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

Tag: wit

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.

The lost diamond

In the present day Andhra,  in olden days there lived a wise person by name Maryada Rama. He was a very clever and shrewd person with an impeccable sense of justice and he was trusted by the people of the village and the nearby villages for his impartial judgements. Before going to the king’s court people used to come for him for any settlement of disputes. Many a time the cases never went to the king’s court at all as the judgement given by Maryada Rama would be perfect.

In the nearby village there was this man by name Prabhakara who possessed a large hexagonal shaped diamond . The diamond had been passed over to him by his ancestors and he cherished it very much having inherited it from his ancestors.

Now, Prabhakara had a wish to go on a Yatra to Kashi to perform the rites for his dead parents. But he was worried about his diamond. His house was not safe enough to keep the diamond and he could not carry it as he had to go on a Pada yatra – by walk . Those days had not seen the advent of motorised transport and so people went by bullock carts or by walk.

Prabhakara was really worried. He did not know what to do. Then, suddenly, he remembered his close friend Divakara who lived in the neighbouring village. So he carried the diamond to Divakara and asked him whether he could keep the diamond in safe custody until he returned from Kashi. Divakara hesitated at first but on seeing the diamond he was tempted to say yes. The diamond was such a beauty and it was so alluring that nobody could say no to keeping it.  Prabhakara was relieved that there was somebody whom he could trust and left the diamond with him and went to Kashi. He performed the rites for his parents and visited many holy places and at last returned to his village after few months.

A few days afterwards, he went to Divakara’s house to redeem the diamond. After exchanging niceties, when Prabhakara asked for the diamond back, Divakara  put on a surprised look and said, “My friend, you came to my house yesterday and took back the diamond and you are asking for it back again today, huh? ” Prabhakara was taken aback. What was happening here? He told Divakara that he had returned to his village a few days back but it was only today that he was meeting him. But Divakara kept on insisting that he had given the diamond back and he had nothing to do with the diamond any more. Prabhakara was crestfallen. The thought of losing the diamond was too much for him and he went back to his home weeping silently not knowing what to do. After going home he told his wife what had happened . She was a bold lady . She consoled Prabhakara and said “Do not worry. What is rightfully yours can never be taken from you. Let us go for justice to Maryada Rama whom they say is justice incarnate”.

They both went to Maryada Rama who patiently heard their case. Maryada Rama asked them about any striking feature of the diamond and they told him that it was a big an beautiful one, hexagonal in shape.  Maryada Rama then sent word for Divakara. Divakara came to the court of Maryada Rama out of respect. Maryada Rama heard his version too and asked him if there were any witnesses for his giving the diamond back.  To every one’s surprise, Divakara said “Yes, Sir, there are three witnesses”. Maryada Rama said, “Fine, bring them all here tomorrow and we will see”.

The next day, Divakara brought his three servants,  the gardener, the washerman and the cook. Prabhakara and his wife were also present there. Maryada Rama asked the servants, “Did you see your master giving back the diamond to his friend who is here?” “Yes Sir” they replied in unison . “Did you see the diamond?” asked Maryada Rama. “Yes Sir” replied the servants. “We saw the diamond which our master gave to his friend. We saw it. We were standing next to this man as witnesses” said they pointing at Prabhakara.

Maryada Rama closed his eyes and thought for a while. Then he called the servants and asked them to go into three separate rooms in his house. He called his own gardener and asked him to bring some clay. He took the clay, made it into three parts and went into each room and gave each of them a portion of the clay and told them to make it into the shape of the diamond which they claimed to have seen so closely. The doors of the three rooms were shut for a while and after some time, Maryada Rama called Divakara’s  gardener. The gardener came out with his version of the diamond, in the form of a round fat pebble. As a gardener he had seen only pebbles in his life. Next , the washerman came with his version of the diamond, in the shape of a rectangular washing stone!!. The cook was called next as she came with her version of the diamond, in the shape of a grinding stone!!!

Maryada Rama looked at Divakara questioningly and said jocularly, “Maybe the diamond possesses some magic that it keeps changing shapes. Could you explain the magic Divakaraji?” Divakara was very ashamed. He fell at the feet of Maryada Rama and Prabhakara and felt extremely sorry for his nasty behaviour. He asked for forgiveness and immediately rushed home and brought back the diamond and gave it back to to its rightful owner Prabhakara.

Prabhakara was very happy. He expressed his feeling of forgiveness to Divakara and embraced him. He said he still wanted to be  friends with him as he had realised his folly. They both thanked Maryada Rama for his sharp intellect and novel way in which he had handled the case. They lived as friends forever.

