The Story of A Merchant's Son - Panchatantra Stories

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In a town, there lived a merchant. His name was Sagaradatta. He had one son. One day, the young man bought a book that was being sold for a 100 coins.

Inside the book, the only thing written was single verse. It went like this, ‘You always get, what’s coming to you. Even the gods can’t oppose the laws of destiny and so, I regret nothing and nothing astonishes me. What destiny gives me, no one can take away.’

When Sagaradatt saw his son’s book, he asked him ‘How much did you pay for this book?’

‘A sum of hundred coins,’ replied his son. ‘You stupid fellow!’ said his father. ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself. If you pay a hundred coins for a book with only one verse in it, how will you fare in business! From today onward never enter my house again!’ With these harsh words, he drove him out of the house.

Dejected, the merchant’s son went off to another city to settle down there.

‘After a few days one of the residents said to him ‘What’s your name and where do you come from?’

You always get what’s coming to you, he replied. And now whoever asked him the same question received the same reply. And so, the merchant’s son came to be known by the name of ‘Get-what’s-coming-to-you.’

One day, a young and very beautiful princess, whose name was Chandravati, accompanied by a lady-in-waiting, went to a certain festival in the city. While she was there, by chance her eyes fell on a very handsome prince.

‘The princess turned to her lady-in-waiting and said, find a way for me to meet this prince!’

“And so the lady-in-waiting went up the prince and said, ‘The princess Chandravati has sent me to speak to you. This is the message she sends, “The minute I saw you, I fell in love with you. Come to me quickly or I shall die.”

But how can I enter the palace to meet the princess? said the prince.

‘Well,’ replied the lady-in-waiting, ‘when it’s dark, you will find a rope hanging from one of the windows of the palace. You can climb up on it and get into the room of princess.

‘Well,’ replied the prince, ‘if the princess really wants me, I shall certainly come.’

“However when the time came, the prince thought to himself, ‘it would be very wicked of me to meet the princess like this, it is advised that a wise man should avoid doing anything which may bring dishonor, humiliation or exclusion from heaven.”

“And so, having thought the matter over carefully, the prince decided not to go to the princess.”

“Meanwhile, Get-whats-coming-to-you was wandering about in the dark, when he came across the white palace and saw the rope hanging down.”

“Curious to know what it was for, he caught hold of it and immediately climbed up.

When he arrived at the princess’s window, as it was dark, she took it for granted that it was the prince. She received him warmly, gave him food and drink and entertained him.

“Afterwards, she said to him, ‘I fell in love with you at first sight and I belong to you, body and soul. In my heart, I shall never have any husband except you. But why don’t you speak to me?’

You always get what’s coming to you, - replied the merchant’s son.

Perplexed by this type of curious reply, the princess took closer look at her companion and realized that it was not the prince at all.

She become furious and turned him out immediately, making him descent the same way he had come up.

Get-what’s-coming-to-you meekly made his way to an old temple nearby and went to sleep.

Now, a night watchman, who had made an appointment with a woman of bad character in the temple, woke him up and asked him, ‘Who are you?’

‘You always get what’s coming to you,’ He replied. Now, this watchman wanted to cover up his wicked carryings-on, so he said to Get-what’s coming to you. This is a very broken-down old temple, no one ever stays here. You had better go over to my house and rest there?

And he pointed out his house Get-what’s-coming-to-you agreed and went there.

However, he entered the wrong room. In this room, the watchman's beautiful daughter, whose name was Vinavavati, was waiting for her lover, with whom she had made an appointment.

When Get-what’s-coming-to you appeared on the scene, it was pitch dark. Thinking it was her lover, the girl married him accordingly to Gandharva rites.

Afterwards she asked him, ‘Why don’t you talk to me?

‘You always get what’s coming to you,’ He replied. As soon as Vinayavati heard this, she realized that he was not her lover at all but someone else, and she thought to herself, ‘Whenever you rush into something without thinking about it sufficiently, this sort of thing happens.’

Then she cursed Get-what’s-coming-to-you and threw him out of the house.

“When he came out, he saw a huge marriage procession passing by.

