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

Tag: gardener

The Kingdom In A Seed

Long ago, the kingdom of Vidharbha was ruled by a just king by name Vidhyadhara. Vidhyadhara was very learned and wise and brave at the same time and so he was the perfect ruler of his country He was very much loved by all his subjects. The only grievance the people and the king had was that Vidhyadhara had no heir. The very thought that there was no successor to the king made the people and the king very sad.

Now, the king was a very avid gardener too. He took great interest in growing new species of plants and relieved his stress by spending time in his garden. He had great knowledge about various plants.

One day, Vidhyadhara called his minister and asked him to make an announcement to the public. The announcement was for a contest for the children of the kingdom. They were asked to come to the palace on a particular day.
On the given day, the gates of the palace witnessed a long queue of children waiting eagerly with their parents. Soon after, the king came out and said, “My dear subjects, as you all know, I am looking out for a successor to this throne of mine. I am now going to give you each a seed which you should plant in a pot and take very good care of. On the last Sunday of the second month from now, I would like you to bring me the pots and show me the progress and I will decide my heir accordingly.”The king then proceeded to distribute seeds of different flowering plants to each child present there. The parents and children were elated alike and all of them happily took the seed from him and went home.

Now, among the children who took the seed from him, was Suman, the son of a poor man. Suman came home and with the guidance of his father, prepared a pot with the best soil he could find and planted the seed. He poured just enough water every day and saw to it that there was enough sunlight. Weeks passed, but there was no sign of Suman’s plant growing. Suman then added some new soil and manure, but of no avail. He was deeply disappointed as the deadline was fast approaching.

On the appointed date, Suman’s father called out to him,” Suman! Are you getting ready to go to the palace? Today you have to show the pot to the king!” Suman was in tears. Sobbing, he told his father, “I…. will not… go….” On being asked why, he told his father that he could not face the king with his empty pot. Suman’s father told him, “Look my son, you have put in a lot of effort haven’t you? But the plant has not come up. You should not be disheartened. Go to the king and tell him that in spite of your efforts, the plant did not come up. At least the king will know that you made sincere efforts”

After listening to his father, Suman was not still reconciled, but could not disobey his father and so took his pot with only the soil in it and went to the palace with his father. This time again, the same long queue was there with all the children holding pots with beautiful plants, some with flowers and others with beautiful healthy leaves. Suman felt even more depressed looking at the happy children who were beaming with pride. He felt that the children were looking at him scornfully. And many of them were. Suman bent his head down in shame .

Suddenly there was a commotion and Vidhyadhara appeared from the entrance of the palace with his ministers. The children greeted him with shouts of joy. The king returned the greetings and sat on the special seat put there for him. One by one the children went to the king and showed their pots with the plants. The king did not show any emotion, but smiled at each kid as he saw the plant held by them. The kids who had shown the pots were asked to sit in the lawn nearby. Suman was the last child in the queue. Soon it was Suman’s turn.

With tears filled in his eyes and choking with grief, his head still hung, Suman slowly inched his way to the King. “Come my son”, said Vidhyadhara, as Suman came near. He lifted Suman’s chin up and asked him lovingly, “Where is the plant, my boy?” Suman could not contain his grief. “My plant did not come up your Highness”, he said, as he burst into tears. Sobbing uncontrollably, he continued, “I did everything to take good care of the seed you gave me… But… but…” and started crying loudly. The king put his arm around Suman and comforted him.He then turned around and said in a loud firm voice, “I have selected this boy to be my successor”.

The parents and other children who were waiting hopefully got up shocked at Vidhyadhara’s announcement. Vidhyadhara continued, “Yes, I have chosen this boy to be my successor. I was looking for integrity, sincerity and ability to admit failure, in my heir apparent. And this boy has it all!” The people around still could not understand what the king was saying.

Vidhyadhara continued, “I had given all the children roasted seeds on that day and asked them to bring the plant that grew out of that… and I can see that only this boy has been sincere to confess that the seed did not grow and he had the courage to admit what he thought was his failure. He is the right person to be my successor and rule this country righteously!! The seed that I gave was the seed of Integrity!”

Suman and his father could not believe their ears! It was a pleasant shock to them and now all of Suman’s wishes to study a lot and come up in life were going to come true!!

 Truth always Triumphs.
 Honesty is the best policy

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.

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