A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

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The Rat Merchant

Long long ago, in one of the port towns of Southern India there was a young man Ramu who was poor, but intelligent. Ramu was going in the market street one day, when he saw a dead rat. The Minister of the Kingdom who was also passing by with his friend looked at the rat and commented to his friend, “An intelligent man can earn thousands of gold coins with this dead rat”. Ramu who was nearby, was puzzled by the minister’s comment but nevertheless knowing that the minister was a shrewd man, picked up the dead rat in his hand and started to go home.
On the way, he was approached by the servant of the army commander, who was out to buy some food for the Commander’s cat. “Sell me this rat”, said the man. Ramu sold the dead rat to him for the price of one gold coin. This was his first earning. He was very happy.

He went to the market and got a big earthen pot and some jaggery with the gold coin. He filled up the pot with sweet water from the stream nearby. He went to the jasmine gardens near the outskirts of the city where the farmers were plucking flowers. He had powdered the jaggery and as the farmers came out tired after the work, he offered them jaggery and water. The farmers were very happy and gave him each a handful of jasmine buds. Ramu strung the buds into garlands and went to the temple a bit far from the town. He sold the flowers to the devotees and the temple and this practice went on for few weeks until Ramu had saved eight gold coins. In the process, Ramu had befriended some people of the next town and was keeping himself aware of the developments in the city.

In the next few days, there was a severe thunderstorm and the following day after the storm had subsided, as Ramu was passing the Royal Garden, he found the Royal Gardener very upset as the garden was strewn with lot of twigs and small branches and dead leaves and the garden had to be cleaned before the next day as the king was holding a party there the next day. Ramu thought for a while and told the gardener that he could clean the garden for him if he was allowed to take all the twigs and branches. The gardener was gratified and happily agreed. Ramu then went and bought some sweets from the mithaiwala with the money he had saved over the days. He found a bunch of young boys playing nearby and told them that if they helped him clear the debris in the Royal Garden, he would reward them with the delicious sweets. The boys were overjoyed and gladly cleared the garden of the twigs and branches and leaves. Ramu gave them the sweets and collected all the twigs and branches and took it home.

The next day was very sunny and Ramu cleverly dried all the twigs and branches. The next day as he was passing by the potter’s house, as he casually enquired about his well being, he came to know that the potter was not having dry wood for baking his pots that day. Ramu immediately encashed this opportunity and sold him the dry twigs and and branches and got fifteen gold coins and ten earthen pots in return. Ramu kept some of the money safely and bought jaggery with the rest.

He now bought jaggery powder and lemon and and went to the  fields where a number of  workers were cutting the weeds and grass. He filled the pots with lime juice and  offered the workers cool lime juice after their day of hard work. They were very pleased and asked him what they could give him in return. Ramu told them that he would ask them at the opportune moment. This went on for a few days. One fine day, Ramu came to know from his friends that a merchant was coming to the city with 500 horses to be sold to the king. Ramu told his worker friends that he would take two bundles of grass from each of them that day and also requested them that they should not sell grass in the coming week. The workers agreed and each of them gave him two bundles of grass.

Over the next few days, a horse trader came with the 500 horses to the town  to sell them to the king. To the horse trader’s surprise, there was not a single grass seller to be seen in the town. But as he passed by the market, he saw Ramu sitting with a lot of grass and he was the only grass seller available. The trader, in his anxiety bought all the grass Ramu had and Ramu made a quick 1000 gold coins that day.

A few days later a ship had arrived in the port carrying lot of precious stones and perfumes. Ramu, was aware that the ship was to arrive and immediately went and met the ship owner. He told the ship owner that he would take all the goods in the ship and gave the thousand gold coins in advance. A day later, the richest merchants and nobles of the town came to know of the ship and flocked to buy the cargo. But the owner said that the whole of the cargo was booked by one Ramu!! They could buy the cargo only if Ramu permitted. They were surprised as they had not known any merchant by name Ramu. Anyway, they enquired and made their way to Ramu’s house and told him that they also wanted to purchase the goods that had arrived from abroad. Ramu acted reluctant  for a while and after some time told them that they may have to pay 200 gold coins each if he was to give up the goods. The merchants had no way but to agree and gave Ramu the coins. This way he collected 10000 gold coins.

