There was a harlot in the city of Kalyanapura, who was in the habit of fleecing a hundred pagodas from whomsoever might appear to her in her dreams. It came to pass that on a certain night a Brahman appeared to her in a dream. She described him to her servants, and told them to fetch him and extort the money from him. They seized the Brahman as he was going along the road, and told him of the affair, and demanded the money. The Brahman was very much troubled, and pleaded poverty, but they would not let him go under any circumstances. He accordingly represented his grievances to the king who sent for the woman and demanded an explanation of her procedure.
She replied that she demanded the money as the Brahman appeared to her in her dream. The king said that he would pay her the amount if she should wait a little. He accordingly caused a post to be fixed in the street and the sum tied to the hem of a garment and suspended from the top of the pole. He then placed a mirror underneath, and sent for the woman, and told her what he had done and called upon her to put her hand into the mirror and receive the money. She informed him of the impossibility of taking the money by putting her hand into the mirror, and requested the king to order somebody to climb up the post and bring the money down. But the king replied,”As the Brahman appeared to you only in a dream, you may take the money that appears in a mirror; I cannot order anybody to hand you over the bundle.” On hearing this, the harlot felt quite abashed, bent down her head and went away. It is, therefore, necessary that those who settle disputes should be conversant with tricks.
Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the painting of an Indian courtesan (c. 1880 CE). It represents a style of painting known as the Kalighat Pat, associated with the Kalighat Kali Temple of Kolkata, West Bengal. These paintings inspired new schools of art emerging in colonial India, in the province of Bengal.
- Folk-lore of the Telugus by GR Subramiah Pantulu (1919)