‘Sara where did you keep my coat? It’s been thirty minutes, I am unable to find it.’ Dan is becoming old as does his memory; he often forgets his own things after putting them up somewhere. ‘You are always slipping away from your mind the place of your own things after keeping them by yourself. You had probably put it in the suitcase under the bed after wearing when it was rained last time.’ Sara gets exasperated with such forgetful temperament of Dan. Sara has a short temper and turns quite brute when it comes to converse with Dan. She utterly dislikes his fledgling attitude. To make her feel even more unsettled, Dan inadvertently behaves in a very hesitant way whilst having some talk to her.
‘Dan! Where are your fractious girls? It’s been an eternity since they have gone. I am to make the meal for you ungrateful people, if they bring the meat. It is getting late.’ Dan and Sara have three children, all girls. Eldest to youngest: Julie, Ana, and Nino. They all are nearing to marriage age. Sara is anxious about their adequate matches, also always she seems in a hurry to get them married as soon as possible. Dan, on the other hand, is worried about parting with his angels. He is sympathetic, but fears Sara, for she opines that needless love makes children disobey parents.
‘Dan are you up? I am going to meet the matchmaking auntie tomorrow at the marketplace. She has some reasonable matches for our daughters.’ Sara uttering this pulls the cover over herself. ‘Isn’t it still too soon to let our girls go? Even we need their company as well.’ Clearing the throat and gulping the spit Dan made his point. ‘Shut your mouth and mind too, you old rascal. I have told you the decision, not asked.’ Raising her head from bed, Sara squinted angrily at Dan who went to sleep without further cracking a word.
‘Hello! I was just hoping to see you. How do you fare these days?’ Sara is received warmly by the matchmaker auntie at the market place. ‘I am quite well. It’s just the heavy burden which is my cause of worry. Other than that, everything is going smooth.’ ‘You need not to worry more now. There are three candidates, all worth considering for our girls.’ Auntie patted Sara staring hopefully at her. ‘Don’t test my patience more. Divulge the secret and soothe my heart.’ Sara stammered. ‘Don’t rush that way. One is the he-sheep, he resides down the river side and own a house. The other is the Eagle. He is a bit remote, but will fly your girl to here and back their home, no worry for the travel. Finally, the Brown Bear who lives at the hilltop, he too has his own residence, a very brave and self-sufficient individual. I say you had better assent to it before you blink for another, you might not encounter such an appropriate matches for again.’
Sara stuck in a pensive thought for a few minutes and clearing her throat made the decision right at the spot without consulting back to Dan and her daughters as always she has done in any matter.
‘Bring me a glass of water.’ Sara commanded in a loud voice. ‘Don’t you hear me? Have you all become deaf? I am the one who is always worried for you all despite being neglected as a worm.’ It is an old habit of Sara to whine and act as the victim when she has to put pressure on them.
‘I know you will never gonna light up at any cost, however much I toil for you guys.’ Sara’s speech of complain and admonition was almost ended when Julie popped up and knelt down and poured some water in the glass from the clay water-pod. Sara drunk it all at once and demanded for another. Julie was lurking before her, squinting as Sara handed the glass to her in disgust. ‘Do you all have any sense how desperate I am about your well-being and prosperity? Where are your pathetic father and sisters? They never show up when it is always the right time to talk out things together.’
‘Father is chopping woods. Ana and Nino are busy weaving sweaters.’
‘Oh! What for they making them? There are a lot more urgent chores to look after. These two are always wasting time on things which only delight them. Go and fetch the aimless old man as well.’
Julie sauntered into her sisters’ room. ‘Hey! Mum is calling. Go and listen to her.’ She walked into the lawn and informed Dan as well. ‘Ok! Darling I am coming after you.’ Dan responded while putting the axe down and began to pile up the chopped pieces as side.
They all gathered into the dining place. Sara was still mildly panting and pretended to be exhausted. ‘Now that all are here. I think it is the right hour to tell you I have given word the match-making auntie. Julie you are wedding to the Eagle, Ana have got the Ram and Nino you are to knot with the Bear.’
‘Why that so mum? They might not know how to behave to us properly.’ Nino rattled. ‘Am I your mother or you are mine? I know the best for you. It is my final word. I expect you all to have consent.’ Sara glared at Dan. Dan shook his head murmuring something undecipherable.
