A Clever Hint

In a separate kingdom, there was a king. The king was undoubtedly a good man, but rogues surrounded him and concealed his goodness.

In this kingdom, a young man called Prasanga arrived with two companions, seeking his livelihood and that of his companions. They got jobs and started doing them. But days passed on, and nobody told them what they were to be paid and when. On certain days the king was in the habit of distributing gifts to his servants. These three were excluded even from such occasional gifts.

They had food along with the other palace employees and di,d whatever they were asked to do. Yet no one seemed to be aware of their employment.

“At this rate, we can never earn or save a pie, never marry, never set up a family!” Prasanga’s companions complained.

“Patience, friends. The king is kind. See how he distributes gifts to everyone. What all we have to do is go to him directly and tell him how things stand with us,” Prasanga suggested.

But this was easier said than done. When they attempted to see the king in his palace, the king’s guards chased them away. Then they made an effort to see the king at court. They were again chased away.

Prasanga and his companions narrated their sad tales to many court officials. But it did not yield any results.

Five years went by.

After a long time, the queen gave birth to a male child. At last, the Heir Apparent was born, they said. The entire city was decorated, and the event was celebrated on a large scale. There was the usual round of gifts- now on a much bigger scale. Only, Prasanga and his friends got nothing.

Unfortunately, the Heir Apparent breathed his last on the third day of his birth. No one would care to mourn the death of a three days old brat. But there was a show of condolence. While the suffering king sat in the corner of his palace, everyone was permitted to approach him, condole him appropriately and depart. Prasanga and his companions also went into the king’s presence. Then they began to beat their breasts and cry loudly:

“Ah, cruel prince! What have you done to us? We hoped you would grow up and sit on the throne someday, inquire into our miserable state, arrange some salary and allowance, and relieve us of this struggle! How we waited for you for five years! Is it just that you shatter all our hopes? Who will now care for us? Who will now listen to our sorry tale?”

The king was surprised at their words. He called Prasanga and his companions to him and learnt their story. He at once arranged their salaries and allowances.

Chandamama November 1955 | V L Natrajan

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