Tenali Raman Stories For Kids
Stories of mythology and history always bring us joy and wisdom. They are often used to teach little children different values and morals which would be tough to teach otherwise. One such tale used to teach children wisdom and to impart knowledge is the tale of Tenali Raman.
Tenali Ramakrishna was a poet and advisor to King Krishnadevaraya. He was known for his amazing wit, humour, and extraordinary intelligence. All the stories of Tenali Raman tell us about his relationship with the king, his wisdom and his problem-solving capabilities. Acquaint your child with Tenali Ramakrishna small stories in english. Here are some Tenali Raman moral stories for your little one:
Also Read: Short Panchatantra Stories for Kids
Who Was Tenali Raman, And Why Was He Famous?
Tenali Raman was a learned scholar and a poet in King Krishnadevaraya’s court. He was a minister in the court and was also one of the eight poets. He was famous for his wit and quick thinking. Eventually his stories evolved into Tenali Raman moral stories in English which are enjoyed by adults and children!
Tenali Ramakrishna’s Short Stories for Children
Tenali Raman’s elephant story is a story of wit and intelligence and is just one of the good stories. Such fun and interesting stories which throw light on Tenali Raman’s wisdom, brilliance, and acumen. Here are 20 Tenali Ramakrishna small stories in English for you to share with your little one!
1. The Thieves And The Well
Once when King Krishnadevaraya had gone to survey the jail, two burglars who were prisoners there, asked for his mercy. They told him that they were experts at burglary and could help the king in catching other thieves.
The king being a kind ruler asked his guards to release them but with a condition. He told the burglars that he would release them and appoint them as his spies only if they could break into his advisor Tenali Raman’s house and steal valuables from there. The thieves agreed for the challenge.
That same night the two thieves went to Tenali Raman’s house and hid behind some bushes. After dinner, when Tenali Raman came out for a stroll, he heard some rustling in the bushes. He at once perceived the existence of thieves in his garden.
After some time he went in and told his wife loudly that they have to be careful about their valuables as two thieves were on the run. He asked her to put all the gold and silver coins and jewellery in a trunk. The thieves overheard the conversation between Tenali and his wife.
After some time, he carried the trunk to the well in the backyard of his house and threw it in the well. The thieves saw all of this. As soon as Tenali went inside his house, the burglars came to the well and began drawing water out of it. They kept drawing water the entire night. Almost at dawn, they managed to pull out the trunk but were shocked to see stones in it. This is when Tenali Raman came out and thanked them for letting him sleep well at night and also for watering his plants. The two thieves understood that Tenali Raman had outsmarted them. They apologised to Tenali Raman and he let them go.
The moral of the story is one should avoid accepting false claims.
Also Read: Top 20 Short Moral Stories for Children
2. The Greedy Brahmins
The mother of King Krishnadevaraya was very religious. One day she came and told the king that she would like to offer ripe mangoes to the brahmins the next morning. The king asked his attendants to get mangoes for her. That very night, the king’s mother died. The king was very sad, but he remembered her last wish.
The king performed all the necessary religious rites. On the last day, he called some brahmins and asked them to suggest a way to fulfil his mother’s last wish. However, the brahmins were greedy. After a discussion, they told the king that his mother’s soul would be at peace only if the king donated mangoes made of gold to them.
The king invited the brahmins the next morning to give away gold mangoes to them. Tenali Raman heard this and at once understood that the Brahmins were greedy. He invited them to his house to teach them a lesson.
The next day the Brahmins were very happy to get the mangoes made of gold from the king. Then they went to Tenali’s house thinking that he too would donate something good to them. But when they went inside his house, they saw Tenali standing with the hot iron bar in his hand.
The Brahmins were shocked. Tenali told them that his mother had died after suffering from rheumatism. She always wished to burn her legs with the hot rods to ease the pain. Thus, he wanted to burn the legs of the Brahmins so that his mother’s soul could rest in peace.
The Brahmins understood his trick. Feeling ashamed, they returned back the gold mangoes to Tenali and fled from there. Tenali returned all the gold mangoes to the King and told him how the king had been fooled by the brahmins.
One should not be greedy and they should be happy in what they have.
