The Poor Brahman
One day King Bhoja mounted his horse and went hunting in the forest. As he neared the forest, he saw a brook flowing across his path. He also saw a poor Brahman wade the stream and come towards him with a heap of firewood he had collected in the forest. The following conversation took place between the king and the Brahman:
“How deep is the water, Brahman?”
Knee-deep, O King! Why are you in such a plight? All men are not like you.
King Bhoja was touched by the last words of the Brahman and told him, “Go to my treasurer and tell him to give you a lakh of rupees.” Then, Bhoja went on his way.
The Brahman was mightily pleased with what the king had told him. He threw away the bundle of firewood and went to the palace. He managed to see the Treasurer and said, “Sir, the king told me to take a lakh of rupees from you.”
The Treasurer looked at the poor Brahman up and down and could not believe him. “I can’t give anything without direct instructions from the king,” he said.
The Brahman went away and came back to see the Treasurer after King Bhoja returned.
“The king didn’t tell me anything,” said the Treasurer. “How can I give you the money?”
“Did you ask him, sir?” the Brahman asked him.
“If he intends to give, will he not tell me?” snapped the Treasurer. “Why should I ask him?”
The Brahman went to King Bhoja and told him, “Your Majesty, you asked me to take a lakh of rupees from the Treasurer. But he says that he cannot pay unless he has orders to do so. What am I to do?”
“I am sorry,” said King Bhoja. “Go to the treasurer, and tell him that I want him to give you two lakhs of rupees.”
But the Treasurer still refused to pay. Also, he insulted the Brahman by calling him names. The Brahman, enraged, went back to the king and said:
O, King! You rain gold everywhere. But, since I am under misfortune, not a drop falls on me. Thanks to this rain, every other plant gets new life and puts on new shoots, but this wretched arka plant is in danger of losing even the leaves it had previously.
It was confirmed that the poor Brahman had not even collected firewood since he received the promise of money from the king and was more impoverished.
King Bhoja sent for the Treasurer and told him to pay out three lakhs of rupees to the Brahman and make him a gift of ten elephants. The Brahman went away a happy man.