King Vikram was given the duty of bringing Betal to a tantric. Betal traditionally means ‘evil spirit’. Each time Vikram tried to capture Betal, it told him a story that ended with a riddle. If Vikram could not answer the question correctly, Betal agreed to remain in captivity. But, if the king knew the answer and still kept quiet, his head would burst into a thousand pieces. And if King Vikram spoke, Betal would escape and return to his tree.
The King of Adhak tried to help all his subjects to the best of his abilities. One day, an old man came to his court with his two blind sons.
“O mighty King, I feel my two sons will be a great help to you in your court. Though they are blind, they are gifted with their other senses. One son is an expert judge of horses, while the other can test any kind of jewel for you.”
The King was intrigued and agreed to employ the two young men in his court. A week later, a horse seller came to the court to sell to the King a horse he claimed was very well-behaved. The blind son came forward and began to smell the horse, much to the confusion of the court. When he finished, he said, “This horse will throw off any rider who is not his owner. I sense it.”
When a rider from the King’s stables tried to ride the horse, it threw him off and galloped away. The horse seller left the court, feeling ashamed.
A few days later, a jeweller came to the court of the King, bringing him the largest diamond the court had ever seen. The second son was called to examine the jewel and took it in his hands. Soon after he had touched it, he disuaded the King from buying it, saying, “Your Majesty, the jewel has been inauspicious for those who have worn it previously and if you buy it, it could prove dangerous to your well-being.”
And with that, the King asked the jeweler to leave his court. News arrived later that a King from the neighbouring kingdom had bought the diamond and fallen gravely ill soon after.
The old man returned months later to visit his sons. While he was in court, the King asked him, “I have seen the skills of both your sons, but what is your skill?”
The old man replied, “I can tell the reality of a man and yours is that you are the son of a thief.”
The King was enraged that the old man had exposed his truth and him and his two sons were banished from his court.
Betal then asked King Vikramaditya, “Who was to blame for the banishment of the three men?”
King Vikramaditya replied, “It was the King. Though he was offended by the words of the old man, he should have remembered that it is not his roots that defined him, but who he is today.”
Hearing those words, Betal flew back to his peepul tree.
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