STORIES: The Real Culprit

Hello! This is a Tenali Rama tale.


One day, in the court of King Sri Krishna Deva Rayulu of Vijaynagar, the court had assembled as usual. As they were discussing  matters of the state, a shepherd ran in and fell before the feet of the King. His voice trembled as he said,”My Lord, I have come to you for justice.”

The king was amazed at what was happening. He picked the shepherd up and asked,”Please tell me what is the matter first.”

The shepherd between sobs, said,”My Lord, my neighbour is an old miser. He never paid money to repair his old walls and yesterday it finally crashed, killing my goat beneath it. Please ask him to compensate me for my loss.”

As the shepherd left after the king assured that he would look into the matter himself, Tenali Rama got up from his seat and told the king,”Sir, please give me some time. I feel there is more to this case than what the shepherd is saying. I will investigate and unravel the real culprit before you.”

With the king’s consent, Tenali Rama first summoned the neighbour of the shepherd. On hearing the charge he promptly replied,”My Lord, the blame does not rest with me. I hired a mason who, as it turns out did not do a good job. He is the one responsible for the shepherd’s loss.”

On hearing that, Rama called the mason to court. He in turn specified that he had hired a labourer to mix the cement. According to him, it was the labourer’s fault that the cement did not stick.

So it was the labourer’s turn to be summoned to the court next. He in turn said,”It is not me Sir, it is the man who brought the water.He poured more water than what was required and therefore the cement mixer was not strong enough. Please catch him.”

After the cement – mixer left, the man who had added the water came before Tenali. On hearing Rama’s accusation, he turned around and said,”Sir, the water carrier that I used was to big. It carried more water than what it should have. You must apprehend the shopkeeper who sold it to me.”

Now it was the turn of the shopkeeper. He made it clear that instead of holding him responsible, Tenali Rama should question the man who sold that water carrier to him. Rama asked the shopkeeper to send that man to him immediately.

Lo and behold, it was the shepherd who came back before Tenali Rama. The shopkeeper pointed to him and said,”Sir, he sold me the water carrier.”

Tenali Rama looked at he shepherd and said,”Look what happens when you do not work properly? One day it all comes back to you. I am sorry my friend, but your goat died because of your own fault. No one owns you any compensation.”

As the shepherd left the court, King Rayulu turned to Tenali Rama and said,”Well done, my friend, well done!”

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