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Saturday, 13 February 2016
Summary: Journey by Night Norah Burke
Sher Singh was the son of Sher Singh Bahadur - the brave and famous Shikari who had got the title Bahadur for his hunting skills. One day when his father was away in the jungle on a photographic expedition with some strangers, Sher Singh’s younger brother Kunwar fell seriously ill. His mother gave some home remedy to Kunwar without success. So she felt that Kunwar had to be carried to the hospital in Kalaghat. As his father and the elders in the village were away and as his mother ought to look after the cattle and the farming, Sher Singh decided to carry Kunwar to the hospital. She Singh’s mother made a sling from her sari for Sher Singh to carry Kunwar.
In the evening Sher Singh began the journey to Kalaghat carrying his brother in the sling. Kalaghat was at best fifty miles away, but Sher Singh thought that if he took the shortcut through the jungle and cross the two rivers, he might get a lift in a passing vehicle.
As he was moving through the jungle, his jungle sense helped him to escape from stepping on a cobra and sure death. As he walked through the forest, he was terrified. He felt the weight of his brother was too much for him. When he came to the river bed, he decided to take rest for a while.
When he placed Kunwar on the ground, he saw a herd of elephants jostling through the forest. Sher Singh was frightened and helpless. He could neither climb nor run carrying his brother. Fortunately, the herd left the brothers alone and went away. He lifted Kunwar with great effort and trod into the shallow river. As he splashed on to the shore, he saw newly-made footprints of a tiger. However, he proceeded courageously and reached the second river by midnight.
The snow had melted, the river was full with a strong current and the Kutcha Bridge had submerged. Weaving some grass into a rope, Sher Singh tied it round his brother and himself to keep them together. And then he entered into the river and moved forward with great difficulty. He was careful to keep Kunwar’s head above water. Sher Singh found it an enormous struggle to carry the weight of his brother and move through the cold and strong current in the river. Eventually, after a determined struggle, he was able to cross the river and reach the road to Kalaghat. Then he was able to get a lift in a bullock cart and a truck and reach Kalaghat hospital to admit his ailing brother. After admitting his brother to the hospital, Sher Singh got some work in the rail yards and earned some money to get a few things to cook a meal.
At the hospital, the doctor was amazed that Sher Singh was the boy who brought the sickly Kunwar from Laidwani. The doctor called him ‘Sher Singh Bahadur’ and assured him that his brother would live.