In a kingdom far away, there lived a thief. He did not work like the farmers in the field, or the shepherds in the meadows. He stole whatever he could lay his hands on, sold these stolen items in the market, and used this money to buy food and anything else that he needed. He never stayed in one place for too long. He moved from here to there, stealing from people wherever he went.
One day he entered a little town, and at the entrance of the town, he saw a large beautiful house. He knew very well that wealthy people with a lot of gold and silver lived in large homes. So, he decided to rob the house at night when everyone inside was fast asleep. When nighttime came, he carefully climbed over the tall walls that surrounded the house and started exploring the home. He was careful to be very quiet and had silently tiptoed into the master bedroom, where the owner of the house was sleeping.
On the table beside the bed was some beautiful jewelry and some money. He picked these up, stuffed all of it into his pocket, and was ready to leave when a large dog came out of nowhere and started to bark. At that moment, he was caught, the master of the house was a strong man and held on to him tight, and shouted out for the sleeping servants to call the police. Finally, he was trapped, and the thief was taken straight to the town jail.
At the jail, the jail guard came every morning and evening to give him his meals through a small opening in the door. However, the thief would never touch the food. This went on for seven days before the jail guard got worried. He wondered whether the thief had died inside the jail, so he ordered the door open. Once inside, he was truly shocked. He saw the thief sitting down with his legs crossed, eyes closed and palms folded together like a Brahmin. He seemed to be deep in prayer.
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At this moment, the present guard shouted, ‘you thief, why won’t you eat your food?’. The thief replied very calmly, ‘I do not need food anymore, I have found enlightenment, I feel no hunger or thirst. The prison guard was amazed. He ordered to send the news to the King about the thief that had turned into a Brahmin. When the King heard of this news, he was surprised; he wanted to meet this Brahmin, so the thief was brought to him. Like the prison guard, the King believed the thief’s words, gave him some money, and allowed him to be released, as it would be a great sin to keep a Brahmin in jail.
Soon the thief was free, and he was quite pleased with himself. He felt quite proud that he had fooled the important prison guard, and the powerful and wise King. He thought to himself; maybe he could stop stealing, and make even more money. So, the thief bought himself some Brahmin’s robes, prayer beads, Holy Books, and went about cheating people. He promised to pray to the Gods to solve their problems and took a lot of money in return. In this manner, he had cheated many people.
He became very confident; he thought he would never get caught, and he started dreaming of becoming a very rich and important man. One day he was imagining all the things that would happen when he would become rich. He dreamt of having a big home, many cows, and even marrying the King’s daughter. As time passed, his dreams seemed to be coming true. With the money that he was collecting by cheating the people of the town, he built a big house and bought 20 cows. In his house, he had servants, and at his gates, he had a strong guard. He had become the most important Brahmin in the Kingdom. When he had everything, he decided to ask the King for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
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He went straight to the palace, and the King welcomed him. He said to the King, ‘great King, I wish to marry your beautiful daughter, the Princess, I’m a good and holy man, and I will take good care of her.’ The King agreed immediately and called for the Princess, but she was not so happy at the thought of marrying this fake Brahmin. So, she said, ‘I will happily marry this holy and good Brahmin if he can pass a simple test.’ The Brahmin was not too happy about this, but he had to agree. Now the fake Brahmin had been fooling many people for many years. And he was now known to be very wise, with magic powers, so the Princess wanted to test his knowledge and powers.
First, she asked him what she had eaten for dinner the previous night. Now he knew that the Princess ate two chapatis, some vegetables, and a Gulab jamun for dinner every night, as he had many meals with the royal family before. So, he answered, ‘dear Princess, as usual, you ate two chapatis, some vegetables, and a Gulab jamun for dinner. But he was wrong; she had been ill the previous night, so she went to bed without eating anything. He had failed in the knowledge test.
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Next came the test of his powers, and the Princess requested that he should magically make a small golden idol appear in his palms. But all he could come up with, with his dirty tricks, was a gold locket. She said, ‘no, I want a gold idol of the village God and nothing else.’ But he couldn’t come up with it. His tricks were finally coming out in the open. The Princess demanded that he should be checked, and in his sleeve, there were all kinds of lockets and rings, and necklaces. The Princess was angry, and so was the King. She said, ‘you have cheated the people with your tricks, you say that you have magical powers, and you can tell the future, what happened now?’
The fake Brahmin was a thief once again; the Princess ordered the guards to take him away and lock him up in jail for the rest of his life. The King agreed, and the thief was locked away forever, never to be seen again.
Moral: Cheaters and liars are always punished in the end.