KING Krishnadeva Raya used to take regular walks in the palace garden, with Tenali Raman accompanying him most of the time. It was on these walks that the king discussed with Tenali the problems confronting his kingdom. This somehow was not acceptable to the courtiers, who felt that he was being given undue importance by the king.
A few courtiers decided to teach Tenali Raman a lesson, little realising that he was not responsible for the king paying him more attention than others. On night, the courtiers stole in a number of cows and let them loose in the garden. The cows ran wild over the garden and trampled upon the flower beds and plants. Next morning, when the king went out into the garden, he was shocked to see its condition. He asked Tenali Raman if he knew how it had happened. Tenali Raman was no less surprised than the king. The king sent for the gardeners and asked them who was responsible for destroying his garden. The gardeners too were shocked but expressed fear that some mischief had been played.
The head gardener had been briefed beforehand by the scheming courtiers to take Tenali’s name. So when the head gardener was called, he unashamedly mentioned the name of Tenali Raman and added, “Tenali is the culprit and he deliberately did it so that you would not take a walk in the garden.”
The king became very angry and turned to some of his courtiers to confirm if Tenali Raman could have ever done such a thing! The courtiers who were against Tenali Raman unanimously held Tenali Raman responsible for the incident.
The king immediately ordered his treasurer to impose a fine of 1,000 gold coins on Tenali Raman. For three days Tenali did not attend the court. On the fourth day, he entered the court with a few milkmen accompanying him. The king was already in a foul mood and so he asked Tenali Raman why he had brought the milkmen to the court. Tenali Raman pleaded, “Your Majesty, before imposing a penalty upon me, kindly grant me a hearing.” He then explained how some of the courtiers had hired the cows from the milkmen and let them loose in the king’s garden.
On verifying the statement with the milkmen the king turned to the guilty courtiers and ordered, “You all will have to pay a fine of 2,000 gold coins each for your crooked act.”
He then called Tenali Raman near him and said, “Come here, I wish to award you something,” and taking out the pearl necklace from his neck, he gave it to Tenali Raman, who went home much pleased with himself. This made the courtiers all the more angry but then anger does not pay.