalbaloc

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