The Generous King :
Many ages ago the kingdom of Kalinga was ruled by King Amarnath. He had an able and capable minister called Jayakumar. King Amarnath loved his subjects and was very generous. The minister Jayakumar was proud to serve a king like King Amarnath. But he was also worried about the status of the treasury. He believed that since he was responsible for the able administration of the kingdom, he should always try to ensure that the king was not too generous. He believed in planning for any bad times that might come in the future. Many times Jayakumar tried to warn the king about the danger of being unnecessarily generous. But the king would not pay heed. Jayakumar felt that
the king did not consider him important. That is why he did not take him seriously. Jayakumar packed his belongings and left Kalinga in the middle of the night.
One day, when he was wandering down the sea shore, he saw a strange sight. A small island emerged from the depths of the sea. On it was a golden tree, full of leaves and fruits made of sparking jewels. To find out more, he swam out to the island. On the island, Jayakumar met a beautiful young maiden. She told him that she was a Naga woman and lived at the bottom of the sea.
“I come to the surface of the sea every day because I love your world. I have heard that there are kings in your world. I wish I could meet one. Any way, since you have
visited me, take as much gold as you want. But make sure you use it only for selfless reasons.”
The minister left the island with all the gold he could collect from the tree. He went back The Generous King. “O King Amarnath, I have just met a beautiful Naga woman who lives in the
ocean. She wishes to meet a king. She gave me all this gold and warned me that it should be used only for selfless reasons,” said Jayakumar to the king.
The Generous King Amarnath saw the gold. He said. “If I were to meet this Naga maiden, there would never be poverty in my kingdom. All my subjects would be happy and contented." When they got there, they waited for some time and at last the island surfaced again. King
Amarnath swam over to the island after asking the minister to wait there till he returned. On the island, the king met the beautiful Naga maiden. But when she saw him, she fell at his feet and wept and told him the story of how she was captured by a demon and imprisoned on the island. The demon had demanded a kingdom as ransom from her father for her release. But since he was not a king, she was waiting for a kind and generous king who would be willing to sacrifice his kingdom for her freedom. King Amarnath, who at first had fallen in love with her because of her beauty, felt sorry
for her plight and offered his kingdom to her. But the moment he said this, she revealed to him that she was actually a Naga princess waiting for the kindest hearted and loving king in the world. It was destined that the two should marry and he become the king of the Nagas.
They both submerged into the sea and never to come back again. Jayakumar waited
for a long time, but when the king did not return, killed himself.
At this point Betal ended his story and asked King Vikram, “Now tell me O King, who was responsible for the death of the loyal minister?
King Vikram said, “The minister was responsible for his own death. If he had not walked
away from his duty, he would have never come across the island. As for King Amarnath, he was faultless. He only moved on to a better station in life as a reward for being a good and selfless man. The Naga princess was also not at fault. She only did what she had to do to ensure that she could have a worthy husband and that her kingdom could have the best ruler.”
Betal said, ‘‘You are right but it is really a pity that you know all the answers.”
Betal then flew back to the banyan tree and King Vikram, undaunted by his repeated failures followed Betal back to the tree to continue with his effort.
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