The king’s condition

Contributed by : Yesha Desai   
The king’s condition

This is a classic story from Tenali Raman.

Moral(s) of the story: foolishness

One day, Krishnadevaraya saw a strange dream. He dreamt of a magnificent magical palace. It was made of dazzling stones and floated in the air. The palace had every comfort and amenity that one could ever wish for. It could be lit up with a thousand lights or made to disappear into the darkness in a jiffy.

The next day when the king woke up, he vividly remembered the dream. He summoned all his courtiers and told them about it. The courtiers sang praises of the king and his beautiful dream. The king made a public announcement: “I will give a hundred thousand gold coins to the person who can build me the palace of my dream.”

Everyone was startled at the king’s announcement. They knew that it was not practically possible to build the palace that the king wanted. But no one had the courage to say so. Many of the king’s well-wishers told him that such a palace can only exist in one’s mind. But he refused to listen and threatened his courtiers with grave consequences if they did not find someone who could make his dream come true.

The courtiers got worried and approached Tenali Raman for help.

The senior minister requested Tenali Raman, “Dear Tenali, now only you can make our king understand that his wish to erect the palace of his dream is absurd or else all of us will get a severe punishment.” Tenali Raman assured them that he would try to help them.

A few days later, a very old man came to meet the king in his court. He was crying for justice.

Krishnadevaraya asked, “What brings you here my good man? Tell me without fear and I assure you that justice will be done.” “I have been robbed, Your Majesty,” wailed the old man. “Someone has taken away all my savings and now I don’t have a single paisa left.”

“Who robbed you?” asked the king angrily. “Such a crime cannot go unpunished. You name him and I will have him hanged immediately!”

Your Majesty! I will tell you but first assure me that on hearing his name, you will not get angry and punish me instead,” requested the old man.

Yes, I promise,” replied the king impatiently.

“It is you, my lord,” said the old man in a trembling voice.

How dare you say a ridiculous thing like that, I will…,” began the king, but then he remembered his promise and calmed down. He asked the old man to explain what he actually meant to say.

“Your Majesty! Last night, I dreamt that you came with your entourage of ministers and soldiers and looted my entire life’s savings, five thousand gold coins!” said the old man.

“Are you a fool or completely insane?” roared the king. “How can you treat your dream as a reality? Dreams are not true!”

“But they are, Your Majesty! If your dream of a palace hanging in the air can come true, why can’t my dream come true?” retorted the old man.

And then, the man took off his beard, hair and stood before the king. It was none other than Tenali Rama!

He bowed before the king and said, “Your Majesty! This was the only way of convincing you that building the palace of your dreams was not practically possible.”


If people talk foolishly, you can use their own logic to show them that they’re being illogical.

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