Train of tales Children

Meeting Omen

Illustrations: Sonal Goyal   | Photo Credit: Illustrations: Sonal Goyal

The story so far: Aniket and Fortune, whom he released from the silver bottle, are travelling to Lady Lucklina’s castle, listening to the conversation between the different aspects of Nature.

“The rustling of leaves is the wind and the trees talking to each other. All you have to do is to listen quietly in solitude and you can hear their conversation,” Fortune explained.

All of a sudden, a wooden boat that was nowhere to be seen on the water earlier, now drifted towards them. Aniket was flummoxed. There was nobody on the boat but the oars were moving as if by magic, in perfect rhythm with each other and the water.

Soon, the boat came to the edge of the water, near where they were standing.

“Who is rowing the boat?” Aniket whispered.

“Oh, that’s Omen, a mischievous ghost. He makes a lot of noise. He keeps tapping the oars to announce his arrival or make his presence felt,” Fortune replied.

“Why can’t we see him?” Aniket asked.

“Omen’s presence can only be felt; few people have been able to catch a glimpse of him,” Fortune replied.

Tap, tap, tap, tap. Omen struck the side of the boat with his oars to get their attention.

“Omen, we know you are on the boat. Stop making the irritating noise. By the way, this is Aniket,” Fortune announced.

Tap to answer

Aniket absent-mindedly extended his right hand to shake hands just as his father had taught him. Before he realised that ghosts don’t shake hands, he felt his hand being grasped by a soft and moist hand in a firm handshake. Aniket heard the tap four times.

“He says, ‘Welcome to Laura Lucklina’s Island’,” Fortune translated.

“Thank you, Omen,” Aniket said, climbing into the boat. The moment Fortune too sat in the boat, Omen started rowing.

“Aniket, Omen can answer questions regarding the future. Two taps mean NO. Three taps are for YES. Five taps mean MAYBE. You can ask him anything you want,” the imp said, delighted at the look of amazement on Aniket’s face.

Aniket needed no coaxing. “Will I be the class monitor when the school reopens tomorrow?” he asked eagerly.

The oars struck the side of the boat. Tap. Tap. Tap.

“Three taps mean YES!” Aniket said excitedly. “Yay, I’ll be the class monitor!”

“Will I be the junior school sports captain?” Aniket asked again.

Tap, tap.

Two taps meant NO. Aniket’s heart sank. He felt sad. More than being the class monitor, he was dying to be the junior school sports captain.

“Will my classmate Kabir become the sports captain?” Aniket finally asked the question that had been haunting him like a friendly ghost ever since Kabir beat him in the annual tennis tournament.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Three taps. YES.

“Too bad,” Aniket muttered. “Kabir’s large head will become larger. Imagine that pain in the neck becoming the sports captain!”

To be continued...

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 3:58:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/the-silver-bottle/article33150984.ece

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