Monday, 19 August 2013

Will a bright red peacock survive in the wilderness?

King Krishnadevaraya was fond of exotic and rare things. This fondness started turning into greed. Tenali Raman was observing this vice in his King and knew that he had to warn his King before his greed got the better of him.Yet, Raman knew that mere words will not make any difference and he had to wait for an opportune moment to point this out to King Krishnadevaraya.

As luck would have it, the opportunity that Raman was waiting for, presented itself soon enough.One day, one of the ministers in the court of King Krishnadevaraya came to the court which made everyone present gasp! He presented a beautiful peacock that was stunning red in colour. An audible ‘wow’ filled the courtroom.

The minister bowed in front of the court and began his speech. “Your Majesty”, he said with an attempted modesty in his voice. “I went in search of something very exotic to present to you. I assayed the crests and troughs of the deepest jungles and look what I found” he boasted.“I hope Your Majesty likes the tiny present of your humble servant” concluded the minister. 

King Krishnadevaraya was spell bound. He spoke nothing for a long time. Finally he addressed the minister and appreciated his stupendous find. “How loyal you are and nothing beats your hard work at finding what your King best likes” said an extremely grateful King.

“Let me know what you spent on this and I shall give you double the money” said Krishnadevaraya, still mesmerised by the red peacock.“Oh my Lord, I do not wish to take money. It is a gift and I would be more than happy if the present gives happiness to my King” said he crafty minister. Before the King could say anything, the minister continued, “But since you insist, I spent about 200 gold coins in finding this joy amidst the dense forests of your kingdom”, he said.

The King then ordered 400 gold coins to be paid to the loyal minister.Tenali Raman intervened at the right moment and told the King that an exotic creature as this red peacock requires companionship. He therefore requested the King to wait till he went into the deepest of the same forest that the minster had painfully treated and found some more of the red peacocks. 

The manner in which Raman said this got the King to wear his thinking cap. He immediately ordered Tenali Raman to get more red peacocks and announced that the payment will be done after Raman returned with the peacocks.Tenali Raman went home and sent some of his servants to find out the truth about the ‘red’ peacock.A couple of days later his servants returned with a guilty looking painter who instantly fell at Raman’s feet asking him to forgive his mistake.

Raman smiled pleasantly at the painter and told him that he was willing to forgive him, provided he did the same mistake, as beautifully as he had done it earlier. “You should repeat your mistake not once but 4 times over. Are you ready to do it?” asked Raman.
The painter had no choice and agreed. Ten days later Raman reached the court. The King’s grateful palace gave him a very colourful welcome and Raman returned, nothing short of a war hero to his King’s eager court.

“Where are the peacocks?” the King was impatient. Raman presented the four beautifully painted peacocks.The King’s lips forgot to meet each other for many long minutes. Finally the King came to his senses and told Raman that these were prettier than the earlier ones.
“How much did these cost?” asked Krishnadevaraya.“Your Majesty, I have served you long enough to know what colour pleases you the most, which is why these peacocks look prettier than the other red peacock. As for the cost, you have to pay me for the water and the red colour powder that I spent on. For the beautiful work and brilliant skills, you may pay this painter as you please” concluded Tenali.

The minister who had earlier presented the red peacock to the King stood shocked. He ran towards the King and fell at his feet asking the King to pardon him.

Tenali interjected and told the King that a bright and attractive red peacock would become an easy prey to other animals in a dense forest. 

“Peacocks are flightless and therefore need to camouflage themselves against their predators” he educated the King.The King nodded in agreement. Tenali had not completed. 

“Kings with a lot of wealth also become easy preys if they are unable to camouflage their desire for exotic things”, he completed with a naughty twinkle in his eyes, which the King did not miss to notice!