3. Tenali Raman and The Cursed Man
In the kingdom of Vijayanagara lived a man named Ramaya. He was regarded inauspicious by the people of the town. They believed that if they saw him the first thing in the morning, their entire day would be cursed and they would not be able to eat anything throughout the day.
This story reached the king’s ears too. He invited Ramaya to his palace to know the truth. He ordered his attendants to make everything available for Ramaya’s stay in the room just next to his room. The next morning, the king without meeting anyone, went to Ramaya’s room first to see his face.
In the afternoon, the king sat down for lunch, but could not eat anything since there was a fly sitting in his plate. He ordered the cook to prepare lunch for him again. By the time, lunch was prepared, Krishnadevaraya did not feel like eating anymore. Since he had not eaten anything, he could not concentrate on his work. He realised that whatever the people said was indeed true. Thus he decided that a jinxed man like Ramaya should not live and ordered his soldiers to hang him. The soldiers didn’t want to hang him, but they could not disobey their king.
After coming to know about her husband’s punishment, Ramaya’s wife rushed to seek Tenali’s help. With a lot of grief and tears streaming down her eyes, she told Tenali Raman everything.
The next morning, when the soldiers were taking Ramaya to hang him, they met Tenali Raman on the way. Tenali whispered something in Ramaya’s ears and went. When the guards asked Ramaya for his last wish before being hanged, he said that he wanted to send a note to the king.
The guard handed over the note to the king. The king read the note in which it was written that if seeing my face, one loses his appetite all day, then a person seeing king’s face, first thing in the morning is destined to lose his life. So then who was more cursed – he or the king? The King understood what Ramaya meant and set him free.
Never believe in superstitions.
4. A Handful of Grain or A Thousand Gold Coins
There was a woman named Vidhyulatha in the Vijayanagara Kingdom. She was proud of her accomplishments in the field of fine arts and was arrogant too. One day she put up a board in front of her house. On the board, it was written that whoever would defeat her wit, intelligence, wisdom and knowledge in ancient books, she would reward that person with one thousand gold coins. Many scholars took the challenge but could not defeat her.
Days passed but no one could defeat her. One day a man selling firewood was shouting on top of his voice just outside her house. When this went on for quite some time, Vidhyulatha got irritated. She came outside and asked him to sell her the firewood. The man hearing that said that he did not want to sell his firewood in exchange for money but for a handful grain. Vidhyulatha agreed and asked him to dump the firewood at her backyard. The man insisted that she did not understand what he had actually asked for. He further told her that now if she couldn’t pay the exact price of a handful grain, then she must give the thousand gold coins and also take off the board asking people to come for an intellectual argument with her. Vidhyuulatha got angry and said, “what nonsense are you saying?”
The vendor replied that it was not nonsense, and she had failed to understand what he meant, and hence had lost her in the war of words.
When she heard what he just said, she got very angry. After a heated argument between the two, Vidhyulatha approached the Provincial Court. The judge heard what Vidhyulatha had to say. Then he asked the firewood seller what he wanted. He told the judge that in lieu of the firewood, he had asked her for a handful grain which means a grain which would fill her hand. Since she had failed to understand such a simple thing, she isn’t as wise as she assumes to be and therefore should take off the board in front of her house.
The judge was impressed by the firewood seller’s intelligence and wit and asked Vidhyulatha to pay him one thousand gold coins and to take off the board outside his house.
Tenali Raman had actually disguised himself as the firewood seller in order to teach the arrogant and snobbish Vidhyulatha a lesson.
You should be humble about your achievements and intelligence.
Also Read: Fascinating Stories from Ramayana for Kids
5. The Reward And The Punishment
When Tenali Raman first came to Hampi, he wanted to meet the King Krishnadevaraya. Leaving his wife at the temple, he rushed towards the king’s court to meet him. When he arrived outside the king’s palace, the guard at the palace gate did not allow him to enter.
Tenali Raman told him that he wanted to meet the king as he had heard that King Krishnadevaraya was very kind and generous. He said that since he had come from a far off place, the king would surely give him gifts. Hearing that the guard asked Tenali if he gets gifts from the king, what will he get? Tenali promised the guard that whatever the King gives him, he would share it with him. The guard then allowed him to get inside the palace.
When he was about to enter the king’s court, another guard stopped him. Tenali Raman promised him half of what he would receive as a gift. Hearing this, he too let Tenali in.
