To Escape Scotfree

A certain king of the Karnatak had a flower-garden, in which he spent most of his leisure hours. He had a minister, whose son was in the habit of going daily to the garden and purloining the flowers. The king, missing a number of them day after day, told the gardeners in charge to be on the alert to apprehend the rogue and bring, him before him. They accordingly kept watch, caught the minister’s son red-handed, put him into a conveyance and took him to the king’s palace. The minister was at the time standing at the gate. Those who were near him told him what had happened, how his son had stolen the flowers, how he was caught by the gardeners in the very act of stealing, how he was being conveyed before the king, and wanted the minister to save his son from the infamy.

The minister thereupon loudly answered, “It is of no consequence, if he has a mouth, he will live.” The son, hearing this, quickly perceived the exact import of his father’s words, and immediately ate all the flowers. When they brought him before the king, he asked the boy why he had stolen the flowers. To which the boy said that they brought him there unjustly, for he only went to see the garden, but did not steal anything; As there were no flowers found upon him, the king believed this, and having punished the gardeners sent them away. Thus, a ready person may always get him self out of a scrape.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the gardens of the Ambavilas Palace, Mysore. Completed in 1912, the Ambavilas Palace reflected the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture that developed in British India. Also known as the Mysore Palace, it was the residence of the ruling Wadiyar dynasty.

References:

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