Abbu Khan’s Goats and their Mystery of Running Away
An old man, named Abbu Khan, lived in Almora all by himself excepts for a few goats whom he kept as pets. He gave funny names to his goats and treated them like his children. During the day, he would take them out for grazing, while during the night he would tie a string around their neck. Abbu Khan gave choicest food to his goats, juiciest grass and grains. Also, the love he showered on these goats was beyond measure. Despite that, one after one, the goats would run away from Abbu Khan’s hut, into the hills. Abbu Khan failed to understand why all his goats abandoned him, and for what.
The Old Wolf
Abbu Khan became more and more sad because the goats that ran away from him were all devoured by a greedy old wolf. Abbu Khan failed to understand their love for freedom, for this freedom was really short lived.
Chandni, the New Goat Left him Too
When all his goats left him, Abbu Khan was so heartbroken that he decided to never have any more goats as pets. However, he felt so lonely that one day he bought a very young goat to his house. He named the goat Chandni.
He thought that the goat was so young that it would stay with him for a very long time and perhaps would be able to reciprocate his love and affection. Also, he told Chandni the stories of the dead goats as a warning.
As Chandni grew up, she kept observing the hilltops bathed in sunlight and began to desire the open fields and fresh air. She stopped eating grass and lost interest in the stories Abbu Khan told her. She decided to convey her desires to Abbu Khan. On knowing about Chandni’s desire for freedom, Abbu Khan warned her again, but to no avail.
Abbu Khan Tried to Restrict Chandni
When all his attempts failed, Abbu Khan decided to tie Chandni in the smaller hut in order to save her from a predictable death at the hands of the old wolf. However, he forgot to shut the small window, which Chandni used to run away into the open field that very night.
Freedom to Chandni and her Death
At last, Chandni got what she wanted. She was finally breathing in the free air of the hills. It seemed to her as if she was meeting her parents after several years of separation. She was overwhelmed to see the tall grass, blooming flowers and the endless expand of the green field. In comparison to this, she thought of Abbu Khan’s compound as a prison. While playing in the grassy slopes, she came across a herd of wild goats who asked her to join them, but she denied wanting to be all by herself.
Very soon the day paved way for the night. She heard a strange sound, like a grunt. Instantly, she knew that this sound was neither of Abbu Khan nor of the other goats. She understood that this was the sound of the wolf. She pondered whether to go back to Abbu Khan or to be right there. Her heart told her to die in an open field was better than living in a small hut. Soon the fight between the wolf and Chandni ensued and though Chandni put up a very brave front, she died. Next morning, she became a topic of discussion among the birds. Some saw her as the loser, while some saw her as a winner.