Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: India (02/12/09)
TITLE: How the Cobra Got His Hood
By Benjamin Graber
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Kobe had the position of sitting at the feet of the king as his bodyguard. Instead of seeing the honor of being a bodyguard, he saw the lowliness of serving at the king’s feet, envying the officials Tye Gerr and Rhine Ocerruss, who stood guard at the king’s sides.
Kobe was given a special gift given to no other guard of the king. He was given a sack of poison as his own special weapon. But instead of being grateful for the gift, Kobe scorned his place, and dreamed of a way to change his body and earn a position at the king’s side.
One day, Tye was teasing him about his height. Pretending to step on him, Tye mocked, “I’m sorry, Kobe. I didn’t see you down there.”
Kobe hissed a response. “If I wasn’t so ssssmall, you would have reason to fear me…”
“Maybe the great sage El Efant would have a cure for you…” Tye sneered. He turned and leapt away with a graceful bound, leaving Kobe to boil in fury.
Kobe had heard of El Efant before. He was said to be able to fix all problems, great or small. Kobe decided that he wanted to see if El Efant would be able to fix his size.
The journey to the hut of El Efant was not an easy one. As small as he was, he was barely noticeable by the cumbersome pilgrims who walked the same path, and he was often pushed and stepped on, squeezing the patience out of him.
“You’ll sssssee what the great Kobe Rah will soon be capable of,” was all he could whisper in response to the mumbled apologies.
When Kobe finally reached the hut of El Efant, he approached the sage with boldness in spite of his weariness, but withdrew a step when he saw him. El Efant was larger than both Tye and Rhine together, and could easily have taken both of them down in one blow.
“How can I help you, little one?” the giant gently asked.
“Please, great sage, I want to be big!” Kobe pleaded.
“True stature is measured by the size of the heart, not the body.”
“Not in the courts of the king, it is not. Please, sir, can you do anything for me?” Kobe begged him, unwilling to receive any answer but the one he wanted.
“Very well. I will see what I can do,” replied the sage, musing over what was best.
El Efant took Kobe’s neck in between his huge hands, and started to pull. Kobe gasped in pain, but refused to cry out, determined to do what it took to become bigger. The sage pulled and pulled, until Kobe’s neck became a round circle, then he finally stopped.
“You are big enough to solve all of your problems.” The sage dismissed him with a smile.
Kobe turned back towards the palace, appeased by the words of the sage. He was determined not to let Tye put him down again.
Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted by a deep snarl. It was a Black le Parde, one of the corsairs of Inde Yah.
“Hand over your jewels, snake.”
Kobe responded by puffing out his neck and arching his back, certain that his new size would scare away the thief. Instead, the villain laughed with scorn.
“You are far too small to defy me. Hand over your jewels, or pay the consequences.” He bared his claws with an evil grin.
Kobe pulled back in fear. Had the sage betrayed him? He still wasn’t big enough to defy anyone!
Then, in a flash, he remembered the gift he was given. The one he, alone, possessed. He leapt out, and sunk his fangs into the thief’s hand. With a gasp the corsair staggered back and fell to the ground, killed by Kobe’s poison.
With pride Kobe returned to the palace a victor. He resumed his place at the king’s feet with confidence, content with the special gift that was his, alone.
Today, whenever Kobe Rah puffs out his neck, he remembers his special gift, and he is proud of his position as a bodyguard of the king.
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