When Tenali went inside the king’s court, he ran towards him. The king got angry and ordered his guards to give him fifty lashes. With folded hands, he told the king that he had to share this gift with the guards who had helped him enter the king’s court. Hearing this, the king ordered the two guards to be given fifty lashes each.
The king was very impressed by Tenali Raman’s quick wit and intelligence. He gifted his expensive clothes and took him as his royal court jester.
One should not be greedy.
Also Read: Children’s Stories by Ruskin Bond
6. Raman’s Salutation To The Donkeys
The Royal teacher Tathacharya belong to Vaishnavite sect and worshipped Vishnu. He disregarded the Smarthas who were followers of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.
Since he looked down on the Smarthas, Tathacharya always covered his face with a cloth while going out so that he may not have to see the face of any Smartha. Everyone, including the king, was angry because of his behaviour. So, the people and the king himself requested Tenali to solve this problem.
So, after listening to everyone, Tenali went to Tathacharya’s house to pay him a visit. As soon as he saw Tenali, he covered his face. Seeing this, Tenali asked him why he was covering his face in front of his disciple. Tatacharya told him that Smarthas were sinners and if he saw their face, he would be a donkey in his next birth. Hearing this, Tenali found a way to teach Tathacharya a lesson.
After a few days, Tenali had accompanied the King, Tathacharya, and all the courtiers for a picnic. When they were returning, he saw some donkeys on the way. On seeing them, he rushed towards the donkeys, and he bent down to salute them.
Everyone, including the king, was shocked to see that. The king asked Tenali what made him do so? Tenali told the king that he was paying his respect to Tathacharya’s ancestors and forefathers who had become donkeys after having sinned by looking at the face of Smarthas.
The king understood Tenali’s humour, and Tathacharya was ashamed of himself. Tathacharya never covered his face from then on.
Never judge people based on their caste or religion.
7. The Biggest Fool
King Krishnadevaraya loved horses and had a collection of some of the best breed of horses in his stable.
Once a horse trader from Arabia came to the court of Krishnadevaraya and told him that he had some very good breed of Arabian horses for sale. He invited the King to see the horse that he had brought with him and told him that if he liked it, he would send for the other horses too.
The King loved the horse and told him that he would like all his horses. The King paid him 5000 gold coins as an advance, and the trader promised that he would return with the other horses in 2 days before leaving.
Two days passed by, then two weeks and still, the trader did not return. The King got more and more anxious. One evening, to relax his mind, he went to take a stroll in the garden. There he saw Tenali Raman writing down something in a paper. The King went up to him and asked what he was writing. He did not get an answer. The King further quizzed him. Tenali then looked up and told the King that he was writing down the names of the biggest fools of the Vijayanagar Kingdom.
The King took the paper from him and saw his name written at the top. He was furious with Tenali and asked for an explanation. To that Tenali replied that any man who gives away 5000 gold coins to a total stranger is a fool. The King then asked Tenali what if he returned with the horses; to which Tenali said then, in that case, that man would be a fool. He would then write down the trader’s name instead of the king’s.
Do not believe in strangers blindly.
8. The King’s Dream
One morning, Krishnadevaraya looked very worried. Tenali Raman asked the King what made him look so worried. The King answered that it was the dream that had been troubling him. Tenali further quizzed him about his dream.
The King told him that he dreamt of a beautiful palace floating in the clouds. It was made up of precious stones and had wonderful gardens. But suddenly the dream ended and the king was unable to forget the dream.
Tenali was about to tell the futility of such dreams when Chatur Pandit, another Minister of Krishnadevaraya told the king that he should chase his dream and make it come true. Chatur Pandit being a cunning man had plans to make the king build such a castle and taking a chance of the opportunity to fill his pocket.
Tenali understood Chatur Pandit’s corrupt plan but did not show his displeasure against the plan. The king asked Chatur to start work on the project the very next day.
Days went by, but every time the king asked about the project, Chatur would make excuses. He would ask the King a few more questions about his dream and then ask for more time and money.
One day an old man came inside the court of Krishnadevaraya and asked him for justice. Since the king was very just and honest, he promised the man that he would be given justice.