The lion, monkey, snake and the merchant

Once upon a time, in an ancient city of India, lived a simpleton by name ‘Dharmabuddhi’. He was a very kind-hearted soul who helped anybody in need be it man or animal, expecting nothing in return. He was not a very rich person and lived a very frugal life.

One day, Dharmabuddhi was going to visit his friend in the next village. As he was passing by an open well in the nearby woods, he heard sounds of a lion grunting, a monkey screeching, a snake hissing and a man yelling for help. He peered into the well and saw all of them in distress. True to his nature, He pulled a long log of wood and pushed it into the well. The animals climbed out one by one but the man was not able to climb out without Dharmabuddhi’s help. When Dharmabuddhi tried to pull out the man, all the animals told Dharmabuddhi not to help the man get out. But Dharmabuddhi ignored them and rescued the man. What a mistake that was. All of them thanked Dharmabuddhi profusely and asked him to call them in times of distress. The lion told Dharmabuddhi to visit him in the deep jungle while the snake told Dharmabuddhi to think of him if Dharmabuddhi wanted help. The monkey told him to visit the mango tree which was located on the outskirts of the jungle and the merchant who so happened to be a gold merchant told Dharmabuddhi to visit him in the next town after passing the deep jungle. All of them  returned to their respective homes.

One day, Dharmabuddhi heard from one of his friends that there were better job opportunities in the neighbouring town. So, he set off to the neighbouring town in search of a job. He had to pass through the forest to get to the town. After walking for a while, Dharmabuddhi got tired and sat down under a tree to rest. The tree happened to be in a lion’s territory.

Suddenly there was a deafening roar and Dharmabuddhi sat rooted to the ground. He slowly turned around and what did he see? He saw a lion sitting right behind him. To his surprise, the lion did not attack him. The lion looked familiar to Dharmabuddhi. Aha! This was the lion that Dharmabuddhi saved!! The lion had recognized Dharmabuddhi instantly. It allowed Dharmabuddhi to hug him and it dropped a gold  necklace which it was having in its mouth at Dharmabuddhi’s feet.  Dharmabuddhi picked the glittering gold necklace up, thanked the lion and continued his journey. He thought he would sell this necklace to the gold merchant who he had rescued earlier and who was living there.

He had walked for a while when suddenly a gang of robbers pounced on him and took away his only radiant hope of feeding his family, the gold necklace. Helpless Dharmabuddhi sat under a mango tree thinking of what he would do now. Luck had favoured him so much in the last few minutes and now  his hopes were just washed away by the awful robbers. The monkey whom Dharmabuddhi had saved lived on this very tree. The monkey had witnessed what happened to  Dharmabuddhi and was determined to help him. He gathered some juicy mangoes and threw it near Dharmabuddhi. Surprised Dharmabuddhi looked up and saw the monkey smiling at him. Dharmabuddhi immediately recognized his old friend and asked him to also have some of the juicy mangoes. The monkey, who didn’t want to disappoint Dharmabuddhi climbed down and had two of the juicy mangoes he had given him. Sleepy after eating these mangoes, Dharmabuddhi  laid down and slept. The monkey, waiting for this moment jumped from tree to tree to find  robbers. Soon he found the robbers who so happened to be also sleeping under a tree. The monkey slowly and stealthily climbed down from the tree and found the  necklace. He grabbed it and  returned to his mango tree to find Dharmabuddhi. Dharmabuddhi had just woken up from his sleep and was searching for the monkey to bid him goodbye. The monkey landed near Dharmabuddhi and gave him the  necklace. Overjoyed by his friends’ faithfulness, he hugged the monkey and set off for the  town yet again.

After he reached the next town, he went in search of the merchant. Finally, Dharmabuddhi found the  merchant. The merchant welcomed Dharmabuddhi to his house and asked what Dharmabuddhi’s problem was. Dharmabuddhi told the merchant that had a gold necklace to be sold and also told him that the lion gave him the necklace. The wicked merchant recognized that this necklace belonged to the prince of this town who was killed while he was hunting. The merchant very well knew that Dharmabuddhi would not have committed this crime but he thought of the reward the king would give him of finding the “murderer”. He told Dharmabuddhi to stay at his house for the night as Dharmabuddhi would be ‘tired’ and the naive Dharmabuddhi agreed.

