King Krishnadeva Raya called his courtiers and engaged them in a brainstorming session. The topic of discussion was the changeability of human nature. Some of the speakers spoke in favour of the subject while others were against it. One of the speakers went to the extent of saying that human nature was like the proverbial dog'stail which could be made straight with proper effort.
King Krishnadeva Raya laughingly asked his courtiers if they too thought that the dog'stail could be straightened. The king got a mixed response. The king then turned to Tenaliraman to ask if he could straighten a dog'stail. Tenaliraman replied that he was willing to give it a try.
So the king asked one of his soldiers to distribute one dog each to the courtiers participating eagerly in the debate.
Next day, the king told the courtiers, ?You have a year'stime to straighten your dog'stail. If any one of you succeeds in his effort, he would be amply rewarded with gold coins and jewels as it would corroborate the view that if a dog'stail could be straightened, then human nature too could be changed.
Each of the courtiers thus left with a dog in their arms and went home to work in right earnest in straightening their dog'stail. Some of them hung a heavy weight on their dog'stails to pull it straight, some went to the extent of getting surgery done by their barbers on the dogs? tails, and some rubbed all kinds of oil to mould the tail. Few of them called priests and organised havans with chanting of mantras, convinced as they were that God would help them out in their efforts. But even after toiling hard for one year, they all failed.
On the appointed day, the king called the courtiers to ask them if they had succeeded in their efforts. He however found that all had failed. The king had some hopes of Tenaliraman succeeding, so he looked around for him. But Tenaliraman was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly, all of them were flabbergasted to see Tenaliraman approaching from far. He came empty handed. As he drew near, the king asked him, ?Tenaliraman, where is your dog??
Tenaliraman pointed towards a lean emaciated puppy sitting quietly in a corner. He dragged the puppy away from the corner and the courtiers found that the dog'stail hung lifelessly straight behind him. Tenaliraman addressed the king, ?Your Majesty, I have succeeded in straightening the dog'stail.?
The king was surprised to see the dog that seemed half dead. The king was moved at the poor dog'splight and scolded Tenaliraman.
Tenaliraman pleaded, ?Though I was feeling very unhappy at having to do this. An animal'snature cannot be changed, though its feelings can be numbed for some time. In the same way, human nature cannot be altered. We can only deaden the human feelings. As I could not straighten the dog'stail, I injected some tranquilliser into its tail, because of which its tail is hanging limp. But this is a temporary phase and as soon as the effect of the tranquilliser wears off, the tail will once again become crooked. This also proves that like the dog'stail, human nature cannot be altered.?