Theme: Humor

The Invention of Shoes

Said Hobu, “Do you hear, you Gobu Roy,
I have thought throughout last night
Why should my feet become dirty with dust
As soon as I put my feet on the earth?
You only draw your salaries
Without caring about your duties to the king.
I am the owner of the earth
Yet it will make me dirty
What nonsense is this!
I want you soon to find its remedy
Otherwise I shall spare you none.”
At this Gobu was at his wit’s end
In fear he began to profusely sweat
The pundits’ faces became pale
The courtiers lost their sleep
They closed their kitchens
And stopped taking their meals
All of them began to cry
With his aged beards all awash with tears
Gobu at last submitted to his king,
“How shall we get the dust of your feet
If they never become dirty at all?”
This made the king seriously think
But he said at last, “Yes, it is true –
But first you remove the dust
Thereafter you theorize about the dust of my feet.
If this poses a problem and you cannot solve
Then you get your salaries for nothing
Why did I employ so many scientist servants
Holding so many degrees?
You finish your first task first
And think about other things later.”
Gobu got utterly confused
And he carefully began to recruit
The learned and the technologists from far and near
They sat down with their spectacles on
And they used up nineteen drums of snuff
They thought and thought
And came up with the solution:
“If the soil is removed
Where will we grow our crops?”
“If you cannot do that”, said the king,
“Then why so many pundits are there?”
Together they deliberated and bought
Seventeen and half lakhs of brooms
They swept so hard
The dust of the streets
Covered the entire body of the king
Because of too much of dust
None could open his eyes
Behind the clouds of dust
The sun itself was lost
The city became invisible
And men began to cough
“To remove the dust”, said the king,
“They have covered the whole world with dust.”
Then came twenty-one lakh water-carriers
They came in a hurry
With their water carrying bags
Only clay remained in lakes and ponds
Those who live in water began to die
And those living on land began to swim
The shops were closed because of mud
Many caught cold and died of fever
“A bunch of asses!” said the king,
“All the dust they have turned into mud.”
Again they sat in conference
All those meritorious men –
Their heads began to spin
They were at their wit’s end to find an end of the dust
Someone said, “Cover the earth with mattresses
We shall cover the dust with carpets.”
Others told, “Keep the king in a room
And see that it has no holes
If he doesn’t put his feet on the earth
How will they ever get soiled?”
“Correct you are”, said the king,
“But this phobia of dust
Will reduce my kingdom to dust
If I remain closeted in a room.”
Then they said, “Let us call a cobbler
Let him cover the earth with leather
If all the dust could be kept in a bag
It would be a great achievement of the king.”
It was thus agreed,
“This could well be done
If a suitable cobbler could be found.”
Suspending their works
The messengers hurried to and fro
But nowhere could they find
Either suitable leather or a suitable cobbler.
Then came the leader of the cobblers
The old man told slowly smiling,
“If I am allowed to speak -
I could devise something to serve your purpose
If you cover your feet
You can do without covering the earth.”
“Would that be so easy”, said the king
And all began to brood over the matter
The minister said,
“Tie this fellow to a stake
And keep him in the prison.”
The old man sat at the feet of the king
And covered them with leather.
The minister said,
“I had thought as much
But how that rascal could know it?”
From that day wearing shoes became the fashion
Gobu was thus saved
And saved was the world.

Transcreation of the humourous poem Juta-abiskar from the collection  Kalpana by Rabindranath Tagore. The original in Bengali script may be viewed here.


More By  :  Kumud Biswas

Views: 1325     Comments: 10

Comments on this Poem

Comment poop poem very bad

jeev singh
11-Sep-2020 00:15 AM

Comment Good

20-Feb-2019 03:09 AM

Comment Nicely summarised. Easy to grasp for kids!

10-Jan-2016 14:12 PM

Comment very nice poem but not true

13-Nov-2015 07:14 AM

Comment nice poem

22-Jan-2015 06:22 AM

Comment C. Bandopadhaya, Thanks for the compliments. Shall be happy if kids are inspired by this translation to read the original. My modest effort is not half as good as the original poem. I have given the link in the note.

04-Apr-2014 00:47 AM

Comment Really nice translation. Thanks to Kumud Biswas for making life easy for those kids who are trying to learn this poem.

Chhandashi Bandopadhayay
03-Apr-2014 21:09 PM

Comment Very nice translation. Useful for kids growing up overseas.

17-Feb-2014 03:06 AM

Comment nonsense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11-Jan-2014 10:14 AM

Comment vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvnice poem

darla bellu
25-Nov-2013 09:47 AM

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