The merchant woke up early next morning and set off to the palace to inform the king that he had found the ‘murderer’. The depressed king, without holding any trial, put Dharmabuddhi in prison. Desolate Dharmabuddhi now realized that he should have listened to his friends’ advice and not helped the merchant. He realized that after all he had one more friend left, the snake. He thought desperately of the snake and suddenly he heard a hiss from the tiny window of the prison. Immediately, he saw a slim green snake slither into the prison cell from the window. Dharmabuddhi could not believe his eyes. This snake was the snake he had saved! The snake now spoke. “hisssssssss… dear Dharmabuddhi hissssssss why did you believe the cunning merchant………… you can’t do anything about it now………………. but i can………… I have brought  a herb which can cure my venomousssssssss ssssssssnake bite………… I will now bite the queen and nobody can sssssssssave her…………. except you……………. pour this herb juice in her mouth…….and she will be sssssssaved…………….the king will be overjoyed…….and release you……….good luck……………. ” The snake dropped a herb in front of Dharmabuddhi and  slithered out of the window. Soon it entered the  queen’s chamber and bit her. The queen instantly fell unconsious. The king now even more depressed announced that he would grant anyone anything they wish if they saved the queen. He summoned doctors from distant towns and villages but nobody could help.

Dharmabuddhi also heard of the announcement of the king and he seized the chance. He asked the king to allow him to cure the queen. The frantic king allowed Dharmabuddhi to cure the queen. As the snake had said, Dharmabuddhi crushed this herb and poured it into the queen’s mouth. The queen immediately regained consciousness. The  king, overjoyed by Dharmabuddhi’s help asked him what he wanted. Dharmabuddhi immediately narrated his story of how he got the necklace and how he was cheated by the merchant. The king got very angry at the merchant and wanted to punish him.  Dharmabuddhi told the king not to. Dharmabuddhi said that it would be bad if we take revenge on people who do bad to us. Dharmabuddhi also told the king about his shortage of money. The king instantly gave Dharmabuddhi a bag of gold coins and told Dharmabuddhi to start a business in this very town.

Dharmabuddhi, thrilled by this gesture of the king shifted to this town with his family and lived happily ever after thanking his friends and visiting them whenever he could.


P.S: This story has been written by my daughter who has listened to this story many times in her childhood. I have only edited it.

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.



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

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.

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.

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.

Tenali Rama and the Brinjals

We all know the about the intelligent Tenali Ramakrishna who adorned the court of Raja Krishnadeveraya. This story is about how Tenali escaped the punishment for eating the brinjals grown in  Raja Krishnadevaraya’s private garden.

The Emperor  Raja Krishnadevaraya had been gifted with a few saplings of an exotic brinjal variety by one of his vassals. The brinjals were so tasty and fleshy that the emperor decided that the saplings should be planted in a private garden and the brinjals should be used exclusively for himself.

Accordingly, the royal gardener who was a very capable fellow created a nice garden with the saplings and soon there were many of them bearing chubby brinjals. Of course the brinjals were used only for the king’s meal and no one even knew of the garden that existed.

One day, Tenali Rama happened to be entertaining the emperor and it was almost lunch time. The emperor wanted Tenali’s company for lunch and Tenali gladly agreed. That day the main item was made of the exotic brinjal. The dish was sooo….good that Tenali fell in love with the brinjals in that short while. He could not ask the emperor as it was not courtesy. He went  home savouring the taste of the brinjals and the rest of the day he was raving about the tasty brinjals to his wife.

Over the next few days, Tenali made discreet enquiries with the kitchen staff and came to know of the private garden. He also came to know that the Raja had ordered that all brinjals in that garden should be used for the Raja alone. Somehow, Tenali coaxed the gardener to give him only a few brinjals and also promised him that no one would know of the deal. The gardener unable to bear the nagging gave in . Tenali happily took the brinjals home and told his wife to make his favourite dish for dinner.

While having dinner, Tenali’s eight year old son asked him “Papa, the brinjals are very tasty. Where did you buy them??” Tenali started off “Er.. the King’s garden… Oh no!  I mean the shop near the garden…. no.. the Shop on the garden road… Now why do you bother? ha? Eat quietly and go to sleep.. Asking too much ….”
“Papa…” said the son, “I saw you taking them from the Gardener uncle near the palace…..” Tenali was shocked . “Hushhhhhh… no palace, no gardener no brinjal. Don’t you blabber any nonsense ! Go to bed huhh..!” he scolded his son.

