Monday, September 6, 2010

The King's Cure

I read this poem when I was in class 8. It has stuck to me since then.

The king was sick His cheeks were red
His eyes were clear and bright
He ate and drank with eagerness
And peacefully snored at night

But He said he was sick and a king knows best
So doctors came by the score
They did him no good so he cut off their heads
And sent out the city for more

At last two famous doctors came
Of one was as poor as a rat
He had passed his life in studying hard
And never found time to grow fat

The other one had never looked at a book
For his patients gave him no trouble
For if they recovered they paid him well
If not their heirs paid double

Together they looked at the royal tongue
As the king on his bed reclined
And one after the other they thumped his chest
But not a disease could they find

Said the one, Your majesty is perfectly well
Roared the king hang him up without fail
The other one's knees began to shake
His skin turned wet and pale

But thoughtfully scratching his bald old head
His prescription he thus began
The king would be well if he sleeps one night
In the shirt of a happy man

Now far through the kingdom the messengers rode
And fast their horses ran
They saw too many and too many spoke
But they found no happy man

At last they came to a village small
Where a plowman plowed his land
He plowed and he laughed and he laughed and he plowed
And they halted him with their hands

The weary messengers paused and looked
At the scamp so blithe and gay
And one of them said, Heaven save you, friend!
You seem to be happy to-day

O yes, fair sirs, the rascal laughed
And his voice rang free and glad
An idle man has so much to do
That he never has time to be sad

This is our man, the messengers said
Our luck has lead us aright
We will give you a hundred mohurs friend
For the loan of your shirt tonight

At this the plowman laughed aloud
As he stood there strong and tall
I had give not lend you my shirt
If I had a shirt at all

Each day to the King the reports came in
Of his unsuccessful spies,
And the sad panorama of human woes
Passed daily under his eyes.

And he grew ashamed of his useless life
And his maladies hatched in gloom
He opened his windows and let the air
Of the free heaven into his room

And out he went in the world, and toiled
In his own appointed way
And the people blessed him, the land was glad
And the King was no more sick from that day

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