Friday, April 13, 2018

Tales of Tenali Raman - Tenali Raman and The Talented Artist

Once the court of King Krishnadevaraya was visited by a courtier who gifted the king a pigeon with blue feathers. The king was rather surprised to see a blue feathered pigeon and asked the courtier where he found such a rare bird. The courtier replied, "My Lord, Recently I visited the jungles of Mysore, where I caught this bird with great difficulty. And I also saw some strange birds there."

Intrigued, the king asked, "Which other birds you saw there?" The courtier replied, "My Lord, I saw a red parrot, a golden peacock and also a green crane." The king said, "Fine! You go back there and bring me some more rare birds. I want all these birds here in my royal garden." The courtier said humbly, "But My Lord, this task is time consuming and very expensive."

To this the king replied, "Oh! Do not worry about this. I will exempt you from the court duty for one month. I will award you twenty thousand gold coins for each bird." The king ordered his royal treasurer to reward the courtier for the pigeon. The courtier smiled cunningly and returned to his seat.

Only Tenali had seen the courtier's smile and expression. He knew something was amiss. The bright colors on the pigeon looked unconvincing. He doubted whether the colors were even real. He decided to do something about it. The next day Tenali Raman went to the outskirts of the city and searched for a good artist. He placed and order for two birds of each kind the courtier had mentioned and told the artist to bring them in a cage after 5 days to the royal court. He handed some money to the artist.

After five days, Tenali came in the court with a big cage full of two red parrots, two green pigeons, a golden yellow peacock and blue crane. All the courtiers were surprised to see such rare birds. Tenali said to the king, "Your Majesty, I have brought some rare birds which I thought would look good in the royal garden." The king was surprised and inquired where Tenali found these birds. To this Tenali said,"Yes your Majesty, I went to the same place where the courtier went and found many varieties of rare birds. If you wish to have some more rare bird, I can get it within few days. All we have to do is order and it is done."

Shocked and little irritated with Tenali's answer, the king said, "What are you saying, Tenali? Explain yourself right now." Tenali replied, " My Lord, as you can see I have brought a bright blue crane, but if you wish to have a green crane, then you need to order for the same. It takes a few days, but you will get whatever you order." The king inquired, "What are you saying? Is it some magical place?" Tenali smiled and answered, "Not a place your Majesty, a man! The artist who has the talent of creating such magic."

And saying so, Tenali went out and came back with the artist. He introduced the man to the king, "My Lord, this is Vyakata. He belongs to a small village that is situated at the edge of the forest. He is a good artist and can color the birds to look like this." Now the king realized what Tenali wanted to tell him. He understood that his courtier had indeed cheated him. Immediately he summoned orders to suspend the courtier for three months and also to return the reward. Plus he asked the courtier to pay a penalty for the fraud. The kind thanked Tenali and honored him with precious gifts. The artist was also rewarded for his talent. 

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