For Children: Short story# 12: The Missing Jewel
BY ZEENATIQBAL HAKIMJEE
HE queen wore it in her crown. She looked so regal with the jewel shining in her crown, like water in a pond with the sun shining above it the jewel was priceless and the price was determined, but not so accurately. It could not be so, as this particular jewel had a long story behind it.
And so it goes. To the North of the equator and in the tropic of Capricorn, there existed a land of which two rival bodies claimed ownership. These rival bodies that co-existed previously had now developed a lot of differences. Obviously so, as the new generation came forth, it came with its own peculiarities. The foremost difference was religion and at the bottom of the list was the dress. These differences grew into enormities, which again led to war, which was sparked off by a country that ruled over them.
In this land was born Ali. Ali was taught in school about brotherhood. He was told that all the boys in his class were his brothers. Ali’s so-called brother Natoo’s father was a barber. Now it so happened that Ali’s father went to Natoo’s father for a haircut. Natoo looked down upon Ali’s father. But Ali’s father had no place else to go since Natoo’s father’s shop was close to his house.
Mr. Brown, who belonged to the ruling class, thought the world of himself. He would not even sit on the chair that Ali’s father and his companions had sat on. “Ali, Mr. Brown wants you to go to his house because he said he wants you to clean it”.
Although it hurt his pride he knew he would have to go, because Ali’s father worked for Mr. Brown. It hurt his pride because Mr. Brown thought cleaning was a petty job.
“Ali, pick up this piece of furniture and put it there”. Mr. Brown pointed with his finger to where he wanted it kept. The piece of furniture was so heavy that Ali bent over while picking it up. For his years, such a job was difficult but he had to do it.
Such were the conditions in which Ali was brought up. Others like Ali and Nattoo fought with each other, and Mr. Brown cashed in on it. The queen of Mr. Brown’s country was very dominating and she ruled with an iron fist. She was also known for her greed.
Ali’s father read the headlines to Ali one day, “Jewel missing from the museum.” Ali listened with interest and asked his father, “Who could have taken it, Dad?” His father remained silent, as he did not have the answer.
The next day Ali went to school carrying a satchel. The topic of discussion among his friends was the jewel. Natoo agreed with Ali, about the disappearance of the jewel and who was responsible. They both agreed that the queen was greedy and maybe she could have done it.
They also knew that the queen’s minister had visited their land a few days ago. The reason for his visit was still a mystery. But the timing was similar. The timing of the disappearance of the jewel and the arrival of the minister. Sure enough, a few days later, a news item in the newspaper read, ‘Queen’s crown studded with heirloom jewel missing.’ The jewel belonged to Ali and Natoo’s land as it was mined there. But Mr. Brown’s people got away with it because Ali and Natoo’s people did not get along with each other. They were busy fighting with each other.
This lesson of life has taught them the hard way.