The Two Dreams
In a particular country, there was a wealthy man. He was also a great miser. He remained a bachelor because he did not want to have children to share his wealth. He engaged a man to cook for him but never ate a full meal, nor did he let the cook have one.
It was the Festival of Lights. Without the knowledge of the master, the cook prepared several unique dishes for himself and his master. The master sat at the table and was astounded to see all those preparations. “Why on earth did you prepare all these things?” he asked the cook.
” The cook replied, “The festival comes but once a year, sir,” the cook replied.
“Of course, of course!” said the master. The dishes were so lovely that he did not want the cook to eat them. So he consumed most of the preparations.
Despite all his efforts, he could not eat the jilebi. His belly was packed. But he did not want the cook either to eat it. So he said, “This jülebi will taste much better tonight. Let us not eat it now.”
The night came, but the master did not feel the slightest appetite. He said to the cook, “Listen, we will not eat this jilebi now. Let us go to sleep and see which one will get the better dream. We will compare our dreams, and whoever gets the more delightful dream shall eat the jilebi. Agreed?”
“Excellent, sir,” the cook replied.
The master went to bed with a light heart. He was bound to get back his appetite in the morning. He could claim that he had an unusually delightful dream and eat the jilebi.
As soon as the cook heard his master start snoring, he went into the kitchen, ate all the jilebi, and then went to bed.
The master woke up in the morning. He felt that he was reasonably hungry. He called.” his cook asked him, “Well, what sort of dream did you have last night?”
“Sir,” the cook replied, “I had the most frightful dream.”
The master was pleased. “I had a marvellous dream,” he said. “The King gave his daughter to me in marriage and crowned me King. I sat in the durbar amidst all the attendants and courtiers. Dancers were dancing before me. Oh, it was all so splendid! But,” he added, “you did not tell me about your dream.”
“Sir,” said the cook, with a sad face, “the moment I fell asleep, Mother Kali jumped in front of me, roaring fearfully, ‘You wretch! Eat up the jilebi at once, or I will strangle you this minute! I was sweating and shuddering with fear. O Mother,’ I said to Her, ‘I may not eat that jilebi! My master and I made a pact that whoever got the better dream should eat it. Mother, please! Press me not to eat the jilebi!’ But she would not listen to me. Right now, you are going into that kitchen,’ she said and ate the jilebi, as I tell you. If you refuse,’ she said, ‘I’ll eat you! Well, sir, I did not like being eaten. So I had to eat the jilebi!”
The master was irritated. “If, as you say,” he said, “Mother Kali did make all that fuss, how was it that I did not wake up for the noise? I was sleeping in the next room, you know. In any case, you should have shouted for me so that I could come to your rescue. Why did you not call me wretch.”
“I did think of seeking your help, sir,” the cook replied, smiling. “I looked for you, sir. But where were you? On the throne, in that big durbar, with all those great people around you, the queen by your side, and the dancers dancing! When I, at last, picked up enough courage to approach you, your guards pushed me away! They would not let me come near you.”
The cook proved too clever for his master, who felt quite ashamed of his stupid trick. After that, the master not only ate well but also let his cook eat square meals.