A Tale of India - The Beetle and the Silken Thread
- This tale comes from India. The name of it is "The Beetle and the Silken Thread".A long time ago, a strange event took place in the city of Allahabad. The name of that city means "City of God".There was Rajah of Allahabad who was very greedy. He also had a quick temper and was easily angered. His name was Suraya Pratap, which means "As Powerful as the Sun". Suraya Pratap expected everyone to follow his orders. He severely punished anyone who failed to promptly obey. He would never admit that he was mistaken. His chief vizier was a man named Dhairya-Sila. Everyone liked Dhairya-Sila, for he was very trustworthy and nice to people. Dhairya-Sila owned a wonderful house and had plenty of wealth. His wife was Buddhi-Mati. She was a lady who was faithful to her husband and would do anything for him.Some people were jealous of Dhairya-Sila. They made slanderous remarks about him. However, Surya Pratap never listened to those false accusations and took the side of Dhairya-Sila.But one day things took a turn for the worst. Surya Pratap ordered Dhairya-Sila to do something that was very bad. Dhairya-Sila refused to do it and said, "That is not a good thing to do; if it is done, you will wish that you had heeded my advice. Your conscience will bother you for the rest of your life."Surya Pratap became furious. He called in his guards and had Dhairya-Sila arrested. Surya Pratap told the soldiers to put Dhairya-Sila on the top of an extremely high tower. Dhairya-Sila would be exposed to the sun and would have no food or water.The guards did not like the idea of doing that. However, Dhairya-Sila did not resist arrest and said, "Your Rajah has given you an order. You have to do what he says."So the soldiers took Dhairya-Sila to the hign tower and he was put on top of it. Dhairya-Sila knew that it would be no easy matter to escape.Buddhi-Mati was very upset when her husband did not come home that evening. She knew that something bad was happening. Buddhi-Mati went out in public with her veil concealing her face. She overheard people talking and learned that her husband was on top of the tower.Buddhi-Mati went to the tower at midnight. She called out, "Are you still alive?""I am," said Dhairya-Sila. "There is a way that you can help me. Come here tommorow night. Bring a beetle, a silk thread that is sixty yards long, cotton string that is also sixty yards in length, sixty yards of twine that is very strong, sixty yards of rope, and a drop of honey."The requests sounded strange and Buddhi-Mati asked why Dhairya-Sila needed those items. He said, "I do not have time to explain now. Go and get some sleep. Please bring those things tomorrow night."Buddhi-Mati went home and lay down to sleep. In the morning she got all the things that her husband had requested. Buddhi-Mati felt especially puzzled about why he wanted the beetle and the honey.Night came and Buddhi-Mati brought the items to the tower. She said, "I have everything. Are you all right?""Yes," Dhairya-Sila replied. "This is what you must do. Tie one end of the silk thread around the beetle. But leave the beetle's legs free. Put the honey on its nose. The beetle will not know that the honey is on its nose. It will crawl up the wall, thinking that the honey is on top of this tower. Hold the other end of the thread. Slowly unwind the thread while the beetle is climbing up. Please do not let it slip."Buddhi-Mati did what her husband said for her to do. Most of the thread was soon unwound. Dhairya-Sila said, "Tie the cotton thread to the end of the silk thread. Let it slowly unwind."The beetle arrived at the top of the tower. Dhairya-Sila held the beetle and untied the silken thread from it. He put the beetle in his turban and started pulling the silken thread up. He did it very gently. When Dhairya-Sila had the cotton thread in his hand, he broke the silk thread from it. He also put the silk thread in his turban. Then he said to his wife, "Tie the twine to the end of this cotton thread."Buddhi did that and Dhairya-Sila soon set down the cotton thread and the twine. The strong rope was the last thing that Dhairya-Sila pulled up. He tied one end of it to the iron railing and climbed down the rope to the ground.Dhairya-Sila and his wife embraced. He said we must give thanks to God for this."So they got down and made prayers. Dhairya-Sila said, "We need to take this wonderful little beetle back to where you got it."They went to the garden where Buddhi-Mati had found the beetle. Buddhi-Mati set it on the ground. Dhairya-Sila said, "We must never tell anyone how I escaped."The Rajah was now regretting what he had done. Suraya Pratap knew that he should never have ordered the guards to put his vizier on the tower. One of his servants suddenly entered the room and said, "Your vizier Dhairya-Sila is here. He wants to talk to you.""Tell him to come in here," said Suraya Pratap. In a few minutes Dhairya-Sila came into the chamber. The Rajah was actually happy to see his vizier, but he pretended to be angry."Why are you here?" Suraya Pratap said. "Who helped you to escape?""No human helped me," said Dhairya-Sila. "It was God who came to my assistance. He sent a giant eagle to the tower. I got on the back of the eagle and it carried me to the ground below."Surya Pratap thought that a miracle had occurred. So he gave Dhairya-Sila back his position as vizier. Buddhi-Mati felt that her husband should have told the Rajah how he really escaped. The truth eventually came out, but no one could really do anything about the fact that Dhairya-Sila had lied. However, Dhairya-Sila's conscience bothered him about it and he was not as happy as he had been before.Dhairya-Sila died many years later. His son became the new vizier.Neal Robbins
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