Rearing A Colt

Rearing A Colt

The Rayar got a supply of colts and distributed them all in his town at the rate of one colt for each house. He also ordered that every one who got a colt should receive three pagodas monthly for grass, gram and drugs for bringing up the colt. Thus every one received a colt and began to bring up the animal excellently. Tennaliraman alone raised a small room shut up on all sides. He left the colt at large in that room and opened a gap in the wall just opposite to its face, and inside the room he dug up a small pit. Every morning he went near this room with a handful of grass and fed the animal through the slit by his own hands, and he poured a little water in the pit inside the room himself. He did this in the evening also. In this way he converted the three pagodas which he received monthly for rearing the colt to his own use.

After three years the Rayar ordered all the townsfolk to bring and exhibit their colts. They brought their colts as a ordered. All the colts were fat and fleshy with shiny hair – some skipping, some dancing and some jumping and running. Tennalirama alone did not bring the colt that had been given to him. The Rayar called him and asked: “Why have you not brought your animal?” And he replied “No one can approach and catch hold of my colt. If you will give me the help of the best of the Muhammadans under you, I shall go and fetch my colt.” And the Rayar gave him the desired help. The Muhammadan chosen for this duty had a slender beard one cubit long. The jester took him to where the colt was and asked him to look at it through the gap. The Muhammadan did so, thrusting his face in the gap. The colt thought that grass was being offered to it, and bounding suddenly caught hold of the Muhammadan’s beard.

The Muhammadans began to cry aloud “Allah! Allah!” Tennalirama ran to the Rayar at once and said: The colt has caught hole of your Muhammadan and will not leave him off: the poor man is crying piteously.” The Rayar went to the spot accompanied by Appaji and saw how the colt had caught hold of the Muhammadan’s beard, and how the poor man struggled with pain. When the wall was pulled down, the beard was easily released; but what was the Rayar’s astonishment to see that the colt that had caused so much trouble was scarcely able to stand on its legs! It was plain that Tennalirama had not been feeding the animal properly; and the Rayar demanded sternly which was the monthly allowance had gone. But Tennalirama knew how to answer readily. “You see how unmanageable the colt is, even when so sparingly fed; your strongest Muhammadan is unable to control it. If it should be well fed, I wonder whom you can find to keep and drive it.” The audacity of the answer astonished the Rayar out of his anger, and he and the others laughed till they nearly split their sides.

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