The old man told the king that he had been a wealthy merchant till a week back when he was looted and his family members killed. The king enquired if he knew who did so and he said that he did know. The King asked for the name. To the king’s astonishment, the old man said he had a dream last night and he saw that he was looted and his family was murdered by the king and Chatur Pandit. Hearing that the king got angry and asked him how his dream could be a reality. The old man replied back by saying that he was just a mere citizen of an empire whose king was chasing an impossible dream.
Getting this reply and on a closer look, the King could make out that the old man was none other than his very own advisor Tenali Raman.
It is best to avoid wild goose chases.
9. Tenali and the Great Pundit
Once, a great pundit (learned man) came to Vijayanagar. He approached the king and claimed that he was so knowledgeable that he could defeat all the king’s ministers in a debate about any subject.
The king accepted the challenge and asked his ministers to compete with the pundit. However, All the ministers were defeated as the pundit seemed to be an expert on every subject.
At last, it was Tenali Raman’s turn. Tenali showed the pundit a cloth cover in the shape of a book and told him, “I will debate with you on a topic from this great book called ‘Thilakstha Mahisha Bandhanam’.” The pundit was stumped, as he had never heard of such a book.
The pundit asked the king for one night’s time to prepare. However, the pundit was worried that he would lose the debate as he had never heard of the book. So he packed his things and left the kingdom quietly at night.
The next day, the king and courtiers heard that the pundit had gone away during the night. The king was impressed with Tenali and told him he wanted to read the book that scared the pundit away. Tenali laughed and said such a book did not exist. He unpacked the cloth cover only to reveal a bundle of ’til’ sticks and some sheep dung tied together by a buffalo-hide rope to form the shape of a book. Tenali had combined the Sanskrit names of the contents of the cloth cover to make up the book’s name – ‘Thilakashta Mahisha Bandhanam’.
The King was impressed with Tenali’s cleverness and rewarded him.
You should not be overly arrogant about your knowledge and wisdom.
10. The Cursed Man or King?
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Vijayanagara, there lived a man named Ramaya. There was a rumour was that if one saw Ramaya in the morning, one would be cursed and not be able to eat for the whole day. Hearing this, the King wanted to test it out.
The guards arranged for Ramaya and set up a room for him, right next to the King. The next morning, the King walked into Ramaya’s room to look at him first thing so that he could test the rumour out.
At lunchtime, the King spotted a fly in his meal and asked the cook to take it away and prepare some new food. By the time the lunch was served again, the King had lost his appetite and realised that this rumour was indeed true – the curse was true! He didn’t want his people to suffer and thus demanded that Ramaya be hanged.
Distraught, Ramaya’s wife went to Tenali Raman for help as she didn’t want to lose her husband. After hearing the whole story, Tenali Raman visits Ramaya and whispers something into his ear, right before he is to be taken to be hanged.
The guards then ask Ramaya if he has any last wishes. Ramaya says that he wants to give the King a note that the King must read before the hanging. The guards deliver this note to the King. The note contained the words that Tenali Raman has whispered into Ramaya’s ear – ‘If seeing Ramaya’s face, one loses their appetite; then a person who sees the King’s face, first thing in the morning, is destined to lose his life. Who is, therefore, more cursed – Ramaya or the King?’
Reading this, the King understood his mistake and set Ramaya free!
Don’t give in to superstitions.
11. Happiness Now
One day Tenali Rama and his friend were lying on a hammock and enjoying the gentle breeze of the sea. It was a beautiful day, and both men were smiling ear to ear to themselves. Seeing his friend, Tenali inquired as to what was making him smile. His friend replied saying that he was thinking about the day when he will be truly happy.
“When is that?” Tenali Raman asked. His friend went on to explain that he will truly feel happy when he has a house by the sea, a comfortable car, a big bank balance, a pretty wife and four sons who will get educated and earn a lot of money.
Interrupting this monologue, Tenali Raman asked, “After all this, what will you do?” To which his friend replied “After all this, I can put my feet up, enjoy the sea breeze and the sun on my face.” Hearing this, Tenali gave out a mighty laugh and said “But aren’t you doing just that now? Minus all the hard work!”
Be happy in the moment!
