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.