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

Tag: minister

Crows and Owls

This is a story from the Panchatantra about the Crows and Owls.

Long long ago in the forests of Central India there was a huge banyan tree in a place called Mahilaropya, on which a whole colony of crows lived. Their king’s name was Meghavarna. The crows had only one grievance that a pack of owls that lived in a cave on a mountain nearby had made it their habit to come in the nights and attack any crow that was sighted outside the tree. The king of the owls was Arimardana and he with his cunning army derived sadistic pleasure in simply attacking the crows which were sighted out of the tree every night.

Meghavarna was sad at losing his flock slowly like this. As a wise saying goes, anyone who neglects an enemy or disease perishes and knowing this, Meghavarna called a meeting of his senior counsel of six crows one day and asked them what should be done. “This menace is growing day by day” said he. “Tell me O wise ministers of mine, what should I do?”

The first minister suggested that compromise with the enemy was the best policy. It would allow them time to build up their resources and thereafter attack the enemy. “Bend to the enemy when he is strong; attack him when he is vulnerable. Don’t wage a war if it doesn’t bring Power, or wealth or friendship,” said he.

The second minister completely disagreed with the first and suggested that trickery would be the wisest thing to do.“Never accept peace with an enemy who is not just, for, he will break his word and stab you in the back” said he. He went on to quote the story of How Bheema killed Keechaka through trickery in the Mahabharata. He went on to say that enemies like the owls who were blinded by anger would refuse to see peace.

Meghavarna looked at his third minister who said, “My Lord, both compromise and trickery will not work out with the owls, our enemies as they are strong and wicked. The best way I feel is to go away from here on exile and wait for a long time and strike back.” He went on, “Neither peace nor bravado can subdue a strong enemy, where these two do not work flight is the best alternative.”

The fourth minister opposed all these ideas and said they should all stay in their own place and mobilize support and then attack the enemy.“A king who flees is like a cobra without fangs. A crocodile in water can haul an elephant.” He quoted this advice and said that when a crocodile goes to the land it loses all its strength and can be even chased by a dog whereas if it stayed in water it could pull in even an elephant. “So it is best to stay where we are and mobilize support instead of going on exile”.

The fifth minister agreed fully with the fourth minister and said that this was the best strategy.

Meghavarna looked at his sixth minister Sthirajeevi by name and Sthirajeevi said, “You have to practice duplicity my Lord!” Meghavarna looked puzzled as Sthirajeevi continued, “The best thing would be to gather information about our enemies, somehow befriend them and divide their clan and gradually finish them off!”

“But who will do this?” asked a startled Meghavarna. “I Will” said Sthirajeevi, and as he suddenly caught sight of a lone owl on a distant tree, whispered, “Now, in front of everyone, abuse me and peck me as if pecking me to death. The friend sitting on a tree far away will tell his king that we have fallen out with each other and I will remain here till they come in the night. I will earn their sympathy and find out about them. All of you exile to the Rishyamuka Hills and I shall meet you there later on. Come on, pounce on me, quick”

Meghavarna pounced at Sthirajeevi hurling abuses at him and started pecking him hard. All the other crows thought it was a real fight and they also started to attack Sthirajeevi when Meghavarna said aloud, “Enough my friends, Let him learn a lesson, I shall come in the morning and finish him” and they all flew away.

It was already late evening and the owls had started to come out when the lone owl went and reported what he saw, to Arimardana. Arimardana was delighted that there was a divide amongst the crows and he gave a blood curling hoot “Whoooooooa”   and flew with his ministers hoping to attack all the crows. But to their utter surprise there were no crows on the banyan tree. All they could hear was a moaning “Caw.. Caw…” from somewhere on the ground. They looked around and found Sthirajeevi. “Attack him,” cried one of the ministers of Arimardana. He was Rakthaksha, the most shrewd and cunning minister of Arimardana.

“I want to convey something to your king before you kill me,” moaned Sthirajeevi in a feeble voice. “Take me to your king.”

Arimardana came in front. “I am the king,” said he. “Who are you?”

“I am Sthirajeevi, Meghavarna’s minister. I am reduced to this state as I fought for your sake with my king.” Arimardana looked at Sthirajeevi puzzled as he continued, “I advised my king to surrender to you as I know that you owls are very powerful. But my king not only ignored my advice but attacked me left and right, leaving me here to die. Please give succour and I shall show you where the crows are once I recover.”

