The Clever Servant – Panchatantra Stories
A long time ago, there lived a very intelligent merchant named Veer. The merchant’s daughter was getting married. In this happiness, he organized a huge meal. In the banquet, he invited everyone from the royal family to the subjects.
He saw one of the servants sitting on a chair which was kept for the royal family. The merchant got very angry and pushed him out. The servant felt very bad and thought to teach him a lesson. A few days later the servant was sweeping the king’s bedroom. Seeing the half-sleeping king awake he muttered to himself “Good heavens! The merchant has become so carefree now that he dared to embrace the queen!”.
The king was troubled with jealousy. From that day onwards, he withdrew his favours from the merchant and even forbade him to enter the palace.
The merchant was puzzled on why the king removed all the favours. He decided to speak to the king himself. When the merchant tried entering the gateway to the palace, he was stopped by the guards.
The servant was nearby, and mocking shouted at the guards, “Ho Guards! That merchant is favoured by the king. He is a powerful person. He can have people arrested or released or even thrown out, just like he had me thrown out of his daughter’s reception. Beware, for you may suffer the same fate.”
On hearing this, the merchant understood that the servant has caused all this trouble somehow. He invited the royal servant to his house and treated the servant with utmost respect, and flattered him with gifts and garments. He then apologized for his behaviour and asked for forgiveness.
The servant was already flattered with all the gifts, and he was full of joy, “Sir, I forgive you. You have not only expressed your regrets, but also honoured me with utmost respect”.
He ensured the merchant, “I will prove you how clever I am. I will have the king favourable towards you, like he was before”. The servant went back home.
When the opportunity came, he started sweeping around his bed and started mumbling, “Our king is crazy, he eats cucumber in the lavatory!”
On hearing this, the king was taken aback. He got up angrily and shouted at the servant, “What nonsense do you talk about? Had you not been by royal servant, I would have punished you dearly. Have you ever seen me doing such thing yourself?”
Once again the servant fell on his knees and prayed, “O Master, please forgive me if I said something improper. I was gambling all last night and didn’t sleep. I feel drowsy and I don’t know what I have been mumbling.”
The king thought to himself, “What he mumbled about me is ridiculously false. Surely then, what he mumbled about my trusted merchant the other morning must have been ridiculously false too. It was improper of me to mistreat the merchant.”
Thus, having considered carefully, the king invited the merchant to the palace and flattered him with gifts, jewels and garments. He favored his services as before.
Moral : One should treat one and all, even the lowest, with respect.
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