One day, a minister walks into the royal court and tells the king that a famous sage has descended from the Himalayas. He also advises the king that he is capable of making any wish come true and if he visited it would be good for the sake of the kingdom too. The king acknowledges this and decides to visit the sage along with Tenali Raman and the other ministers.
Soon, king Krishnadevaraya sets off to see the sage along with Tenali Raman and the other ministers. They find the sage seated next to a river, under a tree wearing a black dress and having long hair. He is immersed deeply in his meditation. The king calls out to him in order to get his attention. The sage awakens and tells the king that there is a traitor within the group of men who are accompanying him.
Naturally, the king is shocked to hear this and asks the sage to reveal the name of the traitor. The sage then manifests a tiny black box in his hands and hands it over to the king. He says that there is a powder in the box and after he applies it, the king will be able to see the face of the traitor inside the box. Just as the king is about to open the box, Tenali Raman stops him from doing so.
He tells the king that he has a box too which he wants to give to the sage. The king agrees to this and Tenali gives the sage a box. The sage takes the box and opens it. He finds a piece of paper in it and reads it. After reading it, the sage’s face becomes pale and he gets nervous. The king watches this closely and asks the sage as to what has got him so alarmed. Tenali then explains that the powder in the tiny black box is poisonous in nature and it was given to him so that when he applies it on the head, he will die instantly.
The king understood the whole conspiracy now and threatened the sage to tell the truth. The sage then blabbered that he was a spy from the enemy kingdom. He is then arrested by two guards and thrown into a dungeon. After this, the king asks Tenali as to what he had written in the piece of paper which was in the box. Tenali said that he had just written, “All your accomplices are in prison”. The king laughed at the wit of Tenali and praised him for saving his life and the kingdom once again.
Moral – One must always be careful when trusting another person.