There once lived a lazy brahmin named Khushi. Every day he would set out in the morning with his begging bowl. Some generous neighbours used to take pity on him and give him food. However, there were days when he didn’t get anything to eat. On those days he preferred to starve rather than going out and doing some work.

One particular day proved to be very lucky for him. A rich man in a generous mood gave him a pot full of flour. Khushi couldn’t believe his eyes. He thanked the man profusely and ran back home.

He hung the pot of flour just above his cot and lay down. He looked at the pot and thought, ” I wish I was rich, then I wouldn’t have to beg for food everyday”. Soon his imagination began to run wild.

He thought, “What if the country is suddenly struck by a famine. There will be no food. Food will become an expensive commodity. And I needn’t worry. My pot has enough flour to last for a very long time”. Then suddenly an idea struck him. “I should make some money while the famine lasts. I should sell my flour to the needy. Yes, Yes. I ‘ll go to the market and announce openly — Who wants to buy excellent flour?”

The Lazy Brahmin
The Lazy Brahmin [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik ]

“Soon people shall crowd around me. Somebody from the crowd will scream, ” I will pay you ten rupees for the flour.”

Another man will counter bid, ” I’ll pay you twenty rupees”.

“What, twenty rupees, a third man will say, I’ll pay thirty rupees for that flour.”

“I’ll sell the pot of flour for thirty rupees.”

“With 30 rupees in hand, I will buy two goats, one male and one female. I shall feed them grass, fatten them and breed them. My goat will give birth to little kids. I will sell goat’s milk to my neighbours. By selling milk I’ll earn money.

Then I‘ ll take my goats to the market to sell them. Looking at my healthy goats, a bystander will offer me 100 rupees. I will give him my goats. With hundred rupees, I can buy a silk dhoti and lots of other things. No, no, I will not waste my money. Instead I will buy two cows. I will get my cows mated and soon there will be cute little calves. I will sell cow’s milk and also make cheese and butter. I will sell cheese, butter and ghee to my neighbours. Then I shall make sweets out of the milk. I will buy a small shop and sell my sweets and diary products. Men and women, who taste my sweets will come back asking for more. Soon people shall throng my sweet shop. I will make lots of money. With the money I shall buy gold. I will soon become a merchant, a gold merchant.

I will build a big house with beautiful green lawns. There will be a pool in the courtyard filled with lotus flowers. White swans will also grace my pool.

Soon I will be a well-known man. My fame will spread far and wide. I’ll have rich friends. Then a rich landlord will ask me to marry his beautiful daughter. One look at the beautiful girl and I’ll decide to get married. We shall be very happy. Soon a son shall be born to us. I will name him Kusha. Later I’ll have a daughter. I shall name her Khusali. My kids will be very smart and naughty. They will play pranks and worry the neighbours. Everyday I shall hear complaints from the neighbours. One day I will get angry and I shall run after my kids with a stick. I will teach them to be well mannered. I will hit them with a stick.”

Saying this he picks up a stick lying next to the cot and hits the pot. Dhum…dhum…. The pot comes crashing down. Disturbed by the crashing sound, Khushi wakes up and looks around. He doesn’t see his wife, his kids, his house or his gardens.

All he saw was flour and pieces of broken pot lying scattered on the floor.

Adapted from Panchatantra