The King’s Cat
Once upon a time in Vijaynagar the menace of rats was increasing, the king, Krishnadevrai imported some high pedigreed cats to control the increasing number of rats in the state. Then the cats were distributed and each recipient was also given a cow to feed on the cow’s milk.
Tenalirama was also present before the king when the cows and cats were being distributed. So he also received a cow and a cat.
The very first day Tenali kept before the hungry cat a bowl of boiling milk. Since the cat was hungry, she immediately pounced upon the milk bowl but withdrew her mouth as it was badly singed because of the heat in the milk. The cat became that much scared that she refused to drink even the cold milk. so much so, that she wouldn’t even touch at all. Now Tenali was using the entire milk of the cow for his own and his family members consumption.
After 3 months, a survey was conducted by the royal order to assess the effect on the mouse by the cats presence. During the process the health of the cats was also examined. While the health of all the cats were robust and healthy, the cat which Tenalirama had had become very weal and emaciated. She was conspicuous by her poor health. Seeing the cats health Raja Krishnadevrai was very angry. He asked Tenalirama in a stern tone: “Tenali! It appears you were ill-treating the cat I gave you. She looks almost dead. Didn’t you feed her on the cow’s milk I gave you?”
Tenalirama said: “Sir, despite my valiant effort the cat refused to have even a drop of milk. She would shy away and won’t partake of milk at all. If the cat doesn’t like milk, how can I have fed her on it?”
Tenali! Thundered the king in anger: “Don’t tell me your concocted stories. Who would believe that a cat doesn’t like milk?” “Your Majesty! Said Tenali in an humble tone, If you want you can offer milk to the cat. If she accepts it, only then you can blame me for ill-treating of the cat.”
Immediately milk was brought before the cat. But seeing milk, the cat tried to run away and refused to have milk. The king was surprised but Tenali had proved his point. Later the king could find the scars of burn on the cat’s face. Then he said: “Tenali! You are very cruel! What did you give boiling milk to this cat to drink? You got her face severely burnt by your callousness?”
“No sir! Tenali explained: “I did nothing of sort. I did not force her to drink the boiling hot milk. I just kept the bowl before her. It was for her to see whether the milk was hot or cold.” Later, the king said: “I know Tenali that it is difficult to win over in arguments. But you must tell me severely as to why did you do so?”
Smiling, Tenalirama replied: “Your Honor! The cats can also fill their bellies by eating rats and other things. I think the cow’s milk should not be wasted on the cats but given to the growing children of our state!”
The king also saw great sense in what Tenali said and stopped the feeding of the cats on the cow’s milk.