There was once a hunter who, on the seventh birthday of his son, decided to go hunting to get something nice for the feast. But as he reached for the gun on the wall, it slipped from the pegs, hit the stone mortar below and alas, its barrel was bent like the letter L.

“Father, that’s a bad sign,” cried the boy, “please don’t go hunting today.”
“You are silly!” said the father. “That’s a good sign. The gun hit the mortar. That means it’ll hit the game, too.”

The father went out and came to a mountain lake while it was still quite early. What do you think he saw? Wild ducks–thirteen of them! Twelve were splashing in the water, and the thirteenth was sleeping quietly on the shore beside a rock.

“What luck!” said the hunter to himself, and he aimed at one of the ducks with his crooked gun.

“Bang!” went the shot. Lo and behold, as the gun barrel was crooked, the bullet that he shot out went zig-zag-zig-zag, hitting all twelve ducks in the water and then hitting the rock beside which the thirteenth was asleep. As it rebounded, the bullet hit the thirteenth duck, only wounding it.

The duck fell in the water and began flapping its wings wildly. The hunter waded through the water to catch it. It was only with great difficulty that he got to the duck, for he wore baggy cotton pants and thick leg-guards made of straw.

When he finally got hold of the duck by the neck, it hit the water with a last desperate flap of the wings. Then – splash! Something jumped out of the water and landed among the bush near the beach. And guess what — it was a huge carp, the largest and most delicious-looking one he ever seen.

“I must catch it now,” said the hunter and grasped some roots of a tree at hand to help himself get out of the water. Well, what he took for roots were actually the hind legs of a great big hare! In its frantic efforts to free himself, the hare dug out with its front paws twenty-five fat yams from under the ground!

The hunter went into the bush to pick up the carp, and there he found out that the fish had landed in a pheasant nest. The fowl was lying dead with its neck broken by the fish. When the hunter took the fowl, it uncovered thirteen eggs snugly tucked in the soft leaves. Not even one was broken. The hunter carefully raked aside the leaves to get the eggs, and numerous mushrooms appeared from under the leaves!

A Lucky Hunter [Kusum Chamoli]
A Lucky Hunter [Kusum Chamoli]

The hare and the pheasant went onto the hunter’s right shoulder, the carp and the yams on the left, the ducks all around the waist, the eggs under his shirt, and the mushrooms into a bag. Then he went home with his crooked gun.

As soon as he reached home, he took off his leg-guards and pants because they were wet and uncomfortable. Another surprise! From his leg-guards poured out shrimps just too many to count, and from his cotton pants, thirty-three crucians still alive. They spread all over the floor, jumping and dancing.

Well, you can imagine what a gorgeous feast the hunter’s son had for his seventh birthday! All the people in the neighbourhood were invited and everyone feasted until he couldn’t eat any more!

(From Laughing Together: Stories, Riddles and Proverbs from Asia and the Pacific; Published by The National Book Trust under a UNESCO project.)

600 words | 6 minutes
Readability: Grade 4 (9-10 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: stories
Tags: #bullet, #wings, #ducks, #hunters, #cotton, #roots, #thirteenth

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