“Finish him my lord, with no second thought,” said Rakthaksha, “There can be nothing more foolish than pampering your enemy. Kill him in one stroke.” Arimardana looked at his second minister, Deepaksha. “I don’t agree with what Rakthaksha said. If anybody seeks a truce, he should be honoured.” said Deepaksha.

The third minister Kruraksha also agreed with Deepaksha. “Anybody seeking asylum, even if an enemy should be given succour.”

Arimardana looked at his two other ministers, Vakranasa and Prakarakarna.

Both of them said in unison, “It is indeed wise to grant asylum to this enemy of ours as he will help us in finishing their clan. We agree with Kruraksha and Deepaksha.

“So be it” said Arimardana, “take him to our fortress”, and he flew leading the group. Rakthaksha was fuming with anger at his king’s foolishness and Sthirajeevi was very happy that his plan was working well, but he pretended to be writhing in pain due to the injuries ‘inflicted’ by his flock. He also flew behind the owls. When they reached the mountain where the cave was, Arimardana said to Sthirajeevi, “ Respected Sir, Please honour me by accepting this as your home. Please stay with us inside the cave and make yourself comfortable.” Sthirajeevi replied, “O King! Thank you for your grace. I shall stay outside the cave as I am a humble servant of yours from today and I shall discharge my duties faithfully.” Seeing this fake act of Sthirajeevi, Rakthaksha was seething with anger.

True to his words, Sthirajeevi stayed outside the cave, moaning and groaning as if in great pain. Arimardana believed that Sthirajeevi was recovering very slowly and arranged to feed him with whatever they hunted at night. Sthirajeevi happily ate the food while Rakthaksha was more and more incensed day by day at this drama being enacted by Sthirajeevi.

Finally Rakthaksha could take it no more and one day, he with some of his faithful friends, told the king Arimardana that he was not willing to stay at a place where his advice was not heeded. He told him the story of the Talking Cave wherein one survives if he anticipates and averts danger. He also told the king that encouraging Sthirajeevi, would lead to the end of the owl clan and quoted the saying, “Vinaasha kale vipareetha buddhi” which meant that as one’s destruction time comes, one thinks unintelligently or the thinking becomes warped. Saying thus, Rakthaksha and his friends flew away without looking back.

Sthirajeevi was extremely happy as the one impediment in his plan had also been removed without much effort. After a few days, Sthirajeevi started bringing twigs of all sizes and putting it near the narrow entrance of the cave. To the puzzled look of the owls he gave a reply that he was building a nest for himself. The collection of twigs grew by the day and the owls were so foolish not to even notice or think that a crow would need so many twigs for a small nest.

When there were enough twigs to make a fire, Sthirajeevi, at dawn one day, flew to the Rishyamuka hills where his friends were and told them, “Come on friends, each of you pick a burning twig and fly fast with me” Accordingly, each of them picked a burning twig from the brick kilns which were being fired in the country side and flew fast with Sthirajeevi.

The owls had just returned from their night hunt and were in deep slumber. Sthirajeevi flew near the cave and dropped the burning twig on the mound of twigs collected by him. “All of you do the same,” he ordered. All the crows dropped the burning twigs as Sthirajeevi said and the mound of twigs caught fire rapidly and before the owls could realise it, they were done to death by the choking smoke.

Sthirajeevi and his friends with King Meghavarna, returned to their old Banyan tree where Meghavarna praised Sthirajeevi for being persistent in his efforts of decimating the enemy, even in the face of difficulties. He quoted the scriptures which said “It is dangerous to leave a fire unextinguished, a debt unredeemed, an enemy uncrushed and a disease untreated.”

Sthirajeevi blessed Meghavarna to rule for a long time with all virtue and gain the blessings of God. And then, the crows started living peacefully.

Birbal Cooks Khichdi!

Once Emperor Akbar had gone on a hunting expedition. It was the peak winter season and late in the evening, Akbar wanted to have a wash, after a tiring day. He went to the nearby river and when he tried to take the water, it was ice cold. Akbar was very surprised that the water should be so chill that he could not bear it even for the few seconds when he put his hand in. He made a casual remark, saying, “I bet nobody would have a dip in this cold water even if I give them one thousand gold coins!!” Birbal, who was present there immediately retorted, “No Jahanpanah, I can bring you a person who will even stay chest deep in this cold water through the night for getting thousand gold coins. Money is very powerful!” Akbar looked at him amused, and asked him to bring the person, the next day to court.