In a few days the Raja called Tenali at about 9 pm. “Why is the king calling me at this hour?” wondered Tenali. The Raja was pacing in the balcony seething with anger. It was a stark contrast that the full moon was shining so coolly above the palace and the king was hot with anger. He had come to know of the brinjal incident. “Rama” said the king. “I thought you were close enough to me to ask me what you wanted. Why did you.. like a thief go and get brinjals from my gardener clandestinely huh??” Tenali was flabbergasted but as a first response he had to deny the fact and so he said in a very naïve voice”Maharaja, please forgive my asking but who told you I got brinjals from your gardener? Is there a separate garden for brinjals???”

“Rama… do not try to pretend, Your son has told our minister’s son who has in turn told the minister. I know that an eight year old will not lie. Now.. tell me the truth”

Tenali laughed aloud and said ” Oh…. my son… hahahaha, hahahaha….He is a fool . he talks all nonsense. in face I want to consult a good psychologist for his behaviour.. Maharaja, if you want, I shall produce him tomorrow in court and you just ask him anything and assess for yourself whether he speaks sense.” The Raja agreed half heartedly.

Tenali rushed home. His son was sleeping on a mat in the open balcony with cool full moon shining nicely In those days there were no mosquitoes nor security issues and people enjoyed nature’s bounty in all entirety. Rama drew the curtains in the room adjacent to the balcony. He took a large container of water and threw it on the boy. The boy who was in deep slumber got up shocked and Tenali said, “Come in it is raining heavily” and covering the boy’s head with a towel, he pulled the boy inside the room. He shut the door, wiped the boy and changed his clothes and put another mat and waited for him to go to sleep.

The next day , the boy was taken to the court and the Raja looked at him from head to toe and in a deep voice asked him, “So.. boy, yesterday was Punnami (full moon day) . Did you have dinner in moonlight??” The boy thought for a while and said “Ha Maharaja I had dinner in Moonlight  but it rained so heavily after I fell asleep on the balcony and I was totally drenched , that Papa had to change all my clothes”
The boy was very innocent and the Raja looked puzzled at Tenali and there was Tenali giving a look of “See, I told you!!”
The Raja asked the boy once again, “Did it rain?? Are you sure??” The boy shook his head hard in the affirmative “Yes Maharaja… Yes. Did you not know it rained????”

The king was convinced that the boy was in the habit of blabbering and so told him to go home. He also told Tenali that if he ever need brinjals he could ask the king rightfully.

Tenali went home a happier man!!

Hard earned money stays with you

Once upon a time in a village in India there was a farmer named Ramu who was a hard worker. He worked all day tending to his paddy fields and that year, due to timely monsoon, Ramu got an excellent harvest.

He sold all the grain in the market and got 300 gold coins. He brought home the coins in a bag and counted them again and again. He was so happy counting the coins when he heard somebody call out him at the entrance.

Ramu was worried that whoever was calling him would walk in and see the treasure and so hurriedly, he put all the coins into the bag except three coins which he took with him. He then stuffed the coin bag into a large empty pot and kept it on the shelf.  The caller was his friend Somu who was going to the market and wanted Ramu to come with him. Ramu was in a jolly mood and immediately agreed to with Somu.

He called out to his wife “Seetha, I am going to the market with Somu. Make my favourite brinjal curry for lunch!” Seetha nodded her head. Ramu and Somu were off to the market chatting away happily.

Meanwhile, Seetha looked around and to her dismay found no water in the house for cooking. In olden days, people used to bring water from rivers or ponds nearby for their household use as piped water was not available. She took the pot in which the coin bag was kept and started out to get water. Just outside the house, she met Raakka, the butcher taking a stroll leading a goat. She called out to him, “Raakka Anna, can you please get me a pot of water?” Raakka Anna as he was called, had no urgent work and so took the pot from Seetha and started walking towards the pond.

“Jingle clink, jingle clink, jingle clink” What was that? The pot seemed to be making a noise. Raakka went under a tree’s shade and peered into the huge pot through its narrow mouth. He could not see anything and so he put his hand in and what did he pull out? A bag of gold coins! Raakka was so thrilled at seeing so many gold coins and hurriedly stuffed them back into the bag and looked around. What if someone suddenly saw him? Raakka got an idea. He opened his goat’s mouth and stuffed the bag down its throat. Now the bag had gone into the goat’s stomach with the gold coins!

He left the pot under the tree and started leading the goat home. Just then Raakka’s son Chhappa came from the opposite direction and Raakka quickly handed over the goat to Chhappa and told him to take home the goat quickly. “I bought the goat for two gold coins remember!” he said. “Be careful”.

