Sunday, 26 May 2013

Twice as much

In the kingdom of Hanumanthanagara, there lived a dhobi along with his wife and children.

The King Veervardhan was an able ruler and a compassionate human being. But he always desired for more. Very often he would say that he wished he had two kingdoms. His only son, Prince Harivamsa, was sent to the Gurukul to learn the various skills that would make a good King in the future. The King also desired he had two children. This greed sometimes got the better of him and put his subjects in trouble.              
The subjects living in the kingdom did not have enough as the King wanted to save twice as much as he needed. The dhobi and his family who lived in Hanumanthanagara, made enough to satisfy their own needs. Each day the dhobi would take his clothes to the banks of the river and wash and dry them.  Just before eating the lunch that his wife dutifully packed for him each day, he would fetch the dried clothes and place them under the tree. He would then eat his lunch, rest for a while and carry on with his duty by segregating the clothes and binding them in different bundles to be handed over to the respective owners. Then he would go from house to house to return the clothes to the owners, make his collection and go back home before the sun set.

One day, as was his usual routine, he went to the banks before lunch to collect the dried clothes. He had to segregate them and bind them in different bundles to hand them over to their owners. With these thoughts he picked up the clothes and placed them on his shoulders when he heard a sob coming from under the tree. He promptly dropped the clothes and went in the direction from where the sobs came.
He saw a young boy sitting under the tree and sobbing. The dhobi gently went next to him and asked him why he was crying. The boy, on seeing the dhobi wiped his tears and took control over himself before replying that he was tired and hungry and wanted to get back home.

Without another word, the dhobi gently led the boy to the shade of the tree where he had kept his lunch. He opened the pack, neatly divided the food into two parts and fed the lad before eating his part of the food. Then he asked the boy who he was and where he lived. 

The young boy did not reply and simply said, “I know the way to my house and if you can accompany me I will show the way.” The dhobi went with the boy until they reached the palace of Raja Veervardhan.  

As they entered the palace, the king came running towards the boy and hugged him. The young boy was none other than Prince Harivamsa. Harivamsa then told the King that he had wanted to tour the kingdom on his own, but lost his way and only after a long tiring walk came to the banks of the river. He told the King that the dhobi had shared his food with him and accompanied him to the palace without asking him who he was.

The King was pleased with the dhobi and asked him how he could share his already meagre food with a stranger. 

The dhobi, though overwhelmed by the happenings, calmly replied that one person’s food can be safely shared and eaten by two people, but when one person tries eating the food of two people it is recipe for disaster!

The King understood his folly and thanked the dhobi for his timely advice.