He bought a tray full of fruits and a small silk bag in which he put the coins he had earned. He went to the minister’s house and told the security guard that he had come to meet his ‘guru’. The puzzled guard went in and conveyed the same to the minister. The minster was also puzzled as he had not ‘tutored’ any student, but called him in. Ramu went in and presented the fruits along with the gold coins and prostrated at the feet of the minister. He then told him how he overheard his comment on the dead rat few months back and how he had come a long way with the help of the dead rat.

The minister was overwhelmed at the sincerity of Ramu and that he had given so much importance  to a casual remark made by him . He praised Ramu openly and also gave back the money placed in front of him and also announced that he would give his daughter in marriage to Ramu as he was looking for a sincere, hard working, enterprising individual!!

Ramu’s life took a full U-turn and he lived a very happy life ever after.

Never Give Advice Unless It is Sought

Once upon a time in a forest there lived a group of monkeys. The group was a very unruly one and made lot of noise wherever they went.

As we know, monkeys like to imitate whatever we do. These monkeys had observed in the village a person starting a bonfire and the group of people sitting and warming themselves in the cold night. The monkeys wanted to imitate the person that evening and they broke logs and twigs and arranged them near a tree as they had seen the person arrange.

Now, they did not know how the fire was lit, though one monkey had seen the man putting a glowing object in between the logs and the fire had caught on.

Just then the monkey noticed a few fireflies fluttering glowing in the dusk and caught one of them and tried hard to push it in between the logs and blew it “Phoooooo!” The firefly flew away. The monkey kept on repeating the action and each time the fly would flit away. The monkeys got really angry.

Just then a little birdie perched on the tree cried out “Hey monkeys, those are fireflies, those will not set fire to the logs” The monkeys ignored the birdie. The birdie did not catch the message. She kept on saying the same thing. The rowdiest monkey of all got so irritated that he just leapt and caught the birdie and screwed her neck off.

The poor birdie did not know that the result of giving advice which is not sought could be fatal!!

Moral: Never give advice to anyone unless it is sought.

The Story of Sukanya and Sage Chyavana

In ancient India, there was this king Saryata who had a young and beautiful daughter by name Sukanya.

Near his kingdom in the deep woods there lived an old sage by name Chyavana. He lived all by himself and used to go into deep meditation for long periods. He was not aware of what was going on around him till he came out of his trance every time. Sometimes, creepers used to grow on him, sometimes ant hills used to be built around him but the sage had such deep concentration.

One day the playful Sukanya went out to the woods with her friends to spend the day out. As they were playing hide and seek, Sukanya spotted a huge ant hill. She had never seen an anthill before and so went near the ant hill with her friends. The friends were also unaware of what the structure was and they wanted to see what was inside. So Sukanya took a sharp stick and poked into the ant hill. Something moved inside and a loud shriek of pain “Aaaaaa” arose from the ant hill. The anthill split open and there came out the old sage Chyavana with both his eyes bleeding.

Sukanya was startled and shocked. Startled that there was a man inside the ant hill and shocked that her stick had hurt the eyes of the poor sage. She did not know what to do and her whole body shook in panic. The palace guards who had accompanied the girls for security ran and told the king of what had happened and the king rushed to the spot.

Sukanya was pleading with the sage to forgive her but the sage was in no mood to forgive.The king also asked for forgiveness and told the sage that he would grant him anything he asked. The sage said, “O King, I live all alone in these woods. Till today, it was OK as I was able to manage my activities alone. But your daughter has blinded me now with her prank. How will I, a blind man survive alone in the woods? I seek your daughter’s hand in wedding so that she can help me in my daily activities”

The king could not say anything as he had already promised the sage that he would grant anything. In those days a promise was always kept and people never went back on their words.

Sukanya was horrified. She was so young and she had to marry this old sage. But she knew she also had to honour her father’s words. Children always respected their parents words and believed that the parents did good only to them. She had no other option but to marry the old sage. She started to live with the sage in his hermitage.

Soon she started liking the life in the hermitage and served the sage whole heartedly. Life was going on very smoothly, when one day the Ashwini Kumars, who are celestial beings, the physicians to the Devas, were passing by Sage Chyavana’s hermitage. They spotted the young Sukanya and were enchanted by her beauty. They came down and enquired about her and came to know that she was Sage Chyavana’s wife.

They were taken aback by the truthfulness and sincerity of Sukanya and admired her faithfulness. Still they wanted to test her. So they said “Sukanya, we have not told you who we are. We are the Ashwini Kumars who are celestial physicians. We can restore youth to your husband but on one condition”. Sukanya was excited and asked them what was the condition. The Ashwini Kumars continued, “We shall take your husband into the river for a dip and when we come out you have to identify your husband correctly. If you do so, your husband will have his youth back”. Sukanya convinced Sage Chyavana to go with the Ashwini Kumars  and they all dipped themselves into the river and were out in a jiffy. But what was this?? All the three looked alike. Sukanya had to identify her husband correctly. She was confused for a moment but the next moment with all her concentration she prayed to the Supreme Goddess to help her and within few seconds she could feel that the person in the middle was her husband. She surrendered to the Goddess and with total faith on the Goddess, pointed out to the person in the middle. SHE WAS RIGHT!!!

Sage Chyavana was equally happy that she identified him. The Ashwini Kumars blessed them both and gifted longevity and youth to Sage Chyavana. Both Chyavana and Sukanya were extremely delighted and thanked the Ashwini Kumars for restoring the sage’s youth.

It is said that the Ayurvedic tonic Chyavanaprash  or restoring youthfulness has its name originating from Sage Chyavana.

Sage Chyavana and Sukanya lived a happy life.

All is for Good

Long long ago, there lived a king in Southern India. He had a wise minister who would not talk much. Every time when something happened, the minister would offer only one comment “Well, All is for Good”. The king could not understand how the minister could say the same thing for everything, whether a war was lost, whether a war was won, whether there were excessive rains, or a horrible summer or whatever be the reason.

One day, the king accidentally lost his little toe on his left leg in a riding accident. When the minister met the king and came to know of the accident, he said his usual sentence “All is for good.”

The king asked the minister what he meant by saying “All is for Good” when he had lost his toe, but the minister replied with a wide smile and that was it.

One fine day, the king with his men went for hunting in the nearby forests. In those days hunting was a sport for the royal families and kings used to go for hunting camps for days together. The king found a cheetah and started to chase it on his horse. The cheetah went deeper and deeper into the forest and at one time the king lost track of it. He turned around but could not recognise the way he had come. It was getting dark and the sun had set. The king was now separated from his men.

Suddenly he heard the sound of a group, “Hun hunah hun hunah, hun hunahe hun hunah.” The sound was coming closer and from a clearing nearby emerged a group of tribal people wearing animal skins and jewels made of bones and crowns made of feathers. They were carrying a palanquin and suddenly a gruff voice from the palanquin ordered something. The tribals stopped and kept the palanquin down and from the palanquin stepped out a fearful looking man. He pointed at the king and said something in an unknown language. Suddenly the other tribals pounced on the king taking him unawares and tied him up with a rope to a nearby tree.

The king however brave he was, was frightened at heart. He understood from the actions of the tribals that he was going to be sacrificed to their god. The tribals were sharpening their heavy swords and they had lit up the place with fire torches. The place was decorated with wild flowers. They started chanting the same “Hun hunah hun hunah, hun hunahe hun hunah!!”, going around a sacrificial fire that had been created. After a few minutes, the tribal chief ordered his men to untie the king’s ropes. The king was then led near the fire. Just as the two men near the king raised their swords to strike, an old tribal got up and said something for which the tribals responded immediately by putting their swords down and started checking the king’s face, hands and legs. When they found his little toe missing, the tribal gave out a cry and said something. The king understood that they were looking for a perfect human to be sacrificed. Since the king did not have his little toe, he was considered a misfit for sacrifice.

The tribals fell at the feet of the king and escorted him out of the jungle. 

The king thought over the miraculous way he had escaped the sacrifice, thanks to his missing little toe and now he understood why his minister said “ALL IS FOR GOOD”

“All is for Good” smiled the king to himself.

The Foolish Camel

Once upon a time, in a town in central India, there was a rich merchant. Once, he found that he had acquired lot of camels and therefore wanted to sell some of them. The animal market was in a village at a distance from the town an one had to pass through a thick jungle to reach the village. The merchant started with his retinue of about four or five men and five camels which he wanted to sell.

The journey through the jungle was about four to five hours and on the way, one of the camels hit its foreleg on a boulder very badly. It could not walk. It sat on the grass. The merchant tried to make it get up but of no avail. It was getting dark and the merchant decided to leave the camel there as he could not risk his own life and therefore left the camel to fend for itself and went away with his team.

The poor camel was frightened of the dark but nevertheless had enough grass to feed on and also found some other plants which were actually medicinal plants. After eating the plants for two days, the camel to its surprise, found that his leg had healed. But he did not know where to go and started roaming aimlessly.

In the same jungle, there lived a jackal-crow duo who were both equally cunning and depended on an lion for their food. They used to flatter the lion all day and feed on the remains of the lion’s hunt. But slowly, the lion became weak with age and could not hunt as swiftly as he did earlier. The jackal-crow duo were wondering about the fate of their food at this rate. Just then, they sighted the camel and thought that it could be of some use to them. So they went and slowly befriended the camel with their sweet words and asked the camel to join their group.

The camel unwittingly joined the group as it was a town-bred camel and did not know the ways of the jungle. He also felt safe in their company as he knew that no other animal dare attack an animal in the company of a lion. Days passed and the lion was hunting prey once in 2 days and once in 3 days and sometimes only once a week. It was hard for the jackal and the crow to be without food for long periods. But the camel simply fed off the grass and was growing fatter by the day. He was happy that he had good friends and a carefree life.

It so happened that the lion could not hunt for the next 10 days. The jackal and crow were very hungry and did not know what to do. It was then that they plotted against the camel. With a plan in their mind, they called the camel along and went to see the lion. They talked to the lion about the dwindling food and their ‘concern’ about the lion’s health, which would deteriorate if there was no food.

Suddenly, the crow fell at the feet of the lion and said, “O King, I offer myself to thee. I pray that you eat this small body of mine and satisfy your hunger.” The jackal immediately followed. He pushed the crow aside with his paw and a disgusted look on his face. “What do you think you brat?!! Do you think the king can even satisfy his hunger for a day by eating your puny body??? Eat me, O king. I offer thee my flesh, bone and skin.” The lion was wondering as to what was happening. The camel too, thought that when both the jackal and crow were offering sacrifices, he should also do so to show his loyalty. Moreover, the lion would not eat his friends.

So he fell flat in front of the lion and said, “O king, you have given me asylum in this hostile jungle and what more is there to offer to you than my body?? How will your hunger be satiated by eating a skinny jackal? Therefore, please eat me, O king” and he closed his eyes. Little did he know that it would be the last time he would do so.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrraaaar.” There was a deafening roar and the next second, the camel’s neck had been torn apart. The lion and the cunning duo feasted on the camel till all that remained were the bones.

sdgbseth

 

Thus, the camel learnt the hard way that friends must always be chosen with care.

The Story of the Syamantaka Gem

The story of the Syamantaka Gem is from the Srimad Bhagavatham which again contains a lot of stories on the life of Lord Krishna.

In Dwaraka, there lived a Yadava nobleman by name Satrajit. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Surya and propitiated Lord Surya regularly with great devotion. One day Lord Surya was overwhelmed with Satrajit’s devotion that He appeared in person to him in a dazzling form and gifted Satrajit with the jewel He was wearing.  The gem was none other than the SYAMANTAKA GEM. This Gem was supposed to be a force to ward off natural calamities and keep the owner very prosperous. Everyday in the morning the Gem produced lots of Gold coins. Satrajit was very happy and kept the Gem with great devotion in his altar and worshipped it. He would distribute the gold coins everyday to the needy and thus everyone was becoming prosperous.

Lord Krishna who also lived in Dwaraka came to know of the Gem and thought that such a treasure would be safer in the hands of the king. He also felt that it was only proper for wealth to be in the custody and command of the king of the place. So he asked  Satrajit to keep the gem in the custody of the king. Satrajit was not willing and felt that it was not Krishna’s business. Lord Krishna left it at that.

Now, Satrajit had a brother by name Prasenjit who was very fond of hunting. One day, Prasenjit, while going for hunting wanted to wear the Gem on his person. Satrajit gladly gave it to him. Prasenjit hung the gem as a pendant in his chain and went to the forest. While hunting in the forest, he had an encounter with a lion and died. The lion was enchanted by the Gem that it pulled it along with the chain and was carrying the same, when it came face to face with Jambavan. Jambavan was the mighty bear who had helped Lord Rama in the previous Yuga, while Rama went to recover Seetha from the clutches of Ravana who had carried her there. After the period of Lord Rama, Jambavan who has the gift of being a Chiranjeevi, (that is to live for ever) was living in one of the caves in the forest there with his extended family. Jambavan, when he saw the Gem with the chain being carried by the lion, was so fascinated with the dazzle of the gem that he struck the lion dead and carried the jewel to his cave. The little bears in his cave, his children and grandchildren were equally fascinated by the gem and they took it as a toy.

Days passed and Prasenjit did not return to the palace. A search team was sent to the forest but they returned empty handed. Satrajit was worried. He started suspecting Lord Krishna of kidnapping and killing his brother as Krishna had shown interest in the Gem. Lord Krishna was deeply perturbed when he heard about Satrajit’s thinking. He was determined to find Prasenjit and the Gem.

Krishna took about ten people and went into the forest. After a few days, they found Prasenjit’s body but with the Gem missing. They also found the pug marks of a lion. They followed the pug marks and at a distance, found the dead body of the lion. It appeared that the lion had been hit by an animal with sharp claws. And then they noticed the marks of the bear. They started following the marks of the bear’s paws and it led them to a huge cave at a distance. Krishna surveyed the cave from outside and told his team to wait under a tree while he went inside.

Slowly and stealthily, Krishna entered the cave, when he saw a little bear toying with the Syamantaka Gem at the entrance. He had to get the gem without disturbing the bear. Such thoughts racing in his mind, he waited behind a crevice near the entrance in the cave till the little bear turned aside. Just as he was about to pick up the gem which lay on the ground, the little bear turned around and gave out a startled grunt. Hearing the grunt, Jambavan rushed out  from inside. He was completely shocked at the stranger in his cave and without even talking to him, came to attack him. Lord Krishna was ready and took him on. First they fought with knives, then with stones. Then they uprooted trees and fought. “This stranger is so strong”, thought Jambavan and decided to wrestle barehanded with him. Krishna was ever ready and the fight lasted for over ten days. The people outside was worried as Lord Krishna had not returned yet.

Jambavan started worrying. Nobody had fought with him so tirelessly and who was this stranger with so much strength? It was then that Lord Krishna appeared to Jambavan as Lord Rama. “Alas!! what have I done” thought Jambavan as he fell flat at the Lotus feet of his Lord. He was filled with deep remorse as he started worshipping Lord Krishna repenting all the while at his thoughtless fight. He enquired on Lord Krishna’s mission and gave him the Syamantaka Gem and honoured the Lord with a variety of fruits and delicacies. He also requested the Lord that his daughter be accepted as a wife by the Lord and so Jambavati was married to the Lord. On the touch of Lord Krishna, the bear Jambavati was transformed into a beautiful lady.

Krishna returned to the town with his retinue, the Gem and Jambavati. He gave back the Gem to Satrajit and informed him of Prasenjit’s death. Satrajit was truly ashamed of having suspected Lord Krishna and as a token of gratitude to the Lord offered the hand of his daughter Satyabhama to the Lord and so, the Lord married Satyabhama.

This is the story of the Syamantaka Gem.

It is said that Lord Krishna had looked at the moon on a Chaturthi day , and it is because of that he suffered this blame. This is linked to the story where Ganesha curses the moon for mocking at his figure and said that whoever saw the moon on a chaturthi day would have to undergo sufferings and blame!

Birbal and the Magic Sticks

We have all heard of Raja Birbal who entertained Emperor Akbar with his wit and wisdom. He not only entertained the emperor but also solved the problems of many of his friends with his wisdom.The following is one such story.

One of Birbal’s friends by name Chamanlal had a problem. One of the Ivory showpieces in his house went suddenly missing. Chamanlal was very upset as the piece was a family heirloom and had been in the family’s possession for over two hundred years and also it was a very costly piece. In those days people were not aware of animal cruelty and used to display Ivory as a mark of their social status.

Chamanlal had seven servants and all of them looked innocent and denied a role in the missing ivory case. Chamanlal thought for a while and went out to take a stroll. At the end of the road he met Birbal who immediately sensed that there was something wrong. He coaxed Chamanlal to tell him and Chaman went on to tell him about the missing ivory piece and that there was no proof or evidence as to who had a hand in it. Birbal told Chaman not to worry. He told Chaman that he would visit him in the evening.

As promised, Raja Birbal came to Chamanlal’s house in the evening. He was carrying seven sticks of approximately one foot length each. He asked Chamanlal to call out the servants and there were all of them: Raju, Suresh, Mahesh, Ramesh, Lalloo, Changoo and Bittoo. Birbal handed them one stick each and told them, “These are magical sticks. Keep them with you and tomorrow when I come back, the stick of the person who has stolen the ivory would have become one inch longer. See you tomorrow”.And Birbal left.

The next day, as promised, Birbal came back to Chamanlal’s house and asked for the sticks. As each one handed over the stick, Birbal measured them. Just as Lalloo gave his stick, Birbal said, “Chaman, here is your thief!” Lalloo immediately cried confessing his guilt and fell at the feet of Chamanlal. He brought out the ivory show piece from where he had hidden it. Chamanlal dismissed Lalloo from his service and then asked Birbal “Raja Birbal, I never knew you know magic also. How did you get the magic sticks?” Birbal replied, “I do not know magic my dear friend, the sticks are normal sticks” Chaman said “But…but… how did the length….?” Birbal replied, “The length did not increase as I told them. Lalloo was afraid that the stick would grow one inch longer and had cut the stick in the night by one inch so that if it grew, it would still be of the same length. Ha ha ha…..”

Chamanlal and his family marvelled at Birbal’s intelligence and thanked Birbal wholeheartedly. Emperor Akbar too heard of the incident and praised him.

The Cunning Stork and the Wise Crab

This is a story from the Panchatantra.

In olden days, there lived a stork in a large pond in a village. The stork was very happy as he had plenty of fish to hunt about and also other varieties like frogs and crabs.

