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A Mynah for the King by Ahmed A. Khan

A Mynah for the King

by Ahmed A. Khan
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Page 4

“What! Will we now let bird stories guide the decisions of the government?” sneered the prime minister.

Just then, the mynah launched into a story:

Once upon a time, there was a nice and tender-hearted boy. This tender-hearted boy was extremely friendly with a nice and tender-hearted girl.

The girl was interested in painting and always carried papers and charcoal with her. She tried to make as many sketches of the boy as possible.

Time passed.

They grew up and drifted apart. He went his way and she went hers.

People change with time, and so the tender-hearted boy grew up to become a hard-hearted man. He became a thoroughly materialistic, flinty and self-centered individual.

Time passed.

He remained a hard-hearted man for a long time. For a long time, he caused misery to a number of people, and—though he would never admit it—was miserable himself.

It came to pass that one day, while casually flipping through the pages of an old book in his library, he came across an old sketch, neatly tucked between the pages of the book. He glanced at the sketch and was about to put it away again when something hit him. For a moment he was startled into immobility. Then slowly, almost apprehensively, he lowered his eyes and looked at the sketch again.

The sketch showed the tearful face of a boy looking at a dead bird in his hand. Something in the face of the boy made him glance away quickly. The man found he could not face the boy he had been.

Then, like a huge tidal wave, his past came flooding over his present, and he found himself floating over a vast ocean of memories—memories of the boy who was, memories of the girl who had made the sketch, memories of many other things.

He got up and went to the mirror on the wall. He looked at himself for some time.

Suddenly, without any warning, a strange sort of bitter-sweet pain gripped his heart. Like a small child, he burst into tears.

From that moment, he started changing.

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About the Author

Ahmed A. Khan

Ahmed A. Khan is a Canadian writer whose works have appeared in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Anotherealm and many other venues. He has edited anthologies like SF Waxes Philosophical and A Mosque Among the Stars He maintains an irregular blog at ahmedakhan.livejournal.com.

Story Discussion

Stories by Ahmed A. Khan


A Mynah for the King

“I burned the papers. The stories are in my head.”

The prime minister turned to the captain of the soldiers. “You heard what he said?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And you heard what the king said. The king wants the stories and not the story teller.”

“Yes, sir.”

“The stories are in this man’s head.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then what are you waiting for? Split open his head and get the stories.”

The captain pulled out his sword.


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