Truth Will Come to Light

In days long gone by, there lived a wealthy merchant at Delhi. One of his servants purloined some of the property in the house and absconded the next day. The merchant thereupon instituted every search for the thief, but to no avail. Not long after, the merchant chanced to go to another city for business purposes. He there saw the servant who had committed the robbery walking in the street, so he seized him and taxed him with having stolen the property and absconding; but the fellow seized the merchant by the waist-cloth and clamorously demanded his property, saying that the merchant was his servant, that he had stolen the goods out of his house, that he had been looking out for him for many a day, and had now found him. He wanted him, therefore, to hand over the property and then go about his business.

On this the real and the false merchants, still disputing, went before the magistrate and represented their grievances. The magistrate reflected a little, and ordered them both to put their heads through a window, and calling the executioner, said to him, “whoever is the servant, cut off his head.” Now it came to pass that the fellow who had committed the robbery being really the servant, and hearing that they were going to cut off his head, withdrew it, while the merchant, on the contrary, never removed his head from the window. On this, the magistrate discerning that the man, who withdrew his head, was really the servant who had robbed the house of the merchant, punished him severely.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows the painting of a khansama. Khansamas were male cooks who served wealthy households. Some of them also assumed the responsibilities of house stewards. This particular style of painting, known as the Company Style, deveoped in British India (during the 18th and 19th centuries). This particular painting, dating back to 1846 CE, is preserved in the San Diego Museum of Art. It is attributed to Muhammad Amir of Karraya.

References:

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