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The Costliest Award

2006-07-13 23:36

  After winning a crucial battle, the King, Raja Krishandevrai celebrated the victory festival. During the celebration the King said: “This victory is not only my efforts, each of you has contributed to it. Now, each of you deserves an award. You all will get one, but the condition is that you can get only one award. All the awards have been kept behind the velvet curtain and will be distributed tomorrow. You all should come here, give your choice, get the desired thing.”

  The King's declaration provided an opportunity to the courtiers who were jealous of Tenaliram's exalted position in the court. Unfortunately Tenaliram was not in town and was likely to return the next day morning itself. The jealous courtiers confabulated among themselves and decided that they would reach before the curtain and get the choicest award first, leaving something cheap and inartistic for Tenaliram.

  And so happened. When Tenaliram reached the court, he was rather late as he received the news of award ceremony when he returned home. Only a silver bowl was left and Tenaliram had to accept it, as there was no other choice. All the courtiers were supremely delighted as each of them had very costly awards, which they proudly displayed to score over Tenaliram.

  But Tenaliram happily accepted the empty silver bowl and hastily tried to hide it under his robe. The King was surprised at Tenali's this unexpected action. He asked: “Tenali! What are you doing? Why are you covering it with your robe?”

  “It's for not allowing any blot on your famous large heartedness that I am putting this empty bowl under my cloth”, Tenaliram said with a serious face.

  “ What do you mean?” unable to grasp his meaning the king asked sternly. “I mean to say our highness”, Tenali explained, “that so far I always received bowls filled with gold coins. Your honor never awarded anyone anything empty!”

  The King immediately asked his cashier to fill the bowl with gold coins. Now it was Tenali's turn to beam brightly to the great chagrin and heart burning of the jealous courtiers. The King also realized the Game of supreme wit that Tenaliram had played. He could not help saying: “Well Tenali…you are very clever!” Tenali bowed smilingly and took away the silver bowl filled with gold coins- The Costliest Award!

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