Once upon a time there lived a man by name Ramaiah in Andhra who had a servant by name Kuppan. Kuppan was a very clever and shrewd fellow.
One day, his master brought home two ripe big mangoes. They had a heavenly aroma and Kuppan was attracted to them. His master told him, “Kuppan, my friend Sarma is coming for lunch tomorrow. Prepare good dishes and also cut these two mangoes for lunch tomorrow.” Kuppan nodded his head and took the mangoes and went in. He could not stop drooling at the thought of the sweet mangoes.
Ramaiah’s family had gone to the neighbouring town for a festival. At night, after his master had slept, Kuppan stealthily cut one mango and tasted it. Mmmmmmm… It tasted heavenly. He could not stop helping himself to the whole mango. After licking away the last bits of the mango, Kuppan decided he would not let go of the other mango and he thought of a plan.
Accordingly, the next day, Kuppan, took the mango and hid it inside his bag to eat it later. It was nearing lunch time and Kuppan knew that Sarma would be coming in a short while. He looked out from the kitchen window and could see Sarma walking slowly from the end of the long street.
Ramaiah was sitting in the hall reading something. Kuppan suddenly rushed in and said, “Master, master, you told me to cut the mangoes for your friend. But.. but the knife, master…. the knife is so blunt… oh.. I don’t know what to do now…” He stood restlessly with a blunt rusty knife in his hand. The master looked up, thought for a moment, and then said, “OK, you go and arrange the dishes, I shall sharpen the knife on the stone in the garden. Give it”. He took the knife and went to the garden behind the house and started to sharpen the knife. Just as he started sharpening, Sarma entered the house.
Kuppan rushed to the entrance and welcomed him. Sarma looked around puzzled why the host wasn’t there. Kuppan said in a hushed voice, “Sir, I should not be telling you this” and he looked around as if to see that the master was not there. Sarma was even more puzzled and asked, “Why, what is the matter, tell me”. Kuppan lowering his voice even further said, “Sir, My master’s behaviour has become very weird these days. He tries to chop off the ears of his guests. Even yesterday, two people came and luckily ran away before my master could chop off their ears”.
Sarma looked at him with disbelief. Kuppan continued, “Sir, you do not believe me is it not? Come, see for yourself from the window”. Sarma went and peered from the kitchen window and he saw Ramaiah feverishly sharpening the knife and was startled. He turned to Kuppan and said, “Thank you my friend, I will not wait even for a moment” and he started to walk out of the house fast. Just as he went out of the gate Ramaiah came in and asked Kuppan who had gone out of the gate just then.
Kuppan, with an innocent look said, “Master, your friend Sarma came and saw the two mangoes I had kept out for cutting. He wanted both for himself and when I restrained him from taking them, he just picked them up and walked away. I told him to leave at least one for you to taste as their aroma was heavenly, but Sir… he did not even listen!” Ramaiah said, “ He could have left at least one for me, what arrogance!” and went out of the house calling out loudly, “Sarma… Sarma…” Sarma who was at the far end of the street turned back, saw Ramaiah with the knife in one hand and started running, holding his bag which had his purse, close to his chest. Ramaiah had forgotten to give the knife to Kuppan.
Ramaiah now thought that what Kuppan said was really true and shouted, “Arre Sarma, I do not need two, at least give me one!” Sarma also thought that what Kuppan had told was true and ran away fast , fast and faster thinking that Ramaiah wanted at least one of his ears!!!. He was never seen again in Ramaiah’s locality.
As for Kuppan, he happily ate the second mango also to his heart’s content.