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The Wise Kanhu
by Ramendra Kumar

Once there was a King. The guard who was posted outside his palace was very greedy. His name was Vikat. Whenever any trader wanted to enter the palace to sell his goods, Vikat would stop him and say, �Whatever price you get from the King you have to share half with me. Promise me you will or else I will not allow you to go in.�

The poor traders would agree since they did not want to lose their business. No one even complained to the king for they were scared of Vikat.

One day a young Santhal tribal came to the palace gate. His name was Kanhu. He had with him a huge watermelon � possibly the biggest in the kingdom � which he wanted to sell to the King. The King loved watermelons and Kanhu was sure to get a good price.

Vikat stopped him at the gate and demanded his share. Kanhu argued with him for sometime and then agreed.

Now, Santhals were considered honest and innocent people, not used to the worldly ways. However, Kanhu was a wise young man. He decided to teach Vikat a lesson.

He went in and presented the water melon to the King who was delighted.

�Come on, young man, how much do you want for this lovely watermelon,� the King asked.

Without hesitation Kanhu said, �Fifty lashes with your whip your majesty.�

�What! Have you gone mad?� the King asked in surprise.

�Your majesty, your guard at the gate demanded that I should give him half of what I get from you. I want to punish him for his greed and dishonesty. What better way than twenty five lashes with the royal whip,� Kanhu replied with a slight smile on his lips.

The King understood what the young Santhal was hinting at. He ordered Vikat to be thrown out. In his place he appointed Kanhu as the palace guard.   

11-Jul-2004
 
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