The country Shining was governed by a despotic leader who though a warrior, had a great and cowardly shrinking from anything suggestive of failing health and strength. This caused him to send out a cruel proclamation. The entire province was given strict orders to immediately put to death all aged people. Those were barbarous days, and the custom of abandoning old people to die was not uncommon. The poor farmer loved his aged mother with tender reverence, and the order filled his heart with sorrow. But no one ever thought twice about obeying the mandate of the governor, so with many deep and hopeless sighs, the youth prepared for what at that time was considered the kindest mode of death.
Shining was the name of the nation where the poor, humble farmer and his mother lived. A dictatorial king who was also a skilled warrior governed the land. Though a warrior, he was a coward when it came to one thing. It was that he was afraid of anything that indicated ill-health and lack of strength because he believed it to be a weakness which might hinder the country's progress or be seen as a sign of shortcoming. As a result of this thought, he issued a terrible order to kill all the elderly people, whom he regarded as a symbol of weakness and ill-health, though it was not so.
Those were barbarous days when people were not civilised enough to appreciate the value of life, and it was common practise to abandon the aged. In fact, it seemed that the tyrannical ruler's order had almost no impact on the people, as they did not raise objections to the order. However, subjects who think or act against the king's orders may find themselves in a life-or-death predicament.
The impoverished farmer, on the other hand, adored and respected his loving mother more than anything else in life. And so, the cruel ruler's order made him feel sad since he did not want his adoring mother to be killed.
After some time of thinking, with deep and hopeless sighs to save his mother, the poor farmer mentally prepared himself to carry out the king's command as no one had the courage to disobey the king's order. Still, he looked for various kind ways to carry out the king's order because he did not want to carry out the order harshly as he loved his mother. Finally, he chose the gentlest method of killing his mother.
Meaning of difficult words:
|Despotic||Refers to someone who uses their power on someone cruelly|
|Suggestive||Making you think of something|
|Proclamation||Refers to an official announcement|
|Province||Refers to a country or region under the control of a ruler|
|Barbarous||Indicates an uncivilised state|
|Abandon||To leave someone or something that you are responsible for|
|Custom||Refers to a traditional practice in a society or a group|
|To sigh||To take or let out a long, deep breathe|
|Mandate||An authoritative order or command|
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). English Standard-10. The Aged Mother - Matsuo Basho (pp. 120-122). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation