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

Tag: cotton

The Brightest Son

Wishing all my readers a Very Happy Deepavali today!!! (29/10/2016)

Once upon a time in the ancient city of Varanasi, there lived a merchant by name Somayya. He was a very shrewd merchant and made good money by being very prudent in his dealings. Somayya had three sons Ganesh, Mahesh and Ramesh. He brought them up very well giving them the best of everything.

As years rolled by, Somayya was growing older and wanted any one of his sons to take up the business so that he could retire and go for pilgrimages which was his long cherished desire. Being a very shrewd merchant and having developed his business with great care, he wanted it to be given to the son who was the cleverest of them all.

One day he called them to his room and said “Sons, I have a wish to retire from my business and go for pilgrimages with your mother. I want one of you to take up this business which I have nurtured…”

Before he could complete, Ganesh said, “Well father, I am sure I am your choice for I am the eldest and have the first right to all that is yours”

Mahesh interrupted him. “Bhaiya, all the time, either you are favoured as the eldest or Ramesh is favoured as he is the youngest. This time I am not going to let it be so. I will take up father’s business”

A worried Somayya looked at Ramesh for he expected him also to say something but Ramesh said with a smile, “Father you are the best judge. Whatever decision you take, I will abide by it”

Somayya thought for a while. He did not want to take any decision based on seniority or rights, but wanted the cleverest of them to be given the chance.

“Well sons”, he said, “I know all the three of you are honest and sincere and will do any job with utmost sincerity. But in business, sincerity and integrity alone is not enough. You need to be sharp and shrewd and be able to read between lines. So I am going to give you three a test”

The sons looked at him with curiosity wondering what the test would be.

Somayya took out fifteen gold coins and gave five coins to each of them.

“Sons” he said, “There are three rooms in our house of equal size. I am giving you each five gold coins. By the next Monday, you have to buy something by which the room can be filled up, one room for each of you. Spend carefully and buy something which will be useful from the moment you bring it home. I am going on a business visit to the nearby village and will come back after a week”. He handed over the coins, five each, to the three of them.

The next few days were spent by the sons going to the market to see which item would be good enough to buy.
After a few days, Somayya returned late at night and was eager to see what had been bought by each of the sons.

“Ganesh, show us what you have brought and how much you spent on it” asked Somayya.

Ganesh proudly took them to his room and opened the room and there were heaps and heaps of cotton wool filling up the room. The floor was very dusty due to the dust in the cotton wool.

“Father”, he said. “A man can live without food but cannot live without cloth which protects his dignity. And so I bought cotton. I had to spend all the five coins to buy enough to fill the whole room up and also to bring this to our home. This cotton can be used to make clothes”

There was no reaction on Somayya’s face as he looked at Mahesh as if asking him to show what he had bought.

Mahesh happily led them to his room and when it was opened, it was full of wheat grains. Here again, there was lot
of dust and ants.

With great pride he looked at his father. “Father, you have always taught us the importance of Annadaan or feeding the poor as it is the greatest virtue. So, I bought all this wheat so that the poor can be fed. I had also to spend all the coins you gave me since I had to transport this to our home”, he said looking at him expectantly.

There was no reaction now also. Somayya looked at Ramesh who led them to his room. “Please wait outside” said he as he went in with a small bag in hand.

A minute later, he opened the room and they all eagerly barged in. The room was empty, but spotlessly clean and at one corner was an oil lamp illuminating the whole room with its bright light. In those days there was no electricity and people used oil lamps with cotton wicks to light up the house.

“Father” said Ramesh, “You had told us to buy something which would fill up the room and would be useful from the time it is brought home. You also said we should spend carefully. Keeping all this in mind, I bought this lamp. The light has filled up the room and driven the darkness away and so it is useful right away. I spent only one coin from what you gave and I brought it back in a small bag for which money or effort was not needed. Here are the four coins remaining”. Saying so, he took the coins and gave it to Somayya.

Somayya was overjoyed by the sharp-wittedness of Ramesh. Ganesh and Mahesh were equally stunned at the shrewdness of their younger brother. He had surpassed them by his cleverness and they also realised how good a listener he was. He had listened carefully to each and every word their father had said.

Somayya spoke now. “Sons, it is not enough if you are good, sincere and honest, which you all are and I am happy about. You need to be clever and shrewd and also know to interpret in the correct manner, what is being said, if you want to be a good businessman. I was looking for these traits in my successor and Ramesh has it all. Cotton or wheat cannot be used right from the time we buy it. Moreover you have spent all the money and physically also struggled to bring that home. And now, we have to spend more money and effort in sending the cotton and wheat for processing or selling it again. Now all the three of you know who is fit to take over my business…”

“Yes father” said Ganesh. “I agree, Ramesh is the best person to take over your business. I will take up the job of writing accounts in some shop in the city. Ramesh can run your business”

“I agree too” said Mahesh. “Ramesh can take over your business and I will also seek a job in some shop for an earning”.

