Handful Grain – Stories of Tenali Rama
There was an arrogant woman named Vidhya in the Vijayanagara Kingdom. She was proud of loved showing off her intelligence. One day she put up a board outside her house, offering anyone 1000 gold coins if they could outsmart her in wisdom and intelligence.
Many scholars took up her challenge, but she could not be defeated. That is until one day a man selling firewood arrived. He started shouting on top of his voice outside her door. Irritated with his shouting, Vidhya asked the man to sell her his firewood.
The man said he would sell her his firewood in exchange for a ‘handful grain.’ She agreed and asked him to put the firewood in the backyard. However, the man insisted that she had not understood what he had actually asked for. He then said that if she couldn’t pay him the exact price of a ‘handful grain’, then she must take down her challenge board and give him 1000 gold coins.
Getting angry, Vidhya accused him of talking nonsense. The vendor said it was not nonsense, and since she had not understood his price, she should concede defeat. Hearing these words, Vidhya started getting frustrated with the vendor. After hours of arguing, they decided to go to the king.
The king heard what Vidhya had to say and then asked the firewood vendor to give his explanation. The vendor explained that he wanted a ‘handful grain’ which means a singular grain that would fill a hand. Since she failed to understand this, Vidhya was bested and therefore she needed to take down her board and give the vendor the 1000 gold coins.
Impressed, the king agreed, and the matter was resolved. After Vidhya took down her board, she asked the vendor who he really was. Taking off his disguise, Tenali Raman revealed himself! He wanted to teach the arrogant and snobbish Vidhya a lesson in being humble.
Moral – Be humble about the talents and gifts you have
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