THE kingdom of Vijayanagar was ruled by King Krishnadeva Raya. His courtier Tenali Raman noticed him addressing an old woman as Daima and wondered why he did so. He could not help asking the king about it. The king replied that as he had been brought up by the old woman, he treated her as his mother and called her Daima. Daima had a son whom the king addressed as his cousin. The king was very fond of his cousin and many a times he would even forego visiting the court so as to spend time with his cousin.
The courtiers somehow did not like such attention to be showered upon the old woman and her son and eagerly wanted that the cousin should depart. One day, when his cousin had left, the king said to Tenali Raman, “You know, time simply flies when I am with my cousin! I don’t think you have a cousin; if you had one, then you would have known what a pleasure it is.”
Tenali Raman replied, “Your Majesty, I too have a brother.”
At this the king asked Tenali Raman to bring his brother to court so that he could meet him. Tenali Raman hesitated and tried to put it off for a few days. But when the king insisted, Tenali Raman reached the court with a rope in his hand and a calf following behind him. The king was surprised to see the calf and angrily asked Tenali Raman, “What is the matter with you? Why are you bringing a calf to the court?”
Tenali Raman relied, “Your Majesty, I have brought the calf because you had asked me to bring my cousin with me.”
The king asked in exasperation, “Is your cousin hidden inside the calf?”
Tenali Raman replied, “Your Majesty, this calf is my cousin. Since I was brought up on the cow’s milk, the cow is my mother and this calf thus becomes my cousin. I have brought the calf to meet you.”
The entire court burst out laughing and so did the king.