The Eagle was first to arrive on the wedding day, and after him the Bear roaring followed by a group of young and elder comrades with a cart fastened behind three of them. In the last, the Ram appeared bleating and shouting, some among them, the little ones, jumping and swirling, ‘here we are to take our princess-here we are to take our princess. Immediate neighbors were invited. The black smith who lived right next to their house was there since the morning working out meals and other stuff with Dan.
Before the evening they all set to leave to their homes. At that very moment, tears welled up in the eyes of Sara. In a very long time Dan dared to grip his arms round Sara. ‘It will be going to get fine darling. They are in safe and loving hands.’ Dan kind of whispered into Sara’s ear with the opposite feeling in his heart. He was too worried but couldn’t show his concern as he thought it would enrage Sara.
At the time of parting, all the three sons-in-law scheduled a party invitation starting from the eldest daughter’s home, Julie and the Eagle. Following the modest ceremony they all bid farewell to each other and embarked on their journey to their homes.
‘Sara, could you hurry a bit. The cart man is waiting outside. He says that he has another booking in the noon.’ Dan packed up the stuffs and stood at the door. ‘To hell with the cart man and you. What do I do? I don’t have supernatural hands on me to wind up things at light’s speed.’
‘Now you could realize what the absence of girls feel like.’ This point always made Sara quiet, because she now have the tiresome weight of seeing off across the house. Taking care of the cattle, feeding the hens, and other stuffs.
Anyhow, they reached the Eagle’s house an hour before midday. The house was beautifully built. There were two rooms, a kitchen, a washroom and a storeroom. A large tree was right behind the house whose branches made a large enough shade in the front lawn. They all sat there on a handmade rug.
‘It was very nice of you son. It’s time we take our leave.’ Sara pronounced looking at Dan as though she is aware what his response would be. ‘Yeah, lovely children, we better begin to move, as it would become dark till we make it back home.’ Dan rejoined looking at Sara with a broken chuckle.
‘Oh! Mum, worry not for that. Eagle will drop you at the appointed hour. Better you stay a while and take a look around our garden.’ Said Sara. ‘Why not we too take a flight with our beloved son.’
‘Mum, you sit on the front, and dad you take seat behind Mum. Just maintain balance and don’t let go hold of the strap.’ The Eagle instructed.
From the rooftop of their house, they took flight. It was totally a unique experience. Flapping the long and wide feather, the Eagle soared high into the sky. There was a complete stillness in the sky. Houses down below almost become the size of match boxes. Men pictured as needles sprinting here and there.
At last, the Eagle with a moderate speed of dive, landed on the rooftop. ‘Here you go.’ He downed his head with reverence. ‘Why not you come and have some tea?’ Said Sara.
‘I would have loved to, but I need to go fetch some grocery from the market. Will see ya around.’
The time Eagle left. Sara opened an arsenal of a complete new line of whining and cynic. She despised Dan of being so lame and timid. ‘Darling what you need? Tell me. I don’t recall that I have made a blunder lately.’ Said Dan and he knew that his daughters are nowhere near to save him from her wrath.
‘Didn’t you just see, how comfortably Eagle gave us the flight? I abhor you. You are a useless tool. I am ashamed calling you my husband. You’ve never done a thing that has delighted me. All my life, I’ve spent with the worries of keeping your house in order. I even curse on myself to be a partner of such a dumb.’
‘Oh my God! What could I do to make you feel better? Nothing makes you cheer up a bit.’
‘I need you to take me and fly like the Eagle did.’
‘Are you in your senses? Do you see some feathers on me?’
‘I know not. But I need you to fly for me at any cost. You can do it. Only need to put some feather like sheet and take flight from the rooftop as did the Eagle.’ Sara was persistent and didn’t seem to come to senses. Following a long round of meaningless arguments Dan conceded before the persistent and foolish craving.
The next day Sara stitched together two pieces of fabric wide enough as a bed sheet and made two loops to make a grip around Dan’s arms. ‘The feathers are ready. Let’s go and make our dream come true.’ Said Sara. Dan’s knee was shaking and his body hairs were stiff due to the immense fear of the situation, nevertheless he had to proceed.
‘Hello guys! How are you two doing?’ the blacksmith shouted from the lawn of his house.
Dan was about to tell the thing but Sara pinched him from back. ‘We are just fixing the upper ceiling. The rain has made some holes in it.’