12. Tenali Raman Gets a Gift From Maa Kaali
Once, Tenali Raman was granted a wish by the goddess Maa Kaali herself. She placed two bowls in front of him. One bowl contained milk, and the other curd. If he drank the milk, he would gain knowledge, and if he drank curd, he would drink wealth. Maa Kaali asked him to choose one. Tenali Raman asked her if he could taste both bowls before he could decide, and Maa Kaali agreed. Before she could stop him, Tenali drank the contents of both the bowls. When the annoyed goddess asked him why he disobeyed her, he told her that there was no use of knowledge without wealth and vice-versa. She was impressed and blessed him to become a great poet who will be known for his intellect and sense of humour.
Never hesitate to take a bold step and speak your mind.
13. Bragging Soldiers Around The Campfire
One day when Tenali Raman was returning to Vijayanagara, he spotted some people sitting around a campfire and talking. He wished to rest for the night, and so he sat comfortably near the fire. After some time, Tenali Raman realised hat the men were war veterans and were narrating tales of their bravery. One soldier described how he single-handedly killed ten rival soldiers and another narrated how he kept an entire enemy regiment at bay during a battle. This cycle went on until none of them had anything to boast about. Just then, one of them turned towards Tenali Raman and asked him if he has any such tales to tell.
Tenali Raman replied saying he did and everyone seemed surprised to hear that he did.
Tenali Raman narrated that once while he was travelling, he spotted an unusually large tent. Out of curiosity, when he looked inside, he found the largest man on earth lying on the mat. Tenali Raman recognised him as the dangerous dacoit who had been terrorizing that part of the country for decades. The soldiers were dying to know what happened next.
Tenali Raman then replied saying he took out his sword and cut off the man’s toe and then ran for his life. Upon hearing this, the soldiers laughed and said that if they were in his place, they would have cut off the man’s head.
Tenali Raman simply smiled and sad that someone had already done that and that his head was lying next to his body.
We might have done great things in life, but we cannot underestimate others.
14. Tenali Rama Outwits The Guards
Tenali Raman was dear to King Sri Krishnadevaraya, but sometimes he would get on the King’s nerves. Whenever Tenali Raman disagreed with the king, the king would get enraged and have him punished for disobedience. One such day, the king ordered the guards to behead Raman with a sword in a single strike. Two guards captured Raman and took him to the riverfront to execute him.
When it was time for the execution, the two guards got into a heated argument over who would behead Raman. Tenali Raman intervened and suggested that they both should strike together. The guards agreed to this and made Raman stand knee-deep in the river. As the guards raised their swords, Raman screamed that he had one last wish.
The guards lowered their swords and asked Raman what his last wish was. Raman replied saying that he wanted the guards to strike him as he took Ma Kali’s name. The guards agreed to this as well.
Tenali Raman held his breath and shouted Jai Ma Kali as soon as the swords were about to strike his neck. Before they could touch his neck, Raman quickly immersed himself in the river. The swords missed him and simply clashed with each other.
The guards were preparing to strike again when Tenali Raman interrupted them saying that the King had ordered them to use only one strike. Now that they had missed, they couldn’t strike again.
The guards were now caught in a dilemma. Just then, a messenger from the palace came with orders of stopping the execution and to bring Tenali Raman back to the palace. As Raman stepped into the palace, the king embraced him and apologised for his angry outburst.
Never make decisions in anger.
15. Demon Chanting Hymns
Tenali Raman had clearly understood that Thathacharya was jealous of his achievements and was plotting against him. He was just a court poet, while Thathacharya was the royal family teacher and priest. If Raman tried to confront Thathacharya directly, it would ruin him and his reputation, just like a lamb smashing its head when it collides with a mountain.
After analysing the situation carefully, Raman decided to confront Thathacharya with intelligence and not by directly waging war against him.
Raman then started enquiring about Thathacharya’s weaknesses. In this process, one day, Raman spoke to Thathacharya’s night watchman Bhadrudu. Raman was carrying a small package in his hand when he spoke to the watchman. Raman offered him 100 Varahas in exchange for some information about Thathacharya.
Bhadrudu’s eyes sparkled when he heard about the 100 Varahas. It was equal to his salary of two months, and hence he instantly said yes. He started thinking about what he would do with the 100 Varahas.
Raman simply asked Bhadrudu about Thathacharya’s schedule after dusk. Bhadrudu did not sense anything malicious about Raman enquiring about Thathacharya’s schedule and immediately replied, saying that there was no daily night routine as such. However, twice a week, Thathacharya goes towards East Street after it is dark and returns in the early hours. He also told Raman that tonight was one such night where Thathacharya would be going towards East Street. Raman left there, warning Bhadrudu to keep their conversation a secret.
