One day, a trader enters the court of king Krishnadevaraya carrying a big metal box. He requests the king to keep it in his safe custody as he is going on a journey. He says that the box contains his ancestral wealth and it is of great importance to him. The trader says that he will take back the box once his journey is completed. The king then orders the minister to weigh the box. The box is found to weigh about 10 kilograms. The king accepts and asks a minister to place it in the royal treasury. Another minister then objects to this by saying that the wealth of others cannot be placed in the royal treasury. He then slyly suggests to the king that the box can be kept in the custody of Tenali as he is trustworthy. The king too agrees without any second thought.
Tenali Raman then takes the box to his house. The trader then leaves for his journey. After a month, the trader returns from his journey and asks the king for his box. The king in turn asks Tenali to get the box from his home. Tenali goes home and when he lifts the box, he notices the weight of the box has considerably reduced. It is at this point that Tenali realises that this entire drama was planned to entrap the kingdom in some sort of trouble. He leaves the box and returns to the court empty handed.
At the court, the king asks as to why he has returned empty handed. Tenali replies saying that the ancestors of the trader are not allowing him to take the box out of his house. The king gets angry and he says that he will come personally and check the box. So, the trader and the other ministers too accompany them.
Once they reach the home of Tenali, they see that the box is much lighter than before and that there are a number of ants running around the box. The king opens the box to find it filled with sugar. He questions the trader as to how he can cheat him saying that sugar is his ancestral wealth. The trader hangs his head down and says that this was the plan of 2 ministers in his court, The king then orders the arrest of all 3 men.
As they return to the kingdom, Tenali explains to the king about why he lied about the part where the ancestors blocked him from taking out the box. The king then praised him for quick thinking that saved his honour.
Moral – One must never try to cheat other people for any reason.