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The Knight

by Sanjana Saksena Chandra
(Bangalore, India)

A knight in shining armor
rode through the darkened fields
on a galloping stallion
with a dagger and a shield

At noon they reached a foreign land
where a treacherous king reigned free
Peasant folk and older men
told tales of their misery

The ruthless king took all their grain
in taxes and in fines
Their homes were burnt, their children hurt
if they dared decline

The knight was moved and said out loud
Don't worry my countrymen
I will visit the king today
and bring back all your grain

The knight then rode to the palace gates
requesting to see the king
'I want an audience with the king
I have a great bargain'

When he heard this, the evil king
who was greatly intrigued
told the guards 'send for the knight'
driven by his greed

On seeing him the knight bowed low
laying sword and shield as required
'What offer do you have for me'
the greedy king enquired

The grains you take from village folk
will not last very long
wealth and power I'll give you
will make you forever strong

The greedy king, all ears now
asked 'how would you achieve this feat'
the clever knight smiled at him and said
'It's something I will teach'

The Knight went on to explain
how man, woman and child
would learn to grow far more grain
horse riding and skilled fights

'I will build you an army
and teach your citizens
who you can use to conquer the world
and leave riches for your kin

The king rejoiced and asked the knight
'Brave one, what do you need
take my men and take my help
In building that army'

'The grain you took,I'll want it back'
the clever knight replied
I'll feed them all, they'll need the strength
to be a formidable side

The king agreed and the knight rode back
with sacks of food and grain
the patter of the horse's hooves
were drowned by the cheering din

An year passed under the knight
who worked hard night and day
to train the simple village
folk in science of crop and grain

Grains were sent to the palace grounds
much more than before
but plenty grains would still remain
for every family's home

The flourishing fields and growing reaps
left the king quite delighted
and when he saw the villagers fight
He was quite excited

He called the knight and said with pride
We're ready to fight the world
You've done me proud oh clever knight
I'll pay you in silver and gold

The modest knight smartly replied
let's practice first within
let's see if the village folk
can defeat your army men

The king agreed and told his men
to get ready for the fight t
he knight went back to the villagers
who formed the other side

The battle began and soon the king
saw his men begin to fail
for their brute force and methods old
were no match for the villager's skill

The knight watched from a horse's back
as the villagers used their mind
with sticks and stones and pots and pans
they made weapons of all kind

And soon enough the king realized
he had no army left
the villagers though didn't stop the fight
and captured him instead

'O foolish king', said the knight
'your greed has led you here
your evil deeds have spelt your doom
these folk now have no fear'

From his kingdom the broken king
was chased away, exiled
rejoicing villagers declared
their leader would be the knight

You taught us all we know today
you made us feel supreme
Oh knight you must take the reigns
Will you be our queen

She smiled down at the villagers
and happily said to them
I will oh my country folk
With that this story ends

He closed the bedtime storybook
looked into his daughter's eyes
her heavy lids and sleepiness
had given way to surprise

'The knight was a girl, daddy'
said the child
with joy and glee
'the story had no princess helpless and pretty'

Her father laughed and pulled her close
It's time to change, he said
'she's tired of being a princess
Why can't she be the knight instead.'


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