The bridegroom, whose name was Vanzetti, was coming from another village to get married.

“Get-what’s-coming-to-you joined the procession making its way to the bride’s house.

‘Now the bride’s father had got a special rostrum erected on the main highway for the marriage ceremony and the bride was seated on it in magnificent clothes and jewels, waiting for the bridegroom.

Suddenly, a mad elephant, who had already killed his master, appeared on the scene.

When they saw him all ran to safety. But the bride was too terrified to move.

‘When “Get-what’s-coming-to-you” saw this, he rushed her and said, ‘Don’t be afraid, I’ll protect you!’ And he took hold of her left hand and pacified her. Then he pulled a huge nail out of the rostrum and very courageously went; up to the elephant and ahhed the nail into him. As luck would have it, the elephant got frightened and ran away.’

‘After some time, the bridegroom, along with his friends and relatives returned to the scene. When he saw someone else holding the bride’s hand, he said to his father, ‘Look here! You promised me this girl’s and now you have given her away to someone else.’

‘Listen!’ replied the girl’s father, ‘I was so terrified when the elephant appeared that I ran off, like the rest of you. I really don’t know what happened during my absence.’ Then he turned to his daughter and said, what did happen? Tell me!’

She replied, ‘When my life was in danger, this man showed great courage and saved me. Now, I will marry no one but him.’

“By morning, the whole city was humming with the news. The king and the princess also heard about it and came personally.

“The night watchman’s daughter also heard the news and arrived on the scene. ‘What’s all this about?’ the king asked Get-what’s-coming-to-you. ‘Explain to me.’

‘You always get what’s coming to you,’ - he replied. “When the princess heard this reply, she immediately remembered the previous night’s incident and thought to herself. ‘Even the gods can’t oppose the laws of destiny.’

When the night watchman’s daughter heard his reply, she too remembered the previous night’s happenings and said, ‘And so, I regret nothing and nothing astonishes me. “And when the bride heard his reply, she said, ‘What destiny gives me, No one can take away.’

When the king heard them talking like this, he felt that there was something mysterious behind it all and he insisted on knowing the truth.

The princess and the two girls told him in detail exactly what had happened between them.

“With great pomp and ceremony, the king gave the princess in marriage to Get-what’s-coming-to-you and presented him with a thousand villages and all sorts of ornaments. As he had no son, he appointed Get-what’s-coming-to-you as his heir-apparent to the throne.

The night watchman also gave Get-what’s-coming-to-you his daughter in marriage, with a dowry such as he could afford.

The merchant also gave Get-what’s-coming-to-you his daughter in marriage and showered him with presents.

“When it was all over, Get-what’s-coming-to-you arranged for his parents and relatives to be brought to him and they all lived happily ever after. “And so,” continued the mouse, “that’s why I said - You always get what’s coming to you. Even the gods can’t oppose the laws of destiny. And so, I regret nothing astonishes me. What destiny gives me, no one can take away.’ “Now I had suffered deeply at the temple and I was very unhappy. I did not feel that it was worth staying in that place, that’s why I came here with Laghupatanak.”

“My friend,” said Mantharak, “this crow has been a real friend to you. He is your natural enemy and yet even though he was hungry because of the famine, he brought you here safely on his back. He could well have eaten you on the way, but he didn’t. He is your true friend. As they say, ‘When you are rich, all men are your friends, but when calamity strikes, Only a true friend stands by you.’ “So live here on the bank of this river and consider this as your home. Don’t worry because you are no longer rich, for they say, “You can only enjoy riches and youth, the friendship of the wicked, cooked food and women, for a short time. And, ‘Money is troublesome to earn and more troublesome to guard. Getting it or spending it, brings unhappiness. Money is a curse!’.”

“Now you, Hiranyak,” continued Mantharak, “are obviously a wise fellow, and they say, ‘A wise man uses his wits to make money but avoids being a miser, for he may be destined to lose his money — The art is in learning how to enjoy it. This is what similar learned in the deep jungle.”

“How was that?” asked both the mouse and the crow. And Mantharak told this story. THE WEAVER SOMILAK

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