Birbal, obeyed the order and the very next day, brought a young , but poor man, to the court and the Emperor asked him whether he would stand in the river bare bodied in chest deep water through the night, if he was given a thousand gold coins. The man nodded his head vigorously and said that he will do it the same night. Akbar ordered the man to be taken to the river along with two bodyguards and told the guards to keep a watch over him while he stood through the night bare bodied in chest deep water. The man was taken accordingly and he stood in the river shivering through the night but did not give up. As the sun came up in the morning, the man went home.

Later, in the day, eager to claim his award, the man came to the court to meet the Emperor. “Hmmm…. So.. you stayed in the cold water throughout the night huh?” thundered Akbar. “Yes, Jahanpanah” replied the man meekly, “I stood throughout the night in the water.”

“Did you not feel cold at all?”

“I did… Jahanpanah.”

“How did you spend the night without sleeping?”

“Jahanpanah, there was a street light two hundred metres away and I kept staring at it to keep myself awake…”

“Well, you have earned your reward” said Akbar and called his minister to get the bag of gold coins as promised.

Just then, a voice was heard, “Salaam Jahanpanah! ” The voice belonged to one of the courtiers who was always jealous of people who got rewards from the king. “Excuse me” he continued. “Your Highness is an epitome of justice and your judgement is always impeccable, but now….”

Akbar looked at him questioningly. The man continued “ This man has already admitted that he was staring at the street light throughout the night and is it not possible that he grasped the warmth of the light ? Then how could he claim that he spent the entire night freezing in the cold water?”

Akbar considered this view point and shrugged his shoulders. “ It seems what my courtier says may be true. I don’t think I can give this reward to you.” The poor man face fell as he heard the words of the Emperor . He stood sadly for a moment and left the palace, without a word, his face really downcast. Birbal, was watching the entire proceedings and was shocked by this behaviour of Akbar and he also knew about the attitude of the courtier. He mentally made up his mind to see that justice was done to the poor man, but left the court silently.

A few days later, Birbal was absent in the court. He had assiduously sent word to the King that he would come to the court after he finished cooking Khichdi which he had started that morning. The next two days also, he was absent and word came that the “Khichdi was not cooked yet.” Akbar was curious and knew that this was not an ordinary matter.

So, the next day, accompanied by the courtiers, he paid a surprise visit to Birbal’s house. He was told that Birbal was cooking Khichdi in the garden behind the house. “Strange” thought Akbar as he walked to the garden. The sight he saw there was even more strange. Birbal has planted two long poles which were connected with a rope and in the middle of the rope hung a pot and Birbal was stirring its contents standing on a high stool, with a look of impatience on his face. There was a small oil lamp on the ground beneath the pot and the distance between the lamp and the pot was approximately two metres.

Akbar and his courtiers were genuinely amused, and Akbar asked “ Birbal, What is this I hear? I was told you were cooking Khichdi and…” Before the King could complete, pat came the reply, “Yes Jahanpanah, I am cooking Khichdi for the past four days and this stupid thing is not getting cooked yet!” Akbar asked, “But Birbal, how can the food get cooked at such a height with such a small flame?” “It is not that much of a distance Jahanpanah”, said Birbal, “When a man can get warmth from a lamp two hundred metres away, there should be no problem for the heat to reach this small pot from a small distance of two metres.”

Akbar immediately saw Birbal’s point and said “Well done Birbal, I see your logic and I shall summon the poor man today itself and give him the reward he earned.”

The poor man was very thankful to Birbal and once again, Birbal proved himself to be witty as well as just.

Five Point Everything!!

In a remote village of Rajasthan, there lived a young lad by name Bhimsingh.  Bhimsingh was a hard working lad and had lost his mother at a very young age. His father had married again, but the father had also passed away recently. It was the habit of Bhimsingh’s step mother to taunt the poor lad continuously and in fact, that was the only thing he could not tolerate. So, one day, after she taunted him a lot for some minor issue, Bhimsingh decided to leave the house and seek his fortunes elsewhere. The very next morning, before the sun was up, Bhimsingh collected a couple of his clothes which were his only belongings and started to leave.

