27. King Chandra and the Monkey Chief

King Chandra and the Monkey Chief

Once upon a time there lived a king by the name of Chandra. He had a beautiful palace surrounded by a huge garden. In this garden there lived many birds. Even monkeys had their homes in it. The king had also

I a goat for his sons to play with. The goat had long wool like hair on his body. Being a glutton he would enter into the royal kitchen and eat whatever food was stocked there. The chief cook didn’t like this goat and would, sometimes, beat him with smouldering sticks to drive him out of the kitchen.

The chief of the monkeys had witnessed the scene many times. He was very intelligent. Seeing the hairy goat being thrashed with smouldering sticks almost everyday, he thought to himself: “This hairy goat, despite being thrashed with smouldering sticks by the chief cook repeatedly, doesn’t shun his habit. This may become very irritating for the cooks. One day the cooks might set the hairy goat on fire. The goat might rush into the stable with his wool like hair blazing and roll onto the hay in pain and panic. As a result the hay will catch fire. Thus many horses will get burnt. And it is said that the fat of a freshly killed monkey is applied to cure the burns of a horse. If such a situation ever arises, we monkeys are sure to be slaughtered.”

The chief of the monkeys, then, advised his followers to abandon the palace garden, as early as possible, But the other monkeys didn’t pay heed to his sincere advice. So the monkey chief decided to himself leave the palace garden and go to some other distant place, where he would be safe and secure. So he left for a distant jungle to live in there.

One day, shortly after the goat had entered the royal kitchen, a cook picked up a burning log and struck the goat with it. The goat’s hair caught fire. The goat rushed into the stable with his hair blazing. He rolled over the heap of hay to extinguish the fire but instead, the hay caught fire. The flames leapt up to the roof of the stable. Many horses were burnt to death whereas a number of them received burn injuries. The king was shocked to learn that his horses had sustained burn injuries. He called the veterinary doctor for treatment of the animals. The doctor advised the king to bring monkey fat. He said, “Your Majesty, if the fat of a freshly killed monkey is applied to the burns of the horses, they would be cured.”

The king immediately ordered for the killing of the monkey s. Soon thousands of monkeys were killed and their fat was applied to the burns of the horses.

When the monkey-chief who was living in some other jungle came to know of this killing, he became very sad. He vowed to take revenge on the king.

Once the chief of monkeys went to a nearby lake to quench his thirst. There, his attention was diverted to some footprints which were all pointing towards the lake, but not a single one was pointing away from the lake. Just then, a big black giant (Rakshasa) came out of the lake’s water, with a necklace of jewels round his neck. The chief of monkeys was frightened, but the black giant said, “I’m very happy with you. You were clever not to enter the lake. Whoever enters this lake is eaten by me. I can eat thousands of people at a time. I’m pleased with you. You may ask me for granting a boon to you. Please speak.”

“So listen!” said the monkey chief, “I’ve great enmity with king Chandra. He ordered the slaughter of my brothers, for the purpose of using their fat to rub on the burnt skin of the horses.”

“Bring the king and his men into this lake and I’ll devour all of them,” the black monster said to the monkey-chief.

“Please give me your jewel necklace,” the monkey-chief said. “I’ll bring you a lot of royal people for your meal.”

The black giant happily gave the necklace to the monkey-chief.

The monkey-chief put the necklace round his neck and went to the king’s palace. The chief of monkey told the king that there was a lake nearby and it was full of jewels. He said that he had brought one such necklace to show as sample. The king listened intently about the lake of jewels and asked the monkey-chief to tell more about it.

The monkey-chief said, “To get a jewel necklace, like the one I’ve, one has to take a bath in the lake before sunrise. So, please take all your men with you to the lake, Your Majesty.”

The king became very happy with this invitation. The next morning he set out for the lake with his family members and hundreds of his courtiers.

After arriving at the lake the monkey-chief said to the king, “Your Majesty, wait here. Let others go into the lake first to take the necklace. Since you’re a king, you’ll be presented with a special necklace.”

While the king waited near the lake, his family members and courtiers all jumped into the lake to collect the jewelled necklace.

The king waited for a long time for his family members to emerge out of the lake. But none of them came out.

In the meantime, the monkey-chief climbed up a nearby tree. He said to the king, “You foolish king! Your family members and courtiers, all have been devoured by the black Rakshasa living in the lake. You killed my family and I’ve had my revenge on you. There is a saying;’It’s no sin to return evil for evil.’ I saved you because once you were my master.”

When the king heard this he became sad and returned to his kingdom crestfallen.

Moral:- Tit for tat.

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