As the years went by, the stork became very weak and old and was no longer as agile as he used to be and the young fishes were very fast that he could not hunt like before and even had to starve on some days. The stork was worried and he racked his brains until he found a cunning plan to provide himself ample food. So, the next day, he went near the bank of the pond and simply stood on one leg putting on a very sad expression. He did not even attempt to catch the fish which went near him to tease him. The fish and other creatures were surprised and slowly the oldest frog went near the stork bravely and asked him why he was so sad and forlorn.The stork pretended not to hear and after continuous pestering by the frog said with a deep sigh,” Hmmmm, I do not have words to tell about the grief which is going to befall all of us. In the next month, the king has ordered this pond to be closed with mud and made into a field and the king is going to deepen a pond which is already there in the other corner of this village. I am so sad at the fate that will meet you fellows. Hmmmm….”

The word quickly spread to all the fish and frogs and crabs that their fate was going to be sealed in a few days. All the innocent creatures believed the stork and the next day, the frog went again to the stork and said “Brother Stork, how can we save ourselves from death?” The stork pretended to think for a long time. He hummed and hawed and finally said “I know the way to the other pond I told you about. If you want I can carry you in my beak in batches and leave you in the other pond. But I need rest in between as I am very old. I can carry you fellows every alternate day if it is Ok for you. ” The frog and fishes and crabs were relieved. How nice of the stork to help them like this in time of crisis. They readily agreed for this and every other day the stork would carry four or five fishes in his beak and leave the pond. When he came back for another batch he would say how the fish were so… happy in the new pond. What actually was happening was that the stork was carrying the fish to a rock and eating them up happily. This went on for some time and one day the big wise crab felt that it was his turn and so the stork also felt that  he wanted to eat crab meat for a change. He decided that he would eat the crab alone that day as he was big and fat and therefore told the crab to clutch to his neck with his claws. The crab did so and when they were half way through, the crab asked the stork on the whereabouts of the new pond. To his surprise the Stork laughed aloud and said ” New Pond?? What rubbish? No Pond, only dinner for me. See the rock down there. That is my dining table Ha ha Ha ha haa!!” The crab was shocked . What he saw on the rock were the bones of all the fishes the stork had carried all those days. The crab could see his fate and quickly he thought and what did he do? He tightened his clutch on the stork’s neck till the stork fell down dead. The crab traced his way back slowly to the pond and told the fishes and frogs of his adventure. They felt sorry for their friend fishes who were dead but nevertheless happy that they could live without a worry in the same pond.

They all lived happily ever after.

Tit for Tat

In a small town in Northern India, there was this Mithaiwala- a seller of sweetmeats. His name was Sonu bhai but he was called Lalchibhai by the people of the town as he was a very very greedy person.. His sweets were extremely tasty and made with good ingredients but Lalchibhai was more and more greedy for money. He started charging higher and higher for his sweets. The height of his greed was that he started charging even for enquiries if one did not buy anything. His shop was the only one in town and so the people were really annoyed at his attitude.

One day a simple looking but smart fellow by name Sanka from the neighbouring town came to this town to visit his uncle. In the evening, while returning to his town, he wanted to get some sweets. He asked his uncle, who told him of Lalchibhai’s greed and told him it is better not to buy anything at all than to go to Lalchibhai’s shop. This made Sanka all the more determined to teach Lalchibhai a lesson. So he went to the shop . Before he could open his mouth Lalchi announced “Ahem.. I think you are new here. Even if you enquire the price and not buy you have to pay. So do not waste my time OK??” Sanka was a bit shocked at this attitude but quietly he began to smell the aroma muttering to himself, “Wah Wah!! What nice scent of Gulab!! The aroma of honey is lifting me up Wah Wah”. He went near each plate of sweets, smelling the aroma and commenting nice words. Lalchi was hopeful that after all the smelling the customer would buy kilos of his sweets, but hey what was this? Sanka was preparing to leave!!

“Hello, Hello… Hey you Stop!” yelled Lalchi. Sanka turned and looked around and asked very innocently, “Arre Saab you called me??” “Yes YOU. What do you think you are doing hmmm? Where is the money ha? Are you trying to cheat me?” yelled Lalchi.

