The Raja's Advice





Once upon a time an aged Raja lay dying. Before he breathed his

last he sent for his only son and gave him the following advice. "My

son," he said, "never go on a journey alone; do not associate with

low people, for if you do no one will respect you; never confide a

secret to your wife; do not tell outsiders the affairs of your house;

do not let village affairs go beyond the village street, and never

get into a rage."



The son succeeded to the Raja and shortly afterwards set out to pay

a visit to his wife's relations. He started alone and after going

some distance he remembered his father's injunctions never to go on

a journey alone. He had gone too far to go back and he saw no one

within call, so he looked about and presently found a crab hole. He

set to work and dug out the crab and fixing it in his pagri continued

his journey.



By-and-bye he came to a river. Now in this river lived a crocodile,

which had leagued with a crow to destroy travellers crossing the

river. Whenever the crow saw anyone coming, it gave warning to the

crocodile, and the crocodile then seized the traveller as he entered

the river, while the crow pecked out his eyes. In this way they had

been the death of many travellers. So when the crow saw the young

Raja coming, it cawed to the crocodile, which hastened to the ford

and seized the Raja as he stepped into the water, while the crow flew

at his head. But the crab caught the crow by the leg and nipped it so

hard that the crow, in agony, called out to the crocodile to let the

man go, as it was being killed. So the crocodile released its hold

and the Raja struggled to the bank, and then caught the crow which

was held fast by the crab and wrung its neck. Then he went back home

with the crab, reflecting on the wisdom of his father's advice.



Later on, the Raja thought that he would put another of his father's

maxims to the proof and see what would happen if he told his wife

a secret. So he took a spade and buried an old earthen pot in the

corner of his garden. He let his wife see him and she promptly asked

what he was burying; he put her off, but that night she insisted so

much on knowing, that, after swearing her to secrecy, he told her

that a child had come straying to his house and he had killed it to

obtain good luck and had buried the body.



Time passed, and one day the Raja had a quarrel with his wife, he began

to beat her and she in return abused him and kept on calling out that

he was a murderer, who had buried a child in his garden. Their next

door neighbour heard all this and, directly she found the Raja's

wife alone, asked whether what she said was true. The Raja's wife,

being still in a passion, asserted that it was quite true. The story

was soon all over the town, and the townspeople rose and seized the

Raja and charged him with the murder. Then he took them to the garden

and made them dig up what he had buried and they found only an old pot.



So they had to pay him compensation for making a false charge, and

the Raja valued more than ever the advice given him by his father.





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