Tenali Rama and the Brinjal Curry

A fable is a short story that teaches a lesson or conveys a moral.

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Sri Krishna Devaraya was the emperor of Vizayanagra. He had eight advisors. Tenali Rama was one among them. He was very clever and spontaneous. Sri Krishna Devaraya had some special kind of brinjal plants in his garden. The brinjal was a rare kind, and curry made out of it was very tasty which was loved by the emperor. As it was a rare kind, the garden was guarded and no one was allowed to view the plants without the emperor’s permission.

One day, the emperor had arranged dinner for his advisors and the brinjal curry was served. Tenali Rama had enjoyed the brinjal curry very much and went home. But he was unable to forget the taste. He told his wife about the taste of the curry. Tenali Rama’s wife also liked brinjal curry, she asked Tenali Rama to bring home a few brinjals so that she can prepare a curry. But Tenali Rama knew that the emperor was taking extreme care about the Brinjal plants and he could easily detect any that were missing from his garden. And, the emperor would punish such a thief if caught stealing a brinjal from his garden.

But Tenali’s wife pleaded with him to take a brinjal from the garden without telling anybody. Tenali Rama had no choice other than stealing a brinjal from the emperor’s garden. One night he went to the garden, jumped the wall and plucked a few brinjals from the garden. By the grace of God, no one had seen him. His wife cooked the brinjals and the curry was very tasty. Like all the mothers, she too loved her son very much and wanted to serve a brinjal curry for him. But Tenali Rama asked her not to do such a thing because if their son reveals to anybody that he had a rare brinjal curry, then they may get caught and punished for stealing a brinjal from the garden.

But his wife did not agree. She wanted to serve the curry to her son. She was unable to eat the curry alone without serving her child who was sleeping, after doing his homework on the roof of their house. She asked Tenali Rama to find a way so that their son can also taste the brinjal curry. Tenali Rama also loved his son, so he thought of an idea and with a lot of hesitation went on to the roof to wake up his child with a bucket of water and poured the water on the child. When the child woke up he said “It is raining, let’s go inside the house and have dinner”. After going inside the room Tenali changed the clothes of his son and gave him the rice and brinjal curry for his dinner. Tenali Rama told his wife loudly that “it was raining outside, and let the boy sleep in the room”.

The next day, the emperor came to know that a few brinjals were missing from his garden.The gardener, who kept a count of each vegetable and flower found that three brinjals were missing. It became a challenging issue for the emperor who took it very seriously. He declared a reward for the person who can catch the thief. Chief advisor Appaji suspected that only Tenali Rama was capable of doing such a thing, and they told the emperor about it. The emperor sent his courtiers and asked Tenali Rama to come immediately. Once Tenali Rama came he asked him about the missing brinjals. Tenali Rama replied, “I was not aware of the missing brinjals”. Then the chief advisor said “Tenali Rama is lying, let’s ask his son”.

The king sent his courtiers to bring Tenali Rama’s son. Once his son came, He was asked what vegetable he had in his dinner last night. The child replied: “The brinjal curry and it was very tasty”. Then the advisor told Tenali Rama that he needs to accept his crime. But Tenali Rama said his son had slept very early and he might be saying something which he imagined in his dream.

So the emperor asked the child “can you please explain clearly what you did yesterday after coming from the school?”

Tenali Rama’s son replied that “yesterday after coming from school, I played for a while, and after that I went on to the roof, did my homework, and slept on the roof. But when the rain started, my father came and woke me up. By that time my clothes were saturated. So we went inside, had dinner and I slept again”.

The chief advisor Appaji was shocked because there was no rain at all yesterday, and the atmosphere was totally dry. So they thought the child had a dream and freed Tenali Rama without any punishment. However, later Tenali Raman told the truth to the emperor and was pardoned by the emperor for his clever witty idea.