Both knew that Ramesh was the best suited person but they were a little disappointed in their heart of hearts.

Ramesh spoke. “Ganesh Bhaiya, Mahesh Bhaiya”, he put his hands on both of their shoulders. “You have always loved me and taken care of me. I respect you both as much as I respect our father. I will go as per father’s wishes and take over the business, but not without the able support of both of you. Ganesh Bhaiya will be the accountant in our business and Mahesh Bhaiya will support me in running the show”

“And me?” asked Somayya.

“You are our guiding light father and we will see that you and mother take ample rest after slogging for our sake all these years, visit the places you want to visit and shower us with your blessings always”

Somayya’s wife who was listening to the conversation was shedding tears of joy!

After all what more joy do parents want than seeing their children being united and happy?

Like the light that lit up Ramesh’s room, let our lives be brightened by the light of joy and happiness, with the blessings of our elders and ancestors on this Deepavali day!!

The Lazy Donkey – A folk tale

This is a folk tale but I know not from which part of India.

Once upon a time, in ancient India, there lived a merchant Ramu, who had a donkey named Bhola. Ramu was a very kind fellow who took good care of Bhola. He fed him well with green grass everyday (which many donkey owners did not do), gave enough rest and saw that Bhola’s stable was neat and clean and always had a supply of fresh water. The work was also not much. Bhola had to make just two or three trips to and from the market every day, carrying the goods to market, sometimes bringing something back, but mostly with very light load.

Though Ramu was such a kind master, Bhola was a lazy donkey. Most of the time he would pretend to struggle with the weight, though it was much less than what he could actually carry, and he would pretend so well that Ramu would feel pity for him and feed him with some carrots.

During a particular season, it happened that Ramu was trading in salt and was continuously carrying sacks of salt to the market on Bhola’s back. On the way to the market, there was a rivulet and they had to cross it every day. There was a bridge, however Ramu chose to walk through the rivulet everyday as it saved time for him and the distance was shorter under the bridge. Moreover the water was a little above ankle level and it was not difficult to walk through.

This particular day, as usual, Ramu loaded a sackful of salt on Bhola’s back and was proceeding to the market. Bhola, as usual, with a grumpy face came trudging along pretending that the sack was too heavy.
Just a little while after they entered the rivulet and crossing it, there was a small rock on the river bed that Bhola tripped and “PACHAK” he fell sack and all in the water. It was a rude shock to him and Ramu, and by the time they stabilised themselves and Bhola got up on his four legs, and Ramu retrieved the sack from the water, lot of the salt had dissolved and the sack was lighter. Bhola was pleasantly surprised, but still pretended to be under pressure.

The next day, there was again salt to be carried and today, while crossing the rivulet, Bhola intentionally pretended tripping and fell down. Today also the weight became lesser.

“Aha” thought Bhola, “At last I have learnt to be smart and carry much less load than I can!! Master is foolish, he believes I am really not well and tripping and falling down!!” He smiled to himself in glee. He started doing it again and again for few days in a row.

But Ramu started thinking otherwise. “How can a donkey fall every day in the same place?” He also noticed the eagerness of Bhola to reach the rivulet fast. Finally, he understood that Bhola was doing this on purpose. He also realised that Bhola needed some punishment to get him rid of his attitude.

The next day, as usual, a sack was loaded on Bhola’s back and it was lighter than usual. Bhola was even happier. “As it is, it is light,” he thought. “After I fall down, it will be even lighter”. Chuckling to himself, he eagerly started his journey. When the ‘falling spot’ came, he fell down as usual. The sack did not sink quickly, like other days and sank slowly. Ramu was also not in a hurry to retrieve the sack. This puzzled Bhola.

Then, Ramu retrieved the sack and with great difficulty put it on Bhola’s back. The sack was not containing salt, but had been stuffed with cotton and cotton had absorbed lot of water.

To his horror, Bhola found the sack ten times heavier. Further, Ramu’s face was red with anger, something Bhola had never witnessed before. And to add to his woes, Ramu took out a stick which he had hidden on his back inside the shirt.

“Come on you donkey” he shouted as he gave a sharp beating with the stick. Bhola brayed in pain. Ramu had always addressed him by name and never had he wielded a stick. “Hmm.. move fast and if you still want to pretend, here is what you will get!” Saying so, he gave another blow with the stick.

Bhola was aghast at this rapid change but he learnt his lesson that laziness does not pay and one cannot deceive others for long…..

I need not say how Bhola behaved from the next day. Yes, he was one of the best donkeys.

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