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Child's Healthcare
Tale Two: The Town of Riddlepore

In the second part, Rohan and his friends encounter an evil witch in the mysterious town of Riddlepore.


In the previous tale, we saw how Rohan saved four animals in the Enchanted Zoo.


Rohan's Friends

Along the way to Zhongrila, Rohan learned more about his four new friends. Each animal came from a different world, just the way he came from Jumblepore.

Doctor Gajendra, the elephant, was a doctor who used his trunk to check his patients' heart beat. The lion, General Sher Singh, had been an army general in his world. The parrot was a non-stop talker, and was called Chatterjee. The cow was called Gaitonde.


Five Strangers in a Strange Land

Ahead they saw another sign that said: Zhongrila 6 Tasks Away.
Scratching his head with his trunk, the wise doctor spoke, "Here things are not what they seem. In this world, if you want to go somewhere, you have to do something."
Chatterjee spoke, "SQUACK! If I may ask, what will be the next task?"
General Sher Singh answered, "ATTENTION! I see a town. Let us march ahead."
And so they marched ahead.


The Talking Iron Gate

The town was situated near huge mountains. Tall pointed buildings with pointed pink tops that almost seemed to touch the skies. At the entrance was an enormous iron gate with a big iron lock.

Not knowing what to do, the five travellers stood near the gate. Suddenly a voice boomed, "STOP! O mysterious travellers."

Rohan found it strange. It appeared as if the gate was talking.

Gaitonde, the cow, bellowed, "MOO! We are travellers on our way to Zhongrila. Pray, tell us, who are you?"

"I", said the gate. "I am Irena the Iron Gate."

"SQUACK! A talking gate! What's next in our fate?" chirped the parrot.

"Shut up, paradoxical paraphrasing parrot!" said Irena.

Now Irena was a grumpy old gate. She did not like opening up to new people. In fact, some people also called her Irena the Introverted Iron Gate.

Rohan felt that Irena was rude because she did not have any friends or anyone to talk to. After all, how many people talk to their gates?

He asked politely, "Please let us enter the town. We are just travellers on the way to Zhongrila."

She answered, "Pesky ones! You cannot enter unless you answer my riddles to enter!"

"ASK!" thundered General Sher Singh. Being a general, he did not like to wait.

"Okay, here is one. When is a door not a door?" asked Irena.

Rohan thought hard. In school, he had solved several riddles.

Doctor Gajendra replied, "When it is a jar."

A jar? Jars are vessels that his grandma used to store pickles. Now Rohan understood it! Ajar is the word for a door that is open. A door is not a door when it is ajar and also when it is a jar.

"Harrumph!" said Irena, still displeased at the thought of opening herself to strangers. "The gates of Riddlepore are now ajar for you! Hope you never come back." said Irena as she opened herself.


Riddlepore

The town was a maze. Each house looked the same. Each road looked the same. The windows looked like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

They walked for some time until they realised they were completely lost.

A signboard read: Welcome to Riddlepore! We hope you have a puzzling time!

An evil smile was drawn on it.

The travellers found this town scary. Till now, they had not come across a single person. They continued to walk. It was getting dark.

Another board read: What is lighter than a feather yet the strongest man cannot hold it for too long?

Rohan thought hard. He knew the answer. "Breath!" he shouted. Suddenly, a door opened. All of them were terrified. Rohan and his friends entered in.

Inside was a long corridor with a door at the end. As they neared the door, a voice came, "I am where yesterday follows today, and tomorrow's in the middle. Who am I?"

This was a difficult question. Rohan and his friends were silent for a minute.

Dr. Gajendra drew imaginary words using his trunk and spelt, "T-O-D-A-Y, T-O-M "

Rohan realised that the words were in alphabetical order. Where would words be in alphabetical order?

"Dictionary!" he squealed in delight.

The door opened.


The Evil Witch

An ugly old woman stood on the other side of the door. Her hair was purple. Her eyes were red. And she had two sharp teeth. In fact, she looked like a witch!

"Welcome to Riddlepore, the town of problems!" the witch cackled.

"What happened to all the people?" Dr. Gajendra asked.

"People! Hah! O ponderous pachyderm, there are no people here. I have turned them into a puzzle. In fact, that is your fate too." replied the witch.

The witch had created five new jigsaw puzzles shaped in the form of an elephant, lion, parrot, cow, and even a young boy. Now Rohan remembered. The town was full of jigsaws, which had been people at one time.

"Riddle me a riddle, ask me a riddle! If I answer it, you will be in the jigsaw's middle!" sang the witch, cackling with evil laughter.

"Let's start with this noisy parrot!" she added.

Chatterjee thought hard as he fluttered about frantically, and then asked, "Okay, what is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away?"

"Hah! That's easy! Charcoal is the answer." said the witch.

Suddenly the parrot disappeared. One of the jigsaws moved a bit. The other four friends were worried.

"Next please!" said the witch.

Gaitonde the cow moved a bit nervously. After thinking for a whole minute, he asked, "I am weightless though you can see me. When I'm in a bucket of water, I make it lighter. What am I?"

"A hole! That is where you will be going soon," answered the crafty witch. And the cow disappeared.

General Sher Singh, the bravest among them, looked a bit worried. He said, "Name it and you will break it."

"Do not waste my time with these stupid questions! Silence is the answer and is also your fate!" answered the witch, angrily. The poor lion disappeared.

"Let's see what puzzles you have," said the witch looking at Doctor Gajendra.

By then, the wise doctor had enough time to think of a difficult riddle. He said, "Oh evil one! Let me see if you can answer this one.

A moth ate words, is that not strange?
From books and pages of a wide range
A mere worm ate what a man wrote
Even after eating, the worm did not bloat."


The witch spoke, "Hmmm. This is a difficult one. I must say your fat brain has some gray cells left. A worm that eats words… ah yes! That has to be a bookworm."

The elephant disappeared. The witch burst into laughter, "Hahaha, all your friends are now jigsaw puzzles in the town of Riddlepore. Now it is your turn, little boy. "

Rohan was terrified. He had to think of something fast.

(To find out what happens next, read the third part of Rohan's adventures.)


What riddle should Rohan ask the evil witch? Do you know any good riddles that the witch would not be able to answer? What did you think of this story? To share your experiences and tips, click here.

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