A Panchatantra series tale
In the city of Vardhaman, there lived a wealthy merchant by the name of Dantila. He was one of the most trusted advisers of the King and was the King’s favourite.
Once, he organised a lavish reception for his daughter’s wedding ceremony which was attended by the King, the Queen, their Ministers and all the rich and influential people in the city. At this reception also came Gorambha – a lowly sweeper in the royal household. When Dantila saw him seated on a seat meant for noblemen, he became very angry. He ordered Gorambha to be thrown out of the gates.
Humiliated, Gorambha began to plot his revenge on Dantila. Knowing that he could not directly take revenge because he was a poor man, he thought of an idea.
One morning, as he was sweeping near the bed where the King lay half awake, he said: What impudence! Dantila kissed the Queen.
When the King heard this, he jumped up in a hurry, crying “~ come, come! What is it that you were muttering? Has the Queen been kissed by Dantila?”
“O King! I was up all night as I was gambling and I am overtaken by sleep even when I sweep. I do not know what I said”. Replied Gorambha.
The jealous King thought that it was possible that the sweeper had seen Dantila with the Queen, as Gorambha had access to his palace. He also remembered wise men saying that men were likely to speak the truth in their sleep (or when they are drunk) about what they did, saw and desired in the day. Convinced that Dantila had indeed embraced the Queen, the King stripped Dantila of his administrative position, and forbade his entrance in to either the court or the royal household.
The next day, as Dantila was entering at the palace gates, he was stopped by the guards and told to go back. Gorambha, who was passing by, observed this and remarked, “Be careful guards! This fellow’s temper has been spoiled by the King’s favour and he dispenses arrests and releases at will. If you stop him, you will get a cuffing, just like me.”
Dantila understood that Gorambha was responsible in some manner for his banishment. He remembered the wise saying that even a foolish and base servant, if having royal connections, must be kept happy, for he can unduly influence the King. He went home and summoned the servant. When Gorambha arrived, the Merchant gave him a warm welcome and expensive gifts. Then seated him and said, “My good fellow, I did not drive you out by the order of the King. It was because I saw you sitting in a seat meant for noblemen, where you did not belong, in that I humiliated you.”
Now Gorambha was intensely satisfied at receiving the gifts and said “Friend Merchant, I forgive you. You will soon see the reward of the honour you have shown me.” With this he departed in high spirits.
The next morning, as he swept the King’s chamber, he mumbled, What intelligence! Our King eats a cucumber in the loo.”
The King, lying in his bed, overheard this mumbling and was furious. “What nonsense are you talking? When have you ever seen me do anything of the sort!” he cried.
“O King! I was up all night as I was gambling and I am overtaken by sleep even when I sweep. I do not know what I said”, replied Gorambha.
Then the King thought: “I have never ate a cucumber while engaged in that occupation. And since this fool has talked unimaginable nonsense about me, it must be the same about Dantila. If that is so, I have made a grave mistake in doubting the merchant’s integrity and taking from him his honours. And in his absence all the King’s business and city suffers.”
He called Dantila back to his court and re-instated him to his position as the administrator with full honour.
Moral: Treat everyone with respect. One who is too haughty to treat the lowly with respect will have to pay the price.