The Brahmin and his Two Sons

At Madura lived a Brahman who had two sons. After hoarding up immense riches, he at last died. The two sons collected the money altogether, and effected a division of it equally. Each put his share into a sealed bag, entrusted it to an old woman, saying that they were going to a far off country on a pilgrimage, and told her to return the amount safely on their return, when they would both come and ask for it. This was agreed to.

After traversing a short distance, the younger brother devised measures to dupe the elder. He rose one night at midnight, went back to their starting point unknown to his brother, visited the old woman, and told her that while they were both wandering along, a tiger had put an end to the elder brother, and that that was why he was obliged to return alone, and requested her to return the money entrusted to her by both the brothers. The old woman was a little staggered, but considering that he was not likely to cheat his brother entrusted the whole sum to him. He took it and quietly went away to a far off place.

Then the elder brother, not finding the younger one, returned overwhelmed with sorrow to his own abode, went to the old woman, and said that he did not know what had become of his brother. He, therefore, called upon her to return the whole of the sum entrusted to her. The old woman told him what had happened a few days before; how his younger brother misrepresented the state of affairs, and had walked away with the whole amount.

On hearing this, he began to dispute with the old woman, and brought her before a court of justice. The magistrate heard both the plaintiff and the defendant in the suit in full, saw how the old woman had been duped, called the man and decided a§ follows,”The money was entrusted to the woman on the understanding that it should be returned when both of you came back and demanded it. It is not fair, therefore, to ask her to pay back the amount when you come and ask for it singly. If you are in need of money, therefore, fetch out your brother.” The man was unable to answer this argument and went his own way.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the illustration of a Brahmin performing the puja of Surya (c. 1851 CE). Puja is the daily worship of a deity, in this case Surya, the Sun God.

References:

  • Folk-lore of the Telugus by GR Subramiah Pantulu (1919)