Chhappa was a young lad of twelve and he started going home, humming his favourite song. Meanwhile Ramu and Somu were coming to the market. When Ramu saw the goat he felt it was a fine goat and he should buy it and host a feast for his neighbours as he had had a good harvest that year. “How much is the goat young man?” asked Ramu. Chhappa remembered his father’s words and said “three gold coins Sir”. He wanted to show his father that he was also smart by selling a goat at a profit of one gold coin. “Here, take this” said Ramu shoving the coins into the boy’s hand and took the goat and went home.

“Seetha, is lunch ready?” called Ramu as he entered his hut. Seetha was looking very worried. The butcher had not brought water yet and where was the question of lunch? Ramu became panicky when he heard about the pot. He chided Seetha, tied the goat to a tree and ran to find Raakka. He could find neither Raakka nor the pot.

Sadly he came back home and told Seetha about the coins. Seetha told him    ” Why don’t we sacrifice this goat to the Gods? May be the Gods are angry that we did not thank them for the harvest”. Ramu thought that it might be true that the Gods were angry and therefore decided to do what Seetha said. When he cut the goat’s belly, what did he get? Yeah, his own gold coins! “Seetha, Seetha , see what I got!” he yelled at the top of his voice and rushed inside with the bag.

“From now onwards, I shall tie this bag to my waist”, thought Ramu. “That is where it will be safe”. Accordingly he tied the bag with a rope to his waist and went around with it. He was happy that nobody could steal the coins anymore. He went around like this for some time.

One day it was very hot and dusty and when Ramu was passing by the village stream, he felt like having a dip. He looked around and when he saw no one around, he thought it was safe to remove the bag and keep in on the banks of the stream. He started having a bath and it was so refreshing that he did not notice the shepherd Chokkan coming and picking up his bag of coins. Alas!! The bag was gone again.

Ramu felt very upset and headed for home sadly. Meanwhile Chokkan was walking very fast hiding the bag under his arm pit when he heard the sound of horses. “Oh, it’s the police” thought Chokkan and threw the bag into a nearby well which was open and did not have any parapet. In villages, in those days, such wells were very common. Chokkan thought to himself, “I will come tomorrow and recover the bag”. Thinking so, he went home.

Meanwhile our hero Ramu,  was aimlessly walking very near the same well the next day, thinking how unfortunate he was. Suddenly a gust of wind blew from behind and blew off Ramu’s turban and Ramu yelling ran behind the turban and PLOP! fell into the well.

Luckily there was not much water and what was that in the side? Aah!! The same bag of his. He grabbed the bag and caught hold of the heavy banyan roots on the side of the well and was climbing up and who was at the top? Chokkan. Yes. Chokkan had come to collect his booty. Both Ramu and Chokkan were equally shocked to see each other and Chokkan hurriedly said, “Arre Ramu Anna, thank you so much for recovering my bag. You saved me a lot of trouble” He further went on building a false story of how he had lost his hard earned money. Ramu could not say anything at all but had to handover the bag to Chokkan.

Chokkan chuckled to himself at his having outwitted Ramu and ran away with the bag. But Chokkan got very cautious and thought that the coins will not be safe in the bag for long. He took a long bamboo staff which he used to herd the sheep and filled the coins into it. He filled the gaps with mud and sealed the ends.

Days passed by and Ramu was becoming more and more depressed that his gold coins could not be retrieved. Meanwhile, one day Chokkan was herding his sheep on the river banks and when he wanted to pull down a branch to pick some leaves for his sheep, he tried to use his bamboo staff and PLONK fell the staff in the river. “My staff my staff” cried Chokkan but the current in the river was too fast and Chokkan was a poor swimmer. So helplessly he watched as his staff vanished in a jiffy.

Now Ramu was having a bath at the downstream and suddenly he noticed a sturdy bamboo staff floating by. He caught it just in time and felt it was very heavy. “Seetha told me to get wood urgently. This Bamboo will last for two days as firewood” Ramu thought. He carried the staff home and when he cut the bamboo what was there YESSSS!  His money!!! Ramu was so overjoyed as he found the staff contained the same number of coins as his and then he decided that he should celebrate and feed the poor after keeping money for his needs. He did so and learnt the lesson that hard earned money always sticks to us and therefore money is to be spent in good manner, not hoarded.

This is a story I remember having read from Amar Chitra Katha long back.


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