Thus all went smoothly in the Bala Hissar, where young Prince Akbar, now close on three years old, looked and talked and acted like one of six. This same strength of his was always getting him into scrapes with people who did not believe he was so young, or, knowing him to be so young, did not believe him to be so strong!
He played a similar trick to the one he had played on cousin Yakoob at Kandahar on his big cousin Ibrahim, Prince Kumran’s son. It was about a fine kettledrum all tasselled in royal fashion, with gold and silver, that Ibrahim’s father had given him. Being a selfish boy, he would not allow Akbar to touch it; whereupon the Heir-to-Empire, after a brief tussle, carried off the kettledrum and beat it loudly through the palace!
Kumran hearing of this was very angry, for the beating of a kettledrum is a sign of Empire.
“Keep that young fighting cock of thine in better order, madam,” he said to his aunt, “or I shall have to find him a sterner gaoler.”
Whereupon she flashed out and told him fairly that short of killing the child, and for that crime even he was not prepared, there was no way of preventing the Heir-to-Empire from being what he was, a born king. That was her way of quelling Kumran. By boldly setting aside the thought of murder as impossible, she hoped to make it so; but she was not sure, and after this she kept Mirak and Bija under control.
It was not much good, however, when just as autumn was coming on news arrived from Kandahar that Humayon had at last succeeded in taking the city, and, disappointed in not finding his son in the palace, was preparing to march on Kabul.
Then the worst side of Prince Kumran showed itself at once. Like all deceitful people, he was a coward at heart, and cowardice made him think of immediate revenge upon his victorious brother. Of what use would even two victories be to him if the Heir-to-Empire was beyond recall?