The same night, Raman reached East Street before Thathacharya passed through and stood under the shade of a big tree. After waiting for some time, he saw Thathacharya walking into the street from a distance. Raman started following him until he walked into a gambling house; this is what Raman was waiting for.
Raman decided to wait there until the Thathacharya came back out. Thathacharya came out from the gambling house just before dawn. Raman immediately greeted Thathacharya and told him that he now understood the saying “Demons chanting hymns” and threatened Thathacharya that he would expose his secret to everyone.
Thathacharya got scared and tried to persuade Raman not to leak his secret. Thathacharya started pleading Raman not to do so and that he would do anything Raman wished.
Raman thought that it was now time for him to take revenge. He told Thathacharya that he would forget about the gambling house if he agreed to carry him on his shoulders. Thathacharya agreed and started walking down a street which passed through a street close to King Rayalu’s bedroom.
King Rayalu was taking a stroll in his balcony when he saw Thathacharya carrying someone on his shoulder. He called out for his guards and ordered them to bring the man sitting on the other man’s shoulders to the court. He also asked them to thrash the man while bringing him in. The soldiers immediately sprung into action.
Raman realised what was happened and got off Thathacharya’s shoulders. Raman then pleaded with Thathacharya to let him carry him on his shoulders. Although Thathacharya was hesitant, Raman managed to convince Thathacharya to sit on his shoulders and they carried on down the road.
The soldiers appeared before them and threw Thathacharya on the ground. They then thrashed him and started dragging him to the court where the King was. When the soldiers brought Thathacharya to the King’s court, the King was furious. He asked the soldiers why they had dragged Thathacharya into the court. The soldiers pleaded with the King and said that when they had reached the spot, it was Thathacharya sitting on the poet Raman’s shoulders. Since they were ordered to bring the man sitting on the other man’s shoulders, they simply dragged Thathacharya to the court without giving it much thought.
Thathacharya was stuck as if he tried to narrate the whole story, the gambling house story would also come up. If that came out, he would lose his status. With great pain, Thathacharya admitted to the king that he was infact sitting on Raman’s shoulders.
King Rayalu regretted his decisions and asked the soldiers to leave without being punished.
Raman was glad as he had taught Thathacharya an important lesson.
Do not be jealous of someone else’s achievements.
16. Tenali Rama And The Cat
One day, King Sri Krishnadevaraya was sitting in his court when he heard a commotion outside the palace gates. He commanded his guards to find out what was happening. A guard brought in a man who identified himself as the village head. The king asked him what the matter was. The man replied saying that the village was infested with rats and that the rats were destroying the food grains and creating chaos. The man had come to ask the King for help.
The King assured the village head by telling him that he would consult with his courtiers and find a solution to the problem.
King Sri Krishnadevaraya ordered his ministers to arrive at a solution for the rat problem. One of the ministers said that since cats eat rats, they could solve the rat menace by giving a cat to each household in the village.
However, another minister enquired on how the poor would manage to feed the cats. The same minister suggested that they could give the villagers a cow along with the cats so that the cats would be well-fed.
The King agreed to this solution and the villagers were provided with cats and cows. As the days passed, the villagers fed the cats milk and the cats became healthy and lazy.
Tenali Raman observed this and felt that something is wrong with the solution.
The next day, Raman placed a hot bowl of milk in front of one of the cats. As soon as the cat spotted the milk, it tried to drink it but ended up burning its tongue. The cat ran away and never touched milk again. The same cat then began to hunt and the owner’s house was rid of rats once and for all.
One day, the King wanted to review the problem and ordered the villagers to get the cats to the court. The villagers complained that their cats hadn’t been hunting cats and told the King that only one owner’s cat has been hunting, thanks to Raman.
The King asked the owner if they hadn’t been feeding that cat milk, to which Raman replied that the cat refused to drink milk. Raman demonstrated the same in front of the King and then explained that he had placed a bown of hot milk in front of it. The milk burnt its tongue, and it has since stopped drinking milk.
