Monday, January 7, 2008
The 3 Princes who were Blockheads
A Folktale from India retold by La
Once there was a wise king who had three sons, but they were………hmmm, well there is no nice way to say it, all three of his sons were Blockheads.
Not only did they know nothing (really I mean absolutely nothing), but if anyone
tried to teach them anything they closed their ears and their minds and sat looking
as dumb as, well as dumb as chucks of wood.
The king was in total despair.
Finally, at his wits end he called all of his counselors together,
and told them how worried he was about his sons.
"What can I do?" he cried.
The counselors began giving him all of the same old well used suggestions,more tutors etc.,
"No, no, no!", the king cried. "I have tried all of those things before!"
At long last, one of the counselors asked, "Why not trust them to Vishnusharma, the sage? It is said that he is so full of wisdom that he can make even the greatest truths clear to the mind of a child."
The king thought this a marvelous idea and summoned the sage from his hermitage.
When Vishnusharma arrived the king said, " I beg you, O Vishnusharma, waken the
minds of my three sons.
If you can do this and I will reward you with tracts of land."
Vishnusharma replied, "I have no need for land, but in six months time I will waken the sleeping mind of the three princes."
On hearing these words, the kings heart lightened.
And so the sage was given a small home in the corner of the palace garden.
The three blockhead princes had no idea who the old man living in the garden was.
In spite of themselves, they became curious about him.
And as no one would tell them about him, they spent a great deal of their time watching him.
Eventually the youngest prince asked the sage if there were lions and tigers where he came from.
The sage replied that there were, and quite naturally began to tell them a story about a lion.
Now it happened that above all else the three princes loved to be entertained.
When the old man, began telling his story the three sat with their ears and their minds open,
never suspecting that they were being taught anything by a story.
The first story ended in such a way that it led into another story, and the princes eagerly asked "What happened next?"
And so Vishnusharma told the second story, and the princes listened to him for the rest of the day.
When night fell, they made him promise to continue telling stories the next day.
The sage was wise enough to choose stories full of laughter, common sense, and wisdom.
The stories were full of wise saying from literature and the sacred writings of India.
After the first set of stories, the princes were overjoyed with their new friend and begged his to tell them the stories again and again until they knew them by heart.
Then the old man began another set of stories and so it continued for six months.
At the end of the six months, the princes who were blockheads, and proud of it,
knew all five sets of stories, and many of the wise sayings from literature and sacred writings.
And the princes who had once proudly closed their ears and their minds,
now permanently had their ears and minds wide open.
The king was greatly pleased with his sons and found that they were now ready to take their place in assisting him with the ruling of the kingdom.
The stories that the sage told to the three princes are in the Panchatantra, or Five Books, which has been translated into many languages.
So if there are any of you who desire a simple(?) path to wisdom you may read the stories in the Panchatantra yourselves.
Retold by LaurenLanita