King empire

At King Bheema’s court, two young boys receive life lessons in governance, justice and kindness

Full of humor and drama, Mangoes, mischief and tales of friendship from Chitra Soundar, a collection of short stories, recalls the stories of the 16th century Mughal Emperor Akbar and his advisor and confidant Birbal. The protagonists of Chitra Sounder are two mischievous and precocious 10-year-old boys who courageously use their intellect to solve delicate problems at the court of King Bheema.

Veera is the king’s son and his closest friend, Suku, is the farmer’s son. Veera and Suku receive daily lessons in math, science, economics and different languages. They love their archery, horse riding, wrestling, fencing and swimming lessons. At the end of the school day, they have the freedom to roam the capital of the small kingdom located at the foot of the beautiful hills of Himtuk.

What Veera and Suku love the most is hiding behind the big golden curtains in the courtroom or the observation gallery of the Queen’s Apartments and listening to what is happening in the courtyard of the Queen. king Bheema. Thus, they learn about government, justice, fairness and kindness at the feet of the king himself.

The book is divided into two smaller books already published: A spoonful of ghee and a jar of wisdom and A jar of pickles and a pinch of justice. Each book contains four stories about Veera and Suku’s adventures in righteousness and the reprimands when the king is busy attending to other affairs of his kingdom. Uma Krishnaswamy’s illustrations give fairy tales the right touch of mischief and fun.


Prince Veera’s first case

The first case treated by Veera is a setback between a wealthy mithaiwala, confectionery owner, and a poor man. The owner wants the farm worker to pay to enjoy the aroma of butter, sugar, cardamom and saffron from outside his store, but without buying anything. The worker says he only has money for basic foodstuffs, food for his family, and that he can only enjoy the aroma of the candy. To the worker’s shock, Veera asks him to pay all his money to the owner. Then he tells the owner to enjoy the feel of the money before giving it back – a fair exchange for the pleasure of the aroma. Veera goes further and gives the plate of candy the owner brought to bribe the worker’s children. Such thoughtful selflessness at the age of 10 shows what a wonderful King Veera will do when he grows up. Now King Bheema lets Prince Veera have his own court.

Who stole the Laddus?

After the king has tasted the owner’s confectionery laddus, balls of yellow lentils fried in sugar syrup, he falls in love and demands that he offer himself a box for himself. He sends a money order to the kitchens so that no one touches his box. Unfortunately, when the box is opened, a laddu is found missing. The king is enraged, and to calm him down, Veera says he will find the culprit. He asks the sentries to fetch 20 pieces of firewood of the same length. He then gives a piece to each of the kitchen staff and asks them to walk through the pantry while invoking the God of honesty by reciting “Satyameva Jayate.Veera warns them that the firewood of those who tell the truth will decrease by an inch. When Veera collects all of the pieces, he finds one that’s an inch shorter – the culprit pre-cut his piece in hopes of not getting caught. Veera correctly identifies the psychology of a guilty conscience and demonstrates its foreknowledge and wisdom.

The unfortunate case

Not all of the capital likes a poor ragged man named Dhuri who is rumored to be spreading bad luck throughout the kingdom. Apparently all a person has to do is see or talk to Dhuri for bad luck to befall them. Veera does not believe it and is determined that the king meet him like all his other subjects and exonerate him. However, a sight of the man through the palace windows and stupid accidents begin to happen to the king. He breaks a glass of water; the royal chef is ill, so his favorite breakfast could not be prepared; he hits his leg badly. King Bheema accuses Dhuri. Dhuri said that he does not spread ill will on anyone, but is filled with bad luck. He has no job, no friends and no family. However, the king is not convinced and condemns the man to prison.

Veera is shocked and bravely stands up to his father saying that his statement is unfair and that he, Veera, has learned to speak out against injustice. He then accuses the king of spreading more bad luck than Dhuri. The king is stunned and the court horrified. Veera tells the king that he saw Dhuri and that minor problems happened to him, but Dhuri was just coming to see him, and now he is imprisoned. Dhuri harming the king is a superstition, but his doing Dhuri damage is willful. The king redeems himself for giving in to his emotions and behaving unfairly. He then praises Veera for his strength of mind and integrity.

Everything is fine with the mango pickles

Two men, Kasi and Pawan, come to plead their case. Before leaving on her long trip, Kasi put all her precious jewelry in a jar and gave it to Pawan, saying it was the mango pickles her mother had prepared before she passed away. Upon his return, he asks to collect his jar, but instead of the jewels, it is filled with pickles. Pawan denies stealing.

Veera is puzzled. Then he realizes he knows a thing or two about pickles. He asks to look at the pickles. As a connoisseur, he scrutinizes the appearance of the pieces, inhales the aroma and tastes them. He concludes that it was fresh pickles, not a year old. Pawan is therefore caught and must atone for his sin by working in the palace kitchens. Veera then creates a safe for the inhabitants of the kingdom who wish to protect their valuables when they go on long journeys.


While all of the stories are very entertaining, it’s Soundar’s writing that elevates them to art. She paints vivid scenes with her words, detailing what children would be interested in knowing about the adventures of Veera and Suku. His eerie insight into the psyche of children is what makes this collection of short stories so memorable.

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