Bhimsingh had a friend and guide in an old man who was his father’s friend and guide too. Before he left the village, Bhimsingh wanted to bid good bye to the old man whom he considered as his Guru. So, when he went to meet the old man, the man advised Bhimsingh to stay back in the village as his parental house would always be the best place to live in. But Bhimsingh was very frustrated and wanted to get out of there. He told the old man to give him advice out of his experience as this was the first time he was going out of his town alone.

“If so,” said the man, “then be it, but,” he added “Wherever you are, follow the following rules and you will be blessed.” “And what are they?” asked Bhimsingh. The old man said, “Number one; always obey your master. Number two; always speak courteously to others so that they are never hurt by your words. Number three; always be honest and hardworking. Number four; never try to act equal with people of higher status than you and lastly, whenever you get an opportunity to listen to good teachings by any one, spend some time to listen to them and register it in your mind. If you remember all these, you will be always well, wherever you are. God Bless!!”

Bhimsingh took leave of his Guru and walked for a long distance and just before night fall, he reached the city where the King’s palace was situated. He sauntered into the market and was fascinated by the large shops selling various items from grains to vegetables, clothes to toys and all things he could imagine. He saw a tall man standing outside a shop selling grains. Bhimsingh went up to him and introduced himself and asked him for a job. The vendor looked at him from head to toe and thought for a while. Then he said, “Hmmm… You are well built, tall and sturdy. Unfortunately, I do not have any job for you, but yes, the Minister, who is my friend, has just dismissed his personal assistant only today and he wanted a replacement. Why don’t you go to him, huh? Go and tell him that I sent you.” And then, the vendor told him the directions to reach the minister’s house.

Bhimsingh was very glad and went to the minister’s house. He got the job immediately and was given a place to stay too with a decent salary and food. Bhimsingh was very very happy and settled down to his new routine. All was going on well. One day the King decided to go on a hunting expedition. Some ministers along with their assistants and soldiers, with lots of elephants and camels made their way to the forest which was a long way ahead. Bhimsingh was also in the group accompanying his master, the minister. At dusk, they reached a village at the outskirts of the forest. The group was very thirsty. Some of soldiers went to a villager’s house and asked if they could get some water.

The villager sadly shook his head and told them that there was no source of water anywhere nearby and the nearest lake was about ten kilometres away.” We all walk every day that far to bring water” he said. “However, there is a step well in our village, but a fearful, ghostly giant lives there and anyone who goes to get water there never comes back. If any one of you is brave enough, you may go there.”

The soldiers came and informed the minister of what they heard from the villager. The minister at once looked at Bhimsingh and said, “Bhim, I think you are the fittest person to go and check whether what the villager says is true or not. Take the villager along and take a couple of pots and go to the well and get us all some water as it is not possible for us to walk ten kilometres more.” Bhimsingh at once remembered the first advice of his Guru -“Always obey your master!”

“Ok Sir”, he said without saying a word of protest and off he was, carrying four pots on a horseback, the old villager accompanying him. After some distance, the villager pointed out to the step well some distance away and excused himself and hurried back. Bhimsingh got down from his horse and looked around. The well was eerie looking alright with no habitation nearby and a huge tree with lots of thorny plants and overgrowth of creepers hanging over wall of the well, hiding the little bit of sunlight there was. Praying to God, Bhimsingh stepped into the well and started climbing down. There was no evidence of any one around. He reached the bottom and saw crystal clear water. He cupped his hands and took the cool water and splashed over his face and drank some. It was so…. refreshing. Just then, there was a huge shadow above and a booming voice was heard.

Bhimsingh looked up to see a fearful sight. There was a Giant hovering around above him. The Giant had no legs and in his hand he held a skeleton. The skeleton was wrapped in a piece of cloth which seemed to be the remnant of a saree. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?????” boomed the Giant. Bhimsingh answered politely about his mission. The Giant was impatient. He said pointing at the skeleton, “Look at my wife. Isn’t she beautiful? Everyone says she looks awful ….” Saying thus, the giant broke into sobs. It appeared that the Giant’s wife was dead long back and the Giant was apparently very fond of her that he was carrying her skeleton all the time. Then once again, he boomed, “You tell me. Is she beautiful or NOT????”

Bhimsingh remembered the next advice, that he should not hurt others with his words and so he said, “Yes Sire, she is as beautiful as the moon!!” To his surprise, the Giant was so happy and said, “You are the first person who has made me happy. What do you want? I promise to grant you what you want. Do you want me to show you the dead Kings’ treasures hahahahahahaha………..” His booming laughter resonated so loudly that Bhimsingh almost slipped into the water. Then he realised that the Giant was actually offering him a deal!