When the blacksmith turned to his work Dan wore the sheet and went on the roof edge. Sara rode Dan’s back as cuddle from the back. One, two, three jump. The flight didn’t happen, rather they plummeted onto the ground flat. Sara remained on top of Dan. Moments later, the blacksmith arrived panting. ‘Have you become mad? Were you attempting suicide?’
Blacksmith pulled Sara aside from Dan. He was unconscious, lying flat. Sara was only scared, she didn’t even earn a scar. On the other hand Dan seemed to have reached to the next world. Only when the blacksmith put his ear on his chest, he felt the heart pumping.
It was found out later that Dan had broken both his arms. They plastered his arms and couldn’t come to normal life for the next two months.
This time, it was Ana whom they were preparing to visit.
Ana had just begun to chop meat and vegetables when they arrived. After welcoming them Sara went out to bring some woods to make fire. ‘Ram! There is no wood left. Can you please chop some?’
As Ram ran out into the lawn. Both Sara and Dan dashed to the window and stood on their knees watching in amaze. Ram settled a wood log with the tree trunk and walked back few steps, sprinted forward and hit the log with the horns. There came enough wood pieces for the cooking.
After having the meal they returned home. This time Sara had another set of complains and a round of curses on Dan. She demanded him to break wood as did the Ram. ‘Oh my God. I doubt sometimes at your sanity. How could you just imagine this? How come a man break woods by his head?’ Dan Bellowed at her. ‘I always knew you were coward. I am amazed why people call you a man.’
‘I just can’t absorb you Sara. I am always chopping wood with the axe. Now what the hell is about breaking it with my head? You want me to put my life in danger. Is that what you want?’ Dan tried to soothe her, but to no avail.
‘You break the wood like Ram did, or give me my divorce papers. Better I part ways with a coward.’
Again, before her nonsensical but dominant justifications Dan felt himself like a dwarf and decided to act like a stooge. He couldn’t gather further any strength to defy her.
‘Are you ready? I will go and fetch a log.’ Sara brought a knotted log and placed it on the against the tree trunk in the lawn. Dan did the same as Ram. Took some steps back and dashed into the log with all his strength. With a harsh scream Dan floundered on the ground and wriggled like a child in the dirt. His head started to bleed profusely. Seeing the horrid scene Sara dashed into the house and fetched a fabric and somehow managed to stop the blood flow.
As she dragged Dan inside the house, he felled unconscious. Dan remained in bed for another two weeks.
‘Be ready whilst I fetch the cart.’ Dan donned a new outfit and headed out into the market to catch up a cart. So long as the cart arrived Sara was already waiting at the door.
The bear and Nino were lurking outside their house when they reached. The whole town came under the eyesight from the hill top. Every nook and corner of the town was vivid from their door.
‘Bear, there is no oil left.’ Said Nino. ‘Put the griddle onto the stove. I am coming.’
This amazed both Sara and Dan. ‘What the griddle is to do with the oil.’ Thought Sara.
When the griddle was hot enough, the Bear just sat on it and in a minute shrieking sound of oil began to play. ‘There you go. Is it enough for today’s meal.’
‘Yeah! Thank you. It is enough.’ Said Nino.
Having done with meal and a brief after meal gossip, they said their good byes and walked down to back home. All the way down to the town Sara almost ate Dan’s brain out. Cursing him for being so dumb. Giving the example of the Bear.
‘Did you see? How marvelous is the Bear? There is no worries for a woman having a man of guts. None is a trash like you. You are of no use. Ever since I have wedded to you, my life has become like hell.’
Another calamity befell on Dan when Sara found out that the oil was used up. ‘Hello Mr. Coward. I got no oil to make food for you ungrateful dirty old man. I just want you to produce it like the Bear did. There is no other way.’
‘Daring it will hurt me. There is no way to make oil like that by a man. The Bear had burned his fats. I got none.’
‘To hell with you. Are you going to make it or should I kill myself?’ Sara clasped the knife and placed it on her throat. Seeing this, once again poor Dan capitulated before his rash wife.
Sara put the griddle onto the stove and let it heat up. When the griddle was full hot Sara ordered Dan to sit on it. Dan reluctantly got closer. Murmuring some prayers holding Sara’s hand he sat on it without a trouser. The griddle glued to his bums and screaming with the harshest sound he ran everywhere.
Sara couldn’t pulled the griddle off. With the glued griddle, shouting and screaming Dan sprinted in the streets. Sara couldn’t keep her pace with Dan. After some time, when she arrived searching, Dan was found lying unconscious on a muddy ground surrounded by some men.