A wandering youth once met Bholu, an illiterate villager, who knew how to perform a miracle. Everyday Bholu would go into the forest, stand under a mango tree and utter a charm. The tree would immediately become heavy with fruit. The next moment the mangoes would ripen and then they would fall to the ground. Bholu would collect them, eat some and distribute the rest among his neighbours who were poor.
Keshav the youth fell at Bholu’s feet, even though the latter belonged to a lower caste, and begged him to teach him the charm. The man reluctantly agreed but warned him, “You must never use the charm to satisfy your greed. Moreover, the charm will only work as long as you do not tell a lie.”
As soon as Keshav was back in his village he repeated the charm several times daily and got large quantities of delicious mangoes. These he sold in the market and in few months he became very rich.
The king heard of the miracle. He summoned Keshav and asked, ” Where did you learn your charm?”.
The proud youth, unwilling to confess that he had learnt it from a man of a lower caste, replied, ” O king, I learnt it after much study under a group of great scholars in a famous far away university!”
“Well, perform the miracle in front of us,” ordered the king.
The king, his family and a crowd of ministers and officers followed the youth into the royal orchard. Keshav selected a big mango tree and recited the charm. But nothing happened, for he had told a lie.
Greatly humiliated, Keshav confessed the truth to the king. The king said, “You have been ungrateful to your teacher out of vanity. Go and apologise to him and perhaps the charm will work again.”
The young man did so. But the charm did not work ever again because he had misused it to satisfy his greed.
First Published by National Book Trust, India.