Obtining Absolute License to Make Jokes
One day Tennalirama thought within himself:- “However clever I may be, as the Rayar and his preceptor often get out of temper on account of my jests, I may any day get into serious trouble and even lose my life. Therefore it is safe to be provided beforehand with some means of escape.” Thus thinking he went to the preceptor of the Rayar, and feigning great attachment to him for some days, secured his confidence. Then he said to the preceptor:- “From the northern country, there have come to my house a man and his wife. How can I describe the beauty of that woman? I do not believe that there is any woman equal to her in all the fifty-six countries.” Hearing this the preceptor said: “Will you contrive to introduce me to her?” The jester said: “Her husband is always with her and so it is very difficult. But if you attire yourself like a woman and come to my house after 10th nalikai. I shall without arousing any suspicion in her husband’s mind arrange an interview between you.” After this he said the same thing to the Rayar-that a woman had come to his house, &c. &c.-exactly as he had said to the preceptor. The Rayar said: “Then such a woman must be of service to me for once at least.” The jester said: “You had better come to my house to-night after 15th nalikai putting on the dress of a woman. I shall, before that time, have got everything ready.” The preceptor came at the fixed time. The jester arranged a cot and a cushion in a room and made him lie there. The Rayar came after. The jester took him to that very room and said”- “The woman about whom I spoke is in this room. You can go in.” As soon as he was the Rayar well in, the jester closed the door and secured it on the outside. And inside when the men met with amorous intentions each taking the other to be a woman, the Rayar came to know his preceptor, and the preceptor the Rayar. Both were ashamed. They became furious with Tennalirama and asked him to open the door. He would not do so for a very long time. At last they spoke sweet words and implored him. Then Tennalirama said to both of them:- “Whatever faults I may commit from to-day with regard to either or both of you, if you both promise, in the name of God, to excuse those faults up to the limit of a hundred for each day, I shall open the door.” And they both solemnly swore to the effect. Then Tennalirama opened the door and sent them away with many apologies.