The King asked why Raman did so to which Tenali Raman replied that the cats would only hunt the rats when they are hungry. Since they were drinking milk every day, the cats had become healthy and lazy and hence, they didn’t hunt. He explained that he had given the cat hot milk to prove just this.
The King understood the flaw in the plan and asked the ministers to find another solution to help solve the problem. He then rewarded Raman handsomely.
A wrong is wrong even if everyone else is doing it.
17. The Brinjal Curry
King Sri Krishnadevaraya had a very special garden where he grew a variety of rare brinjals. These brinjals were known to be quite tasty and were found only in the royal garden. The garden was hence guarded round the clock.
One day, the King hosted a dinner for all his courtiers and served a special brinjal curry. Tenali Raman savoured the curry and couldn’t forget its taste. After reaching home, Raman told his wife about the special brinjal curry and praised its taste. Tempted by the narration, Raman’s wife requested him to bring some of those brinjals home so that she could cook the dish.
Raman replied that those brinjals were grown only in the royal garden, which was heavily guarded. However, his wife insisted on tasting the curry and begged him to get those brinjals. Reluctantly, Rama agreed.
One night, Raman sneaked into the King’s royal garden and plucked a few brinjals. His wife was excited to see the brinjals and cooked the curry. She wanted their son to taste the curry too.
However, Raman warned her that their son was young and would maybe tell someone about the tasty brinjal curry. This would lead to us getting caught. Her motherly affection would not allow her to eat alone without serving the curry to her son, who was sleeping on the roof after finishing his homework.
So, Raman thought of a solution, went upstairs, and poured a bucket of water on his sleeping son. When the child woke up, he told him that it was raining outside and that it was time for dinner. Once indoors, Raman changed his son’s clothes and served him rice with brinjal curry. He called his wife, saying, “It is raining outside; let our son sleep in the room.”
The next day, the gardener noticed that some of the brinjals were missing, and he informed the king. The king was furious and took it as a challenge to find out who the thief was. Chief advisor Appaji suspected that only Tenali Raman would be capable of doing such a thing and told the king about his suspicion.
The king then asked his guards to bring Raman to his court. Once Raman was brought to the court, the king asked him about the missing brinjals. Raman replied that he wasn’t aware of the stolen brinjals. Chief advisor Appaji then suggested that Raman’s son be brought to the court. The guards brought Raman’s son to the court. The king asked the boy what he had for dinner the previous night. The boy answered that he had had brinjal curry, and it was very tasty. Appaji then told Raman to accept his crime. However, Raman suggested that his son might be narrating something from a dream he had.
Appaji then asked Raman’s son to describe everything he did after returning from school. The boy replied that after returning from school, he wet out to play, did his homework and then slept on the roof. His father woke him up and asked him to go inside as it had started to rain. He went inside, changed his clothes, had dinner, and then slept inside the house.
Appaji was confused on hearing the boy’s reply as it did not rain the previous night. So, everyone believed that the boy indeed had a dream about eating brinjal curry. Raman was freed without any punishment. However, Raman later confessed his mistake in front of the King. They forgave him as they were impressed by his intelligence.
One should never steal.
18. Tenali Rama And The Racing Horse
One fine day, an Arabian horse trader came to Vijayanagra with a shipload of the finest Persian horses. The King, who was an avid horse lover, bought many such horses from the trader. The courtiers, too, bought one horse each.
All this while, Tenali Raman was quiet and showed disinterest. Observing this, one of the courtiers asked Raman why he was so silent and why he wasn’t buying a horse.
Raman replied that the Vijayanagara horses were superior to the Persian horses. The King and the courtiers were surprised to hear this. The King asked Raman how he was so sure and if he could prove it.
“Certainly, your majesty,” Raman replied.
The king then announced that there would be a horse race between a Vijayanagara horse trained by Raman and the Persian horses trained by the rest of the courtiers. The race would determine which horse breed is superior.
The courtiers put in a lot of effort in training and feeding their horses. On the day of the race, the horses were lined up on the racetrack. Tenali Raman also brought his horse, which looked weak and malnourished. Everyone laughed and said that Raman would lose the race. When it was time for the race, Raman announced he would ride the horse. He then took a long pole and tied some grass to the edge of the pole. He mounted the horse and held the pole in front of the horse so that it could see the grass but not reach for it.
