Raconteurs #5

Daughter: Dad! Dad! I had a very frightening nightmare

Dad: Oh a nightmare! And frightening too! How unusual!

Daughter: Yes, but I can’t remember anything except that I felt scared.

Dad: Do you know why you had a nightmare?

Daughter: What do you mean?

Dad: Nightmares are Okto’s way of making evil people repent

Daughter: Am I evil? I have done nothing wrong.

Dad: Oh you have been a bad, bad girl. You have not been doing your homework on time. And you have been staying up late recently discussing all sorts of stories with me.

Daughter: Oh but I love stories! Does that make me evil. Will you stop telling me stories now?

Dad: In fact I am going to tell you how nightmares started.

There was once a poor village woman who worked hard in the fields all day and barely made enough money to feed herself and her four kids. Her husband had died several years ago leaving nothing behind. Most days she slept hungry but she always ensured that her kids had something to eat.

In monsoon the fields yielded a good produce which made her happy thinking that she will be to fetch a good price for it and not have to worry about food for some time. The next morning she saw that her crops had been stolen. She went from door to door asking for help to find her stolen goods but nobody did anything for her. That day even the kids had to sleep hungry. She was devastated and cried all night.

Meanwhile the thief was celebrating in his home about the ease with which he was able to lay his hands on the crops. He slept with a wide grin that night. But his happiness didn’t last long. In his dreams he saw a giant octopus who…

Daughter: That’s Okto!

Dad: Yes and Okto tormented him in his dreams all night. The thief woke up scared — just like you did — but did not pay any heed to it and went about doing his evil deeds. The next night Okto appeared in his dreams again and punished him for his evil ways. This went on for several days. The thief realised that this was not going to stop until he returned the stolen goods back to its owners. And so he did! He returned everything that he had ever stolen back to its rightful owners and begged for forgiveness. The villagers wanted to punish him but took mercy on him after seeing his plight. The man had not slept for several days and his mental state was on the brink of insanity.

That night Okto appeared in the woman’s dream and assured her that he will look after kind people like her and her kids and that no evil person will be able to sleep peacefully ever.

Daughter: So that’s how nightmares started?

Dad: Yes. If you want to avoid nightmares then you better be kind to everyone.

Daughter: But Dad I have a question. I didn’t see Okto in my dreams. It was something else for sure.

Dad: Okto has many forms. He doesn’t always appears as an octopus.

(To be continued)

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