Bhimsingh politely told the Giant that all he wanted was that the Giant should leave this well and go away to some other place. The Giant gladly agreed and before leaving picked the pots Bhimsingh was carrying and kept the four filled pots outside the well in a jiffy. With a Swoooosh, he left the place with the skeleton. Bhimsingh went back with the water as if nothing had happened and told the minister that there was plenty of water in the well and they could use the same. He did not mention anything about the Giant. The whole retinue was happy to have sweet cold water and the King was especially pleased at the attitude of Bhimsingh and told the minister that he was interested in hiring Bhimsingh as his personal assistant.

Now, Bhimsingh was the King’s personal assistant and was doing his duty always keeping advice number three in mind, to be honest and hardworking. The King was very much impressed by Bhimsingh’s sincerity and began to give him all the important tasks. Bhimsingh was also happy and was also made a part of the King’s security guards to be with him always.

The King had a wicked cousin brother who wanted to kill the King and usurp the Kingdom.  He kept planning in many ways, but due to the presence of Bhimsingh could not do anything. So he slowly became friendly with Bhimsingh and kept flattering him always. One day he offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to Bhimsingh. Bhimsingh remembered the fourth advice of the Guru and politely refused the offer telling the prince that he was not equal to them in status and hence would always prefer to be submissive.

The prince was very enraged that this plan to lure Bhimsingh did not work out and so, in a rare moment, on a day when Bhimsingh was not well and could not come for duty, slowly poisoned the mind of the King saying that Bhimsingh was really planning to kill the King and that his spies told him that he was meeting someone in the neighbouring Kingdom often to plan his strategy. The King did not believe this but the prince had bribed two ministers also to concur with his version and when the two ministers also echoed the prince’s ‘theory’, the King started suspecting Bhimsingh. The prince told the King that there should not be any delay in executing Bhimsingh and also suggested a plan for the same.

Accordingly, the King summoned the contractor who was building his new fort at the farther end of the city and told him that he should chop off the head of the person who would come the next day and ask him, “Is the work  finished yet? How much longer will it take?” The body should be buried and the head brought and shown to him. The contractor found this order very strange but if the King ordered something no questions were to be asked!

The next day, the King summoned Bhimsingh and told him to go to the new fort that was being built and ask the contractor, whether the work was finished yet and how much longer was it going to take. Bhimsingh, as usual truly and sincerely believing the King took his horse and was riding his way to the fort. On the way, while passing the Kali temple, he saw that there was a discourse going on in the lawn of the temple on “the good qualities a human being should inculcate”. Bhimsingh remembered the fifth advice of his Guru and thought he would just spend half an hour listening to the discourse and thereafter continue with his mission. The discourse was so absorbing that Bhimsingh forgot about his mission and stayed on for a full three hours there.

In the meanwhile, the wicked prince was getting increasingly impatient as he had not got news of the death of Bhimsingh. “I shall go and see for myself!” he said to himself and wore a disguise and mounted his horse and sped away in full speed to the fort. He called for the contractor and asked him, “Is the work finished yet? How much longer will it take?” He was of course meaning the work of ‘execution’ of Bhimsingh, but to his dismay, the contractor, pulled out a sword in a flash and the next moment the prince lay dead. The contractor buried the body and was taking the head to the King.

The King in the meanwhile unable to contain his curiosity, rode himself in disguise to the fort. On the way, he saw Bhimsingh who was hurriedly mounting his horse near the temple. The King was shocked and Bhimsingh recognised the King and sought pardon. The King was hesitant to tell Bhimsingh to go to the fort and therefore told him to go back to the city and he returned to the palace, only to see the contractor waiting with the Prince’s head which he alone recognised. The King was shocked and upset but could not show his feelings and told the contractor to take the head and bury it with the body. That night, on some intuition, the King thoroughly searched the Prince’s room and found all his plans of overthrowing and killing the King written in a detailed manner with instructions to his friends on what to do after Bhimsingh’s death. The King understood the truth and felt happy that the sincere Bhimsingh was not killed. He thanked the divine intervention that saved Bhimsingh and him and made Bhimsingh his minister.

Bhimsingh married a lady of equal status and lived happily ever after. He often visited the old man, his Guru, in the village and thanked him for all his words of advice which had brought him to this position.

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.

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.

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