World Folk Tales – The Fortune Teller
When a man is forced to change profession to earn more money, he gets into a lot of trouble that puts his very life at risk!!
Once upon a time in India, long long ago, there lived a man with his wife. He was a woodcutter by profession and everyday he would sell the wood he chopped and bring back a few copper coins to his wife. One day however, his wife was very upset and she said that she did not want these copper coins anymore. She then compared her husband to the man next door who brought gold coins daily to the house as he was a fortune teller. The wife then forced her husband who was a woodcutter to become a fortune teller. The man pleaded and argued, but the wife blackmailed him by saying that she would leave him unless he became a fortune teller and brought home gold coins. With no other choice in sight, the man decided to become a fortune teller.
Next day, the man went to the market and bartered his axe for a dice. Taking the dice, he went and sat down in front of a vegetable shop and waited for his first client. After a long day, his first client came up to him and it was a woman. She claimed to be the minister’s wife and asked him to find her precious lost ring, which was a gift by the king himself. The man did not know what to do and he gazed at the woman’s saree. He suddenly found a hole in the saree and became fixated on it. In this state of mind, he accidentally dropped the dice from his hand and uttered the word “hole”. The woman immediately rushed back to her home and in a short while, she came back to the man. She told him that she found the ring in a hole in the wall. The man himself did not know what to make of the situation but he decided to play along. The woman then gave a small bag of gold coins as payment to the “fortune teller” and after thanking him, she went home.
That day, when the man went to his wife and gave her the bag of gold coins, she was very happy and more greed filled her mind. The man then told her that he was lucky to not get caught this time and said that he was not going to tell fortunes from tomorrow. The wife again started to blackmail her husband and without a choice, he returned to his new profession the next day.
At this same time, it so happened that the king’s crown went missing from the palace and he was very anxious. The king had already consulted all the famous fortune tellers in his kingdom, but they all were of no use. The king then consulted his minister for advice and at this time, he told the king about the fortune teller who had found his wife’s ring. After some thought, the king told the minister to bring him to the palace the next day.
Next morning, the minister brought the “fortune teller” to the court and the king explained to him about what had taken place. The man was nervous and did not know what to do. After this, the king said that if he was unsuccessful, he would chop off his nose and poke his eyes. Now, the man started to sweat and shiver and after accepting the task with no other choice, he left the palace.
The scared man now did not know what to do and in his fear, he decided to hang himself in the forest. As the man walked he kept mumbling the words “eyes” and “nose” to himself in his mother tongue which was Tamil. The man uttered “Kanna” and “Mukha” and in this state of delirium, he found some rope and taking it, started to walk towards a big tree.
Under the big tree, 2 men were lying down with big bags beside them. As soon