The race started, and all the horses ran swiftly. Raman dangled the grass in front of the horse. The hungry horse ran for the grass, but no matter how fast it ran, it could not reach the grass. The horse kept running as fast as it could, and eventually, it came first. Everyone was surprised by what had happened. The king asked Raman how he did it. Raman smiled and said that hunger to succeed is the only thing that can help anyone succeed. The king understood what Raman meant and rewarded him for his intelligence.
Always have a strong urge or hunger to succeed.
19. The Key To Heaven
In the city of Vijayanagara, there was a buzz that a great sage had come to the city. It was rumoured that the sage had magical powers and could grant any wish. Every day, the citizens of the city would gather near the temple to offer the sage various delicacies.
Tenali Raman heard about the sage and decided to see the truth for himself. The next day, Raman went to the temple and observed the sage whilst he pretended to be a disciple. The sage sat under a tree, wore a saffron dhoti, and had a long beard. Raman noticed that the sage was chanting a mantra and listened to him closely. Upon listening to the sage closely, he realised that the sage was simply repeating the same sloka over and over again. This convinced him that the sage was an imposter.
Raman reached out and plucked a strand of hair from the sage’s beard. He help the strand of hair and held it in the air, declaring that he had the key to heaven. People around Raman looked at him, perplexed. He then said that the sage was so powerful that if he kept the strand of hair with him, he would be sent straight to heaven after death.
Hearing this, other people rushed towards the sage to pull a strand of hair from his beard. Seeing the mob rush towards him, the sage ran away and never came to the city again.
The people realised their mistake and thanked Tenali Raman for enlightening them.
There is no shortcut to success; never be someone you’re not.
20. Tenali Rama And The Weight Lifter
Tenali Raman and his wife were travelling to Hampi when they stopped by a village at the foot of a hill. As they entered the village, they noticed that all the villagers were rushing towards the temple. Raman ad his wife became curious to know what the commotion was all about. They followed the villagers and saw a large group of people standing and cheering.
At the centre of the gathering was a weightlifter who was six feet tall. The crowd cheered as he stood at the centre, flexing his huge muscles. The bodybuilder lifted a huge gunny bag and placed it on his shoulders to exhibit his muscular power. He then started to parade around the crowd.
An old man remarked that the weightlifter was really strong as he could carry 500kgs of rice like it was nothing. Raman immediately remarked that that was nothing and that he could carry a thousand times more weight. Hearing this, the bodybuilder dropped the bag and gazed at Raman. The crowd was shocked too. Seizing the opportunity, Raman said that he could even carry a hill on his shoulders.
The villagers were even more surprised now. The weightlifter, however, burst into laughter. He challenged Raman to show them what he could do. Raman replied saying that he had said he could do, it didn’t mean he would do it right now. He asked the bodybuilder how many months of preparation did he need to be able to lift that bag. The bodybuilder replied, saying it took him three months to do so.
Raman replied saying he’ll need six months to be able to carry the hill on his shoulders and in preparation for it, he’ll need to eat a huge amount of food and have someone massage his body daily.
The village chief agreed to provide Raman and his wife with a house and everything else he asked for. He also ordered the bodybuilder to massage Raman’s body every day,
The village chief announced that after six months, they would all gather there again to witness Raman’s weightlifting feat. From that day on, the villagers took care of Raman’s dietary needs while the bodybuilder massaged Raman’s body.
Finally, the day had come, and the villagers gathered at the foot of the hill to witness the weightlifting feat. Raman entered and stood at the foot of the hill in a warrior’s pose and announced that he was ready. The village chief asked Raman what he was waiting for, to which Raman replied that he was waiting for his men to lift the hill and place it on his shoulders.
This made th village chief furious but Raman didn’t let him finish his sentence. He then reiterated that he had said that he would carry the hill on his shoulders and he was ready to do so once someone placed it on his shoulders.
The surprised village headman asked Raman who would lift it for him. Raman replied saying it was up to him to decide. After some time, the village chief came to Raman and said that a man of his intelligence could even carry Mount Kailash. He saluted Raman for his wit and so did the other villagers.
With quick thinking and intelligence, one can get out of any situation.
The wonderful Tenali Raman stories are more than just stories in English. His tales depict his wisdom, intelligence, and wit. So, narrate these stories to your kids and acquaint them with a clever man.