KING Krishnadeva Raya and Tenali Raman were taking a stroll in the palace garden of Vijayanagar Empire and got so carried away by their discussion that they stepped out of the palace gates.
While walking on the street, they heard a wife screaming at her husband for being a no-gooder. They went to the veranda of the house and peeped in through the window and saw the woman telling her husband, “You never do a piece of work, while I keep slogging from morning to night. I don’t know what sin I had committed to get a husband like you in my life.” The king also noticed the husband standing quietly without saying anything in reply.
They came out of the veranda and began to walk again. The king was surprised to see that there was a man who did not have the guts to speak out to his wife and feeling irritated at the man, turned to say to Tenali Raman, “What a coward that man was. His wife was going on raving and ranting but the dumb ass stood listening to her tirade.”
Tenali Raman gave a philosophical reply, “To maintain peace at home, which man would like to raise his voice in return?”
The king was not satisfied with the reply and muttered, “I have so many men in my court. I’ll ask them if they too are spineless souls like that man we saw just now.”
The next day, the king told Tenali Raman to ask all the courtiers the question he had in mind. Tenali Raman said to them, “Among all the married men present here, tell me who all obey their wives completely? Those of you who do so can come and stand on my left hand side and those who don’t, may stand on my right.”
All the married men went and stood on Tenali Raman’s right except for one courtier who quietly walked and stood on Tenali Raman’s left side. Tenali Raman immediately turned to the man who stood on his left side, to ask, “How come you are the only one to stand on my left side?”
The man replied, “My wife has told me to be different from the ordinary and not be a part of the crowd. So I am standing on your left.”
The king had a hearty laugh and said to Tenali Raman, “You made me laugh but I am sorry to find that they all behave the same way.”