Saturday, July 30, 2016

TENALI RAMA’S CAT









Pic.: Vincent D'Souza


Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found it very useful – was telling a nice story in two tenses… Past and Present. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people who were earnest to improve their English with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and tell it to someone.

I, often, recount this Tenali tale to some of my students… to remind them, that, the cats, which are over-fed with milk, are least interested in catching the mice!



TENALI RAMA’S CAT


PAST:

Once, the King of Vijayanagara,  Krishnadeva Raya, began to receive many complaints from the poor farmers in his kingdom. The mice were destroying their crop and they wanted their King to do something about it.

After consulting his advisors, the King imported hundreds of cats from Persia to end the mice menace. He also arranged for plenty of cows. He handed to each of his farmers a cat and a cow and declared, “See that the cat is fed well with cow’s milk; every month there will be an inspection to check whether the cat is maintained hale and hearty or not. If not, punishment will be meted out!”

Not wanting to invite their King’s ire, the farmers began to feed their cats with ample milk. When King’s officers came to inspect, they were delighted to behold very, very happy and flabby cats in the entire kingdom.  However, there was one case that certainly deserved King’s punishment… and, it was Tenali Rama. His cat was all skin and bones!

Krishnadeva Raya was furious. He immediately summoned Tenali. “Why is your cat in such a sorry state? Why did you fail to feed it well?” the King thundered.

“How could I feed milk to my cat, Your Majesty,” Tenali said to his King meekly, “when she is unwilling to drink it?”

“Impossible,” reacted the King showing even more anger, “how the hell are we supposed to believe that a cat is not interested in milk?”

So, Tenali had to prove before his King and the court that he was not lying. A bowl of fresh milk of his cow was placed in front of everyone. Then, he brought his skinny cat and kept her near the bowl. As soon as the cat saw the milk bowl, it sped for her life!

The King and the courtiers were stunned!

The King was quick to comment, “I know what you have done, Tenali. You have served her hot milk and burnt her mouth; she is too scared of the milk now!”


“With all my due respect to Your Majesty,” Tenali said to his King, “don’t you think that the cats,  over-fed with milk, are least interested in catching mice?”



PRESENT:

(Once), the King of Vijayanagara,  Krishnadeva Raya, begins to receive many complaints from the poor farmers in his kingdom. The mice are destroying their crop and they want their King to do something about it.

After consulting his advisors, the King imports hundreds of cats from Persia to end the mice menace. He also arranges for plenty of cows. He hands to each of his farmers a cat and a cow and declares, “See that the cat is fed well with cow’s milk; every month there will be an inspection to check whether the cat is maintained hale and hearty or not. If not, punishment will be meted out!”

Not wanting to invite their King’s ire, the farmers begin to feed their cats with ample milk. When King’s officers come to inspect, they are delighted to behold very, very happy and flabby cats in the entire kingdom.  However, there is one case that certainly deserves King’s punishment… and, it is Tenali Rama. His cat is all skin and bones!

Krishnadeva Raya is furious. He immediately summons Tenali. “Why is your cat in such a sorry state? Why did you fail to feed it well?” the King thunders.

“How could I feed milk to my cat, Your Majesty,” Tenali says to his King meekly, “when she is unwilling to drink it?”

“Impossible,” reacts the King showing even more anger, “how the hell are we supposed to believe that a cat is not interested in milk?”

So, Tenali has to prove before his King and the court that he is not lying. A bowl of fresh milk of his cow is placed in front of everyone. Then, he brings his skinny cat and keeps her near the bowl. As soon as the cat sees the milk bowl, it speeds for her life!

The King and the courtiers are stunned!

The King is quick to comment, “I know what you have done, Tenali. You have served her hot milk and burnt her mouth; she is too scared of the milk now!”


“With all my due respect to Your Majesty,” Tenali said to his King, “don’t you think that the cats, over-fed with milk, are least interested in catching mice?”



GERALD D’CUNHA





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