THE EARTH SWALLOWS TENALIRAMA!

One day, a crook disguised himself as a sage and came to Vijayanagar. He cheated people by selling them a medicine for happiness! He would make them eat a sweet mixed with dhatura (Its plant). And when the people became unconscious, he would rob them.

 Many a time, many people lost their lives after eating the sweet given by him. And those who were lucky enough to regain their consciousness would eventually turn mad.

The news soon reached Tenalirama. He thought, "I must teach this man a lesson."


 
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THE EARTH SWALLOWS TENALIRAMA!




One day, when Tenalirama was walking on the banks of the lake, he saw a man who had turned mad after eating the crook's medicine. The man appeared to be very angry. He was quarreling with his own shadow! When Tenalirama went a little further, he saw the crook, who was disguised as a sage. Tenalirama recognized the crook and so he persuaded him to go with him to the banks of the lake. The mad man was still quarreling with his own shadow. Tenalirama said to the crook "You are a sage... a kind-hearted man... a pious soul... I am sure if you chant some mantras and tap this mad man on his head, he will be cured of his madness.


 
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THE EARTH SWALLOWS TENALIRAMA!




Without losing a moment, the crook gave the mad man to tap on his head. The mad man got so angry that he began to beat the crook He became so furious that he lifted the crook in his arms and threw him into the lake. The crook did not know how to swim and so he got drowned in the lake.

The royal priest came to know that Tenalirama was involved in drowning a sage in the lake. He went to the king immediately and complained, "Your Majesty, with the help of a mad man, Tenalirama has taken the life of an innocent sage by drowning him in the lake."


The king was shocked and angry. He ordered his guards, "Take Tenalirama to the forest and bury him in such a way that only his head should remain above the ground. Then crush his head under an elephant's feet. And put that mad man in a mental asylum."

Two of the guards took Tenalirama into the forest. They dug deep pit and buried him up to his neck. Only his head was seen above the ground. They then left the spot to fetch an elephant.


 
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THE EARTH SWALLOWS TENALIRAMA!




Meanwhile a hunchbacked washerman, who was passing by, saw Tenalirama and said "Hey, what is the matter? Why are you buried in this manner?" Tenalirama looked at the washerman and said "I am a hunchbacked man. A sage had told me that if I remain buried like this for twenty-four hours my hunchback will disappear. The time period of twenty-four hours has already ended. Will you please help me to come out? Let's see if my hunchback has disappeared." The hunchbacked washerman was only too glad to help Tenalirama. When he finally pulled Tenalirama out of the pit, he was surprised to see that the hunchback had disappeared!

The hunchbacked washerman said to Tenalirama, "Now will you please bury me with only my head above the ground? If I remain buried like that for twenty-four hours, I'm sure my hunchback will also disappear." Tenalirama buried the washerman in such a way that only his head could be seen above the ground. He then left the spot quickly. Now the two guards took a lot of time to bring an elephant. But when they did arrive at the spot with an elephant, they were alarmed to see that instead of Tenalirama, someone else was buried there! "Who are you?" they screamed. "How did you manage to bury yourself here?"

The hunchbacked washerman narrated his story to the guards. One of the guards said, "You fool! Do you really think this will cure your hunchback! Do you realize that you have helped a criminal to escape? Now we will crush your head under the elephant's feet."

 Hearing this, the washerman said "If you trample me to death, you will be in big trouble. If the king comes to know that Tenalirama has escaped, do you think he will spare you?'

The two guards were baffled. They did not know what to do. Just then an old man came there. Because of his old age, he was bent from the waist. He asked them, "What is the matter?"


The guards narrated the whole story to him. The old man said "First, get this washerman out. Then go to the king and say, After burying the accused, we want to get an elephant. But we took a long time to find an elephant. When we returned to the spot, we were shocked to find that the earth had swallowed the accused! Now whom should we trample under the elephant's feet?"

Now what had happened was that the king, in a mad rage, had given the orders to punish Tenalirama. But then he soon came to know the truth about the crook.

The king repented his mistake. He just couldn't control his emotions. He lamented "O my God! How could I do this? By now Tenalirama must have reached heaven. What should I do now?"

Just then the two guards came there. They said, Your Majesty, the earth has swallowed Tenalirama!"

The king delighted to hear this news. He said to the guards, "This is good news! Tenalirama has used his brains to escape safely from the jaws of death. But an accused has escaped because of you. Therefore, both of you deserve to be punished. But I am thrilled to know that Tenalirama is safe. And so I forgive your offense... but on one condition... You must present Tenalirama in the court."

Hearing this, the old man, who was bent from the waist, came forward. He bowed to the king and revealed his true identity to him. "Ah! Tenalirama..." exclaimed the king. He got up from his throne and rushed to embrace Tenalirama.

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