Vikram and Betaal story- Vikramaditya dragged Betaal down from the tree again. As they set off for their journey, Betaal began his story.
Once upon a time, King Chandradhar ruled over the country of Vaishali. He was a generous king. It was said that, whoever came to his court seeking his help, was never turned away. One day, a poor Brahmin approached the king with his two young sons.
His sons were blind. After respectfully bowing to the king the Brahmin said, “Your majesty, I am so poor that I cannot afford to even feed my sons. They will die if we continue like this for a long time. Please, give me ten pieces of gold so that I may start a business of my own.”
The King immediately ordered his treasurer to give the Brahmin the ten gold pieces. The king asked, “When do you plan to return the money?” “Within a year your majesty,” the Brahmin replied. But the king was not satisfied. “And what if you disappeared with the money?” he asked again.
“ Your Majesty may keep my sons in the court until I return with the money,” the Brahmin offered. The King asked, “How could the two blind brothers be of use to me?” The Brahmin assured the king, “My sons have special abilities. The elder one can tell you the breed and nature of any horse that he touches and smells.
The younger one can identify and tell you about any gem that he holds in his hand.” It was decided that the brothers would live in the palace with the king until their father paid back the loan. One day a trader approached the king with a fine horse. The horse seemed quite healthy and strong.
The King had almost decided to buy it from the trader when he remembered about the blind Brahmin boy who lived in his palace. The elder brother when he touched and sniffed the horse told the king that the horse was a nervous one and would throw off anyone who tried to ride it.
The King ordered one of his courtiers to ride the horse. When the man mounted it, the horse kicked and snapped and threw the poor man off its back. The king was pleased with the elder brother and rewarded him handsomely. One day, the king wished to buy some jewels. He called upon the jeweller and asked him to show some gems.
The king selected a large diamond. But before he paid the jeweller, he sent for the younger of the blind brothers. The boy when he held the diamond immediately told the king, “The diamond is cursed. Whoever wears it will die soon.” The puzzled king looked at the jeweller for an explanation.
The jeweller confessed, “He is right your majesty. All the three previous owners of this diamond had died suddenly and in very mysterious ways.” The king bought a large ruby instead and rewarded the younger brother handsomely.
As the year ended, the Brahmin approached the king with one thousand gold pieces. The king asked the Brahmin if he too like his sons had any special ability. The Brahmin replied that he had. He could see a person’s past by holding his hand.
The king demanded that the Brahmin say something about his past. After holding the king’s hand for a moment the Brahmin said, “Though you are the worthy ruler of this large kingdom, your father had been a thief who had looted many cities.” The king was furious. “Liar! How dare you say such a thing about me, standing in my court?”
He ordered the guards to take the Brahmin and his sons away and though the Brahmin had told the truth, both he and his sons were put to death. ”
Tell me king, who do you think was responsible for their deaths?” the Betaal asked.
Vikramaditya answered, “The Brahmin himself was responsible for his own and his son’s deaths. He should have been wiser while telling the king the bitter truth. The king knew he was the son of a thief. But to have it told to him in public was embarrassing and harmful to his authority. It was understood that the Brahmin would have to face a death sentence.”
Betaal’s laughter echoed through the forest. “I am impressed by your judgment,” he said as he returned to the tree.