“Money?? What money? I did not buy anything nor did I enquire with you any price. So what money are you talking about?” said Sanka.

Lalchi got all the more angry and said “YOU SMELT THE AROMA OF MY SWEETS AND THAT IS EQUAL TO EATING THEM. NOW PAY THE MONEY AND LEAVE”
Sanka looked around coolly and took out a bag of coins from his pocket. Lalchi was happy. Here was going to be a windfall. Ha. But to his dismay, Sanka took the bag and shook it. Jingle Jingle Jingle…..Tinkle tinkle. Jingle tinkle…”Enough” he asked. Lalchi said “Give me the bag You!!”
Sanka coolly put the bag back into his pocket and said “If smelling the sweet is equal to eating, then listening to the jingle of coins is equal to receiving them. Bubbye. See you!” and walked away.

That insult was enough for Lalchi to become a wiser fellow.

The hermit and the miser

This is a story I heard on radio this morning. Thought it was nice enough to share. My own additions are there to the story!

Once upon a time, in a village in Central India, there was a very wealthy land owner named Dhanlal, who was extremely miserly. He was so.. so miserly that he used to eat just one item a day like rice on one day, dal on another day, vegetables on one day and so on as it would be very ‘costly’ to eat all dishes on the same day. The whole day time he spent in counting the money he hoarded. His family members were a distressed lot as they also were subjected to the torture of one dish a day.

One day as Dhanlal was counting the coins, there was a sadhu going on his way singing bhajans , stopping in front of each house in the village. In olden days the practice of feeding sadhus or needy people was common and the sadhus used to enlighten the public with their spiritual talks and stories in return.

The sadhu stood in front of Dhanlal’s house and sang a song on earning merit by helping the needy. The song was about how the quality of charity was essential to get Moksha or salvation. Dhanlal was hearing the song all the while counting his coins but did not move an inch. But somehow, the song kept ringing in his ears and he knew he had to do some charity to get salvation.

He spent two or three days in calculating how much he would lose if he spent a certain quantity of rice in alms everyday to a few needy people. Then he decided that he would give one fistful – just one fistful of rice to one person everyday. He would not lose much at the same time he would qualify for salvation.

He started his “charity”. He was particular that the same fellow should not get the rice everyday lest he become “rich”. One fistful a day went on for a month or so. The sadhu who had sung the song was camping near the banyan tree on the river bank on the other end of the village. Dhanlal wanted to go and meet him.
So he went and met the sadhu and told him how he was influenced by his song and how he had started being very charitable by donating a FISTFUL OF RICE EVERY DAY.

The sadhu did not utter a word. He signalled to Dhanlal to wait and went and sat under the banyan tree. He did something like gnawing at the roots of the tree with his nails and Dhanlal did not understand what he was doing. Dhanlal waited and waited and waited for three hours. He got very impatient. He wanted to check the status of his salvation efforts and go back and count his coins and here was this sadhu doing some useless thing making him wait.

Dhanlal called out “Swamiji, Can you please talk to me for a moment and then do what you are doing?” The sadhu said “Beta wait for sometime. I shall come as soon as I cut the roots of this tree with my nails. It wont be long”

Dhanlal was amused. He did not imagine that the sadhu was so silly. He laughed out aloud and said , “Swamiji do you know how many hundred years it will take to cut such heavy roots with your nails?? Ha ha ha ….” The sadhu coolly replied “Only that many number of years it will take as it will take for your salvation with half heartedly donating one fistful of rice a day!”

Dhanlal immediately realised his folly and fell at the feet of the sadhu who had with his simple action made him realise his mistake. Dhanlal turned a new leaf much to the happiness of his family members and the villagers and it is said that he became to be called “Daanlaal” from “Dhanlal”!!!

Help the needy in times of need and be happy like Daanlaal.

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