The Prince Who Acquired Wisdom





There was once a Raja who had an only son and the Raja was always

urging his son to learn to read and write in order that when he came

to his kingdom he might manage well and be able to decide disputes

that were brought to him for judgment; but the boy paid no heed to

his father's advice and continued to neglect his lessons. At last

when he was grown up, the Prince saw that his father was right and

he resolved to go away to foreign countries to acquire wisdom; so he

set off without telling anyone but his wife, and he took with him

a purse of money and three pieces of gold. After travelling a long

time, he one day saw a man ploughing in a field and he went and got

some tobacco from him and asked him whether there were any wise men

living in that neighbourhood. "What do you want with wise men?",

asked the ploughman. The Prince said that he was travelling to get

wisdom. The ploughman said that he would give him instruction if

he were paid. Then the Prince promised to give him one gold piece

for each piece of wisdom. The ploughman agreed and said. "Listen

attentively! My first maxim is this: You are the son of a Raja;

whenever you go to visit a friend or one of your subjects and they

offer you a bedstead, or stool, or mat to sit on, do not sit down

at once but move the stool or mat a little to one side; this is

one maxim: give me my gold coin." So the Prince paid him. Then the

ploughman said. "The second maxim is this: You are the son of a Raja;

whenever you go to bathe, do not bathe at the common bathing place,

but at a place by yourself; give me my coin," and the Prince did

so. Then he continued, "My third maxim is this: You are the son of a

Raja; when men come to you for advice or to have a dispute decided,

listen to what the majority of those present say and do not follow

your own fancy, now pay me;" and the Prince gave him his last gold

coin, and said that he had no more. "Well," said the ploughman, "your

lesson is finished but still I will give you one more piece of advice

free and it is this: You are the son of a Raja; Restrain your anger,

if anything you see or hear makes you angry, still do not at once take

action; hear the explanation and weigh it well, then if you find cause

you can give rein to your anger and if not, let the offender off."



After this the prince set his face homewards as he had spent all

his money; and he began to repent of having spent his gold pieces

on advice that seemed worthless. However on his way he turned into

a bazar to buy some food and the shopkeepers on all sides called out

"Buy, buy," so he went to a shop and the shopkeeper invited him to sit

on a rug; he was just about to do so when he remembered the maxim of

his instructor and pulled the rug to one side; and when he did so he

saw that it had been spread over the mouth of a well and that if he

had sat on it he would have been killed [1]; so he began to believe

in the wisdom of his teacher. Then he went on his way and on the

road he turned aside to a tank to bathe, and remembering the maxim

of his teacher he did not bathe at the common place but went to a

place apart; then having eaten his lunch he continued his journey,

but he had not gone far when he found that he had left his purse

behind, so he turned back and found it lying at the place where he

had put down his things when he bathed; thereupon he applauded the

wisdom of his teacher, for if he had bathed at the common bathing

place someone would have seen the purse and have taken it away. When

evening came on he turned into a village and asked the headman to let

him sleep in his verandah, and there was already one other traveller

sleeping there and in the morning it was found that the traveller had

died in his sleep. Then the headman consulted the villagers and they

decided that there was nothing to be done but to throw away the body,

and that as the Prince was also a traveller he should do it. At first

he refused to touch the corpse as he was the son of a Raja, but the

villagers insisted and then he bethought himself of the maxim that

he should not act contrary to the general opinion; so he yielded and

dragged away the body, and threw it into a ravine.



Before leaving it he remembered that it was proper to remove the

clothes, and when he began to do so he found round the waist of the

body a roll of coin; so he took this and was glad that he had followed

the advice of his teacher.



That evening he reached the boundary of his own territory and decided

to press on home although it was dark; at midnight he reached the

palace and without arousing anyone went to the door of his wife's

room. Outside the door he saw a pair of shoes and a sword; at the

sight he became wild with rage and drawing the sword he called out:

"Who is in my room?"



As a matter of fact the Prince's wife had got the Prince's little

sister to sleep with her, and when the girl heard the Prince's voice

she got up to leave; but when she opened the door and saw the Prince

standing with the drawn sword she drew back in fear; she told him

who she was and explained that they had put the shoes and sword at

the door to prevent anyone else from entering; but in his wrath the

Prince would not listen and called to her to come out and be killed.



Then she took off her cloth and showed it to him through the crack of

the door and at the sight of this he was convinced; then he reflected

on the advice of his teacher and repented, because he had nearly

killed his sister through not restraining his wrath.





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