One day a magician appeared in King Krishna-deva Raya'scourt seeking the king'spermission to perform magic in the court and enthral the courtiers. Initially the king was not favourably inclined towards it but at his courtier'sinsistence, agreed to grant permission.
The magician performed one trick after another and held the audience thrilled. The courtiers could be seen smiling, nodding their heads and looking with pride at the magician. Finally, the magician moved towards the king and said, ?Your Majesty, here is a pebble in my hand. Your Majesty may feel it.?
The king felt it and said, ?What is there to feel? It is simply a pebble.?
The magician covered the pebble with both his hands, blew into it and chanted some mantra. Then he produced another pebble and handed it to the king.
The king took the pebble and saw that it was a glittering diamond. He was stupefied at this. The courtiers exclaimed aloud, ?Wah! Wah!?
The magician now began to boast of the extraordinary powers he possessed and even asked, ?Is there anyone in this kingdom who can match me in my magical powers??
So thrilled were the courtiers at the magician'sfeat, that they wanted him to be employed in the kingdom. Meanwhile Tenaliraman had been witnessing the entire show with a grain of doubt and wanted to test how far the magician possessed the magical powers.
So seeking the king'spermission, Tenaliraman whispered something in the ears of his servant and said to the magician, ?Can you do something even with your eyes open what I can do with my eyes shut??
The magician was stung at such a question and replied stoically, ?What is there that I cannot do and you can do with your eyes shut??
Tenaliraman replied, ?If you lose, you shall be prepared to give up your head for execution and if I fail, the same fate shall befall upon me.?
By now, Tenaliraman'sservant arrived with a large dish covered with a red cloth. Tenaliraman uncovered the plate. It was full of red chilli powder. He took two fistfuls and rubbed them over his eyes with his eyes closed. Then he took out his handkerchief and wiped his eyes clean. He opened his eyes and said to the magician, ?Now it is your turn to do the same with your eyes open.?
The petrified magician realised what he had got into and refused to take the powder and rub it on his eyes. He conceded defeat and said morosely, ?I accept defeat. Here you can take my head.?
But the large-hearted Tenaliraman refused to take his head and said, ?I do not want your head to be chopped off. All I want is the reward the king promised to give me.?
As a parting gift the king gave a word of advice to the magician, ?Do not ever be too proud of your capabilities because you can always fail in whatever you may be adept in. Learn to be humble and mild; in future do not boast about your powers.?