In a small town, where cattle grazed on the fields and the birds of the air soared, there lived a tyrant King, who sat on a cold, metallic throne.
He never smiled or favoured his people, and all he did was raise their taxes. He was cruel and didn’t feel the suffering of the commoners.
He ripped them off everything they owned. and didn’t care how they fared or what became of them, but he just took them, smiling as he unleashed pain into their lives.
The villagers grumbled, but they couldn’t stand up to him. They could only grieve and complain when the light had gone off and the night was cold. They couldn’t stand up to him, and they feared that “the walls had ears” to discuss his dethronement.
For decades, they lived with pain and anguish, and it seemed like at one point, they gladly accepted it.
Arth was his name. He was just a boy when the King ordered the banishment of his father for saying he didn’t have enough tax to pay him. He had to grow up with his grandmother and his mother, with people calling him a bastard for not having a man in his life.
He grew up in solitude and stayed mostly in the woods, hunting down the lizards that crawled the earth, and then he progressed to rodents.
Arth was ten when he first killed an antler, and he dragged it by its horn and walked down to his grandmother’s crumbling house, saying they had meat for supper. Arth, at the age of fifteen, was a strong man and could stand up to a man in his twenties.
Stretched to a height of six feet, he climbed trees like a monkey, and for a while, he stayed on the branches to think.
Even though he possessed an immeasurable strength, the muck of his father’s absence still wore him down. He would ask his mother why he didn’t have a father or where he was, and she would be speechless, pleading with him to give her time to process it.
Arth was now seventeen. He was stronger than all the boys his age, but he wouldn’t boast of any friend. Drenched by the forest sun, he got back home and joined his mother under an udala tree.
“Mother,” he said, “do you think it’s right to know about my father now? I’ve waited for so long.”
His mother shook her head and turned away. “I don’t think you should know now.”
With fury, Arth stood up. “For years, I have sown a bitter seed in my heart against my father. The thought of him knowing we exist but abandoning us breaks my heart every single time. I am broken, mother, but let it not be because of you that I will die hating my father.”
He turned to leave, but his mother stopped him. “You shouldn’t speak ill of your father. He was nothing like that.”
“Then what happened to him?” his veins pulsated.
“Sit.” She adjusted for him. “When your father and I got married, he was the kindest creature I’d seen on earth. He helped everybody in the best way he could. When the people began to complain that the taxes were too much to pay, your father had no option but to match down to the King and lay his query. And the King flogged him and punished him. He told him never to set foot in this kingdom, that he should go alone. He had to leave.”
“King Tut is the one behind my father’s disappearance. He will pay for it”.
“That’s the reason I didn’t want to tell you. You’d want to fight back, and that’s what nobody has been able to do for like last twenty years. No one can sum up to him.”
“I will. I will fight him,” Arth said.
Day and night, under the sun and rain, he trained. He didn’t just fight for the justice of his father. He fought for the cries in the eyes of the people.
At night, he matched to the King’s chamber and snuck in. It was dark except for a torch that lit the room. The King slept soundly when he walked in. Knowing this, he put a sword at his throat. The King jolted in surprise, shocked to see an armed person threatening to kill him.
“Who are you and what do you want? Money? Gold? Name your price.” the King grudgingly asked.
“I don’t want any of them. I ask that you treat my people well.”
The King laughed. “Is that what you want? Guards?” he called, but no one answered. “They can’t hear you or save you if I decide to kill you now.”
The King surrendered. “Fine. I will not treat them badly”.Arth retreated his sword and walked out.
The next day, the King didn’t keep to his promise and continued to starve the people. Instead, he doubled his guards in case Arth came at night. And Arth did.
“I believe in mercy, King Tut, but I also believe in justice. I spared you once to spare the lives of my people, but you didn’t. Why do you think I should spare yours?” Arth asked, pointing a sword at him like he did the previous day.
“I’m sorry,” the King begged and wailed. “I’ll make things right this time”.
Arth shook his head. “You’ve had enough, and you messed it up.” Without hearing another word, he plunged the sword down the heart of the King. King Tut gasped and took his dying breath, surrounded by a pool of blood.
The next day, the people found the King in cold blood in his chambers. They didn’t mourn for a cruel king, instead, they rejoiced. The question that remained in their heart was: Who belled the cat?
Only Arth’s mother knew.