WORD LENGTH: 1953     


“Don’t harm that ant, son. You should not hurt all those who are smaller than you. Do not ever show your might to all those who are weaker than you. That is a sin. Always be good to the poor. Anyone showing kindness to those less fortunate, goes to the kingdom of God, after death.” Mother centipede advised her son. “Now, give me hand to carry our food home. The rains will come soon and we have to get ready for the rainy day.” She told her son.

The son was getting a dose of good behavior and how virtues would lead him to paradise. As a result, he was getting curious to know more about heaven.

“Nobody knows where the heaven is. But it is somewhere up, there. Only the pious will be taken to heaven by the birds sent by GOD. Not all can go to heaven. Only selected, chosen ones will be picked up by the bird sent by GOD. So to attain heaven, we should not sin and must always do good things.”

While taking a walk with his mother, the son centipede observed, they were just at the border of the field where they had been living.

 “Mother, this other side looks like a big stretch of land devoid of plants, trees.”

“Yes, my dear Son, this is a barren land. It is very difficult for a common centipede-like us to stay in such areas. Only the elevated worms can survive in this land. The hardship one has to face in this area is unbearable. Only those who have realized what life is can endure this type of living. If one can live through this, GOD will be pleased with him and sure enough, he will send his birds to pick him up to heaven. "

“But mother, why does one have to aim at going to heaven? “

“GOD, The almighty, the creator of this world lives in heaven. So will it not be good to stay with GOD for the rest of our life? He showers affection on all those who are dear to him. And only those who lead a pious life are dear to him.”

“Then mother, I also want to get loved by GOD. I also want to go to heaven. I want to be picked by the bird of GOD.”

“Then do not do bad things. Do not harm anybody.  And God will send his bird to pick you up whenever your time is due.”

“Can I go to that land right away?”                                                                

“No. Not dear. Do you want to leave me alone in this world? I cannot stay without you.”

So they turned back and started crawling towards their dwelling.

They were quiet and did not utter a single word till they reached their house.

No sooner did they finish their lunch than their neighboring centipede came running and weeping at the same time. “Heaven has fallen on me.” She cried. 

“What happened?”

“My husband and I were going to collect our food. We were walking very carefully avoiding the path usually humans take. But today, somehow, some human tried to take the untrodden path and just crushed my husband under his bigfoot. My husband died instantly. I do not know what to do, now. He was so loving. I cannot live without him.”

The mother centipede tried to console her. ”Look. That is fate. What can we do? We are with you. Do not worry about food during the rainy season. We will share whatever we have”

After some time, the neighbor gathered courage and went into her house.

The son centipede then approached his mother. “Mother, what happened? Where did the uncle go?”

“He is no more in this world.”

“Did he go to heaven? Did the bird come to pick him up?”

"No dear. The cruel human being who does not bother about the small creatures like us crushed him under his foot. So uncle died."

"But the human sinned. Isn’t it?”

“Yes. He did. “

"In that case, GOD will not send his birds to take him to heaven?”

“Yes. The birds will not pick him up.”

"But, why did not GOD send the bird to take uncle to heaven?"

"Do not know. Maybe he had done some unkind thing earlier some time.”

The son centipede was hardly convinced. He decided to sleep with a determination to go to the barren land the next morning to see the birds which are sent by GOD.

The next day morning, the son centipede got up early before his mother and set out for the barren land. After crawling for hours, when the sun was about to rise, he reached the border of the barren land.

He saw a lot of birds on the land. Some small birds, some big birds. They all were pecking on the ground. “Probably, they are picking up the centipede to be taken to heaven as instructed by GOD. So many birds of GOD! I wish, I also could go to heaven”.  

And one bird came near him. The son centipede prayed that the bird would pick him up. But the bird, instead picked up some insect next to him and flew away. Suddenly the son remembered his mother. She had said that she would not be able to stay without him. So he turned back and started for home.

When at home, he told his mother how the bird picked up an insect next to him and not himself.

"That is because God does not want to leave me alone. Now behave like a good son and do not go to the barren land again.”

The son satisfied himself and sat down to have lunch.

The son centipede followed his mother's advice and did not do any wrong in his routine life. He was very happy that things were going very smoothly. He along with his mother used to thank GOD for all the good things given to them.

