One day, Tenali Raman and his wife were on their way to Hampi. They stopped at a village on the way to rest and drink water and found the entire village had gathered to watch a weightlifter who was putting on a performance. With his big arms and bulging muscles, he picked up a 200 kg bag of rice with ease.
Tenali was very impressed and exclaimed, “You are very strong! Look how easily you lifted that bag! But I can hold up something heavier! I will carry this hill on my bare shoulders!”
“How long did it take you to prepare?”, Tenali asked the weightlifter.
To which he replied, “3 months of hard work!”
“Since I will be carrying a heavier weight, I will need 6 months to prepare!”, proclaimed Tenali. “And to help me prepare, I will need a comfortable place to stay, nourishing food to eat and daily massages!”
Eager to see Tenali perform this feat, the villagers agreed to host him and his wife. Each day, he was being brought food and given massages. Tenali and his wife spent 6 months living in luxury while being waited on hand and foot.
When the day finally arrived, the entire village gathered at the base of the hill, waiting to see what Tenali would do. Tenali stood next to the village chief and said, “Well, give it to me, then?”
“Give you what?”, the chief asked, looking confused. “You are supposed to pick up the hill!”
“I never said I would pick up the hill, I said I would carry it on my shoulders. Do you not have someone who can pick it up and place it on my shoulders?”
The village chief began to laugh as he realized what Tenali had done. “I bow down to you and your intelligence. A man of your wit and acumen should not be asked to carry such a lowly hill!”