Rama and the red peacock
Krishna Deva Raya’s greedy minister, Chatur Pandit, arrives at the court with a red peacock.
Krishna Deva Raya: I have never seen such a creature!
Courtiers: We agree!
Chatur Pandit: Please accept this gift, Your Majesty! My servants searched the jungles of Madhya Pradesh to find this creature.
Tenali Raman (thinks): How can a bird so bright survive in the jungle? Other animals will easily be able to see it and kill it.
Krishan Deva Raya: Thank you, Chatur Pandit! How can we reward you?
Chatur Pandit: Your Majesty, a 100 gold coins will be enough, as I spent that to get the bird.
Tenali Raman: Your Majesty, I think we should observe this peacock for a while before we give Chatur Pandit his reward. I will go to Madhya Pradesh to get more birds like these.
Krishna Deva Raya: Alright, Tenali. You have 2 weeks.
Tenali Raman did not go to Madhya Pradesh.
Tenali (to his spies): Look for the person who has painted that peacock red.
Spies: Yes, sir!
The spies found the painter.
Tenali (to the painter): Don’t worry, I won’t punish you. Just paint another 10 peacocks the same colour.
Painter: Ji, huzoor.
Tenali Raman takes the peacocks to the court, two weeks later.
Krishna Deva Raya: Bravo, Tenali. Treasurer, give him a 1000 gold coins.
Tenali Raman: That is not what they cost, Your Majesty.
Krishna Deva Raya: What is your price then, Tenali Raman?
Tenali Raman: A bucket of water, a bag of red paint, and a gold coin for this artist.
Krishna Deva Raya (angrily): Chatur Pandit, I sentence you to…
Tenali Raman: Your Majesty, your desire for fame led you to believe a red peacock could exist. For a long time, there has been needless spending on such curiosities.
Tenali Raman: It is better that your subjects be prosperous, rather than a display of wealth. I request you to let Chatur Pandit go and reward the artist for highlighting this matter.
Krishna Deva Raya: You’re right, Tenali.
Chatur Pandit (falls at the king’s feet): Your Majesty, please forgive me.
Krishna Deva Raya: I will do so, but you are banished from the court for a month. And you must return the gifts you got earlier.
The monsoon arrived and the peacocks danced. The rain washed off their red colour.
Krishna Deva Raya (laughs): Look, Tenali!
The people of the kingdom danced in the rain.
The people (to each other): We are lucky to have a king who is not afraid to admit his mistake.
Chatur Pandit walked home alone in the rain.