And one day there was a calamity.

The human farmer brought a tractor and started ploughing the field. In one stroke, it upset the dwellings of hundreds of centipedes. Many were killed and many more were seriously injured.

Complete habitat was shattered. Only the cries were heard all over. The mother-centipede broke her leg. Somehow she was trying to move to a safer place and to find out the condition of her son. Luckily he was not hurt. He came close to his mother and tried to pacify her.

“Why? Why did this happen? What went wrong so that GOD had to punish all of us? Many uncles, aunties have died.  Many more are injured.  How can we help them? How can they get some assistance? No. No. This is atrocious. How can GOD be so cruel? How can a loving, passionate GOD turn horrendous, barbaric?”

“We all must have done something wrong. We must have sinned. Otherwise, GOD can’t be cruel, intolerant. We must introspect. We must find out the cause.” Mother centipede said with unshaken belief in GOD. “We should not blame GOD for any bad happening. We must correct our mistakes. If we do that GOD will be happy and we will not have to face the calamity.”

The son centipede tried to accept the justification of that terrible happening.

Days passed by. The habitat got into gear again. Survived centipedes started working on their regular routines. And the life continued. Everybody had forgotten the calamity that sometime back had caused a big upset.

Son grew up and found a nice partner. Soon they had one offspring. The offspring was looked after by Mother centipede. She managed all routine activities with one broken leg. Her son and daughter-in-law took care of earnings for the house.

And there was an apocalypse

The planes of the enemy country started bombarding the area. The shells were piercing the ground and blowing the soil tens of feet into the air. The houses of centipedes were thrown miles apart. Many centipedes were blown into the air and then they fell on ground miles away from their original area. The bombs were being dropped one after another. The mother centipede was tossed up into the air many times. The last time she came down it was near her son who was injured and lying in pain. "Mother" he called out to her. She saw her son profusely bleeding. She crawled close to him and tried to comfort him. "Mother, why all this? What did we do wrong that GOD again punished us? Why is he being so unkind to all of us? Do you still believe, we must have done something wrong?”

Mother with her trembling voice said ”Yes, dear. Certainly. Without reason, God will never punish anybody. We must have sinned. And this time, he is very angry."

“But Mom, we have never harmed anybody. We have always shared all that we have with others.”

“Yes. But there must be some occasion when we erred. GOD keeps track of all our doings and then takes action. We will try to recollect when we did a wrong thing.”

They both were lost in thoughts trying to remember an incident when they could have done wrong to others. Both of them tried very hard for a long time. But could not figure out anything wrong. After a very hard scratching of their memory, mother centipede came up with some incident. “Yes, I remembered. It must be that wrong thing that must have upset GOD.

That day was the peak of drought that summer. I was feeding your child one fresh leaf that your wife had got from a distant farm. There were no plants in our field. After a very long search, your wife had got this leaf for the child even though the rest of us were also starving. At that time one old centipede of the neighborhood was on the death bed. Somebody said to give some food to her and she would survive. One of our neighbors had seen the fresh leaf in our house. She told me to bring that leaf to feed the old neighbor on the death bed. I did not agree. My grandchild was also starving. Who would give food to it? So I lied. I told them that I did not have any food. And after some time the old neighbor died.

I hurriedly came home and fed the child whatever leaf we had. I think that piece of lie must have upset GOD and for that, he must have punished us. I am the sinner. But what else could have I done? My child was also starving. But still, I am the sinner."

The son was shocked. His mother who used to preach to him not to tell lies had told such a big lie.

“GOD is great. He cannot be cheated. So we deserved to be punished. We have to bear the consequences.”

And son saw a bird zooming down on earth. It landed close to his mother. He picked up the mother and the next moment he disappeared into the skies. Son saw his mother being taken to heaven by GOD’s bird.

“Thank you, God. Thanks an awful lot. Yes. My mother deserved a place in heaven. She always followed the code of conduct except once when she told a big lie. I will take care and will always follow the code of conduct. I also want to be picked up by the bird of GOD.”

Soon there was yet another bomb that exploded and the soil got thrown into the air some tens of feet. And the war continued.

February 05, 2022 16:07

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