Saturday, November 8, 2008 | |

Short Story - Sweets for an Angel

short storyIt was a market day in the eastern part of the small town of Hailakandi. On both sides of a small road, adorned with potholes of numerous shapes and sizes, and near the aged but, somehow still functioning meter-gauze railway crossing sat numerous traders with a variety of goods, especially, ripe orange colored betel nut.

Everywhere in the villages of Hailakandi, this year the betel palms were full of betel nuts. The villagers were happy with their ripe betel nuts. This year the price was also good and demand for betel nuts was soaring everywhere.

All of the traders had brought their share of betel nuts from the wary villagers after numerous sessions of painstaking negotiations about the price of the nuts except for a few who had employed a method that was a little different from the former one. They stole the betel nuts from the villagers’ homes in the nighttime.

The sun was still a few strides from its home and business was going on at a brisk pace in the quite rudimentary marketplace on both sides of the road on the railway crossing.

At the same time, a few hundred meters away from the market place, in a small hut a tiny girl was crying. She wanted to eat some sweets but her mother had no money to give her. The girl’s father was a rickshaw puller and her mother worked wherever she could find some work. They were very poor and somehow could only manage a single meal daily.

The mother of the child tried to console her but she failed. The girl now started crying vehemently. She was just a small child and like the other children wanted to sweeten her tongue.

The mother of the child was very sorry for her child. She was very sad that being a mother she could not give her child a few sweets. Suddenly, she remembered that she had some betel nuts in her possession. Those, she had received from the house where she had worked the whole day yesterday.

And the mother patted the child and kissed her and consoled her by saying that she would pay her money to buy sweets. The girl was very happy and she became silent.

The mother of the child counted the betel nuts. There were eighteen pieces. She gave the child four betel nuts and told her to sell them at the marketplace and use the money to buy sweets. She also warned her daughter not to accept less than fifty paisa for each betel nut.

And the child went to the marketplace with a bright smile on her face. However, no trader bought her merchandise of four betel nuts. They scolded her and turned her away.

And the girl with tears rolling down on her face started back on her way, when, suddenly a beggar noticed her. He stopped her and asked her the reason for which she was crying. After hearing it, he gave a laugh, gave her a kiss and purchased her betel nuts with a two-rupee coin.

Short story written by Parvez Ahmed on October 4, 2008.