A Second Chance
“A Second Chance” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Mohammad Adam Khan, Bloomfield Hall School, Pakistan.
A Second Chance
Once upon a time, in a faraway land of Arabia, there lived a wealthy businessman called Tartushi. He owned a big fortune, a beautiful house and a caring wife but sadly they had no children.
One night, they were having a luxury feast, all to themselves, in silence, when Tartushi’s wife mumbled to her husband whether he knew the meaning of her name, “Mehrun-nisa”. Tartushi replied, “The joyful, I suppose”. Mehrun-Nisa replied sarcastically, “don’t call me the joyful anymore! As I have nothing to cheer about”. That left Tartushi thinking how boring their lives were without a child.
A few weeks later, one night Tartushi dreamt that the all-powerful being ordered them to abandon every property within their grasp and only save for an ounce of food and travel for a journey to a cottage in a faraway dessert. If they didn’t obey, a great curse would fall upon them and if they obeyed they would be blessed with a special blessing. He ignored this dream for a few weeks until his wife started getting ill suddenly. He got worried and decided to follow the commands. He did as he was commanded, he gave away all his property, saving only for the journey and some food.
When they reached there, they found an old abandoned hovel near a quiet village. Tartushi’s wife was so worried that she started crying. Tartushi reminded him of the promised blessing and they decided to remain steadfast.
After they ran out of the small supply of food, Tartushi went out to the village to find some work. The villagers gave him some food every day but nobody was willing to employ him. A weeks later, they realised Mehrun-Nisa was pregnant. They were both so happy that they cried out of joy for a long time but they were also worried about starvation and their future.
After a few months, on a stormy night, Mehrun-Nisa gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who she named Arat. Mehrunisa tearfully said to her husband how unlucky they were to lose all their wealth and fortune.They could have brought up their son in luxury. All they were doing was begging for food. Mehrun-Nisa missed her home and extravagant life style. However, the joy did not last for long. Their baby started getting ill gradually. They tried their best to do all that they could do for him but his health got worse. Mehrun-Nisa asked her husband to go and find food and medicine for the baby or they would both starve to death.
He travelled out through the beastly winds and rain and he knocked on every door but none answered. At last he knelt down and screamed to relieve his pain.
A few minutes later an old man came out, from a door. He listened to Tartushi’s story patiently and replied, “In order to save your son’s life, you must give me your dearest possession.” Tartushi felt heartbroken. He went back to his hovel to get his wife and child. He carried his son and put it in the man’s lap saying that this was his dearest and most valuable possession. The couple kept on crying in pain. The old man took the baby from them. Then he started doing a magic spell and sprinkled some special water on the baby’s head. He told them that the baby would get better in a few days and that they could take him back.
They were both surprised to hear this. The old man asked Mehrunisa, if she knew why did all this happen to them and if she realised the importance of all the blessings that she had in her life. He also told her that she was very ungrateful by saying that she had nothing to cheer about.
All of a sudden the couple realised why all this happened to them. They saw that they were made to realise the importance of small blessings in their lives. They should have cherished every little blessing and joy that they were given in life and should not have been ungrateful for what they did not have. They had both learned their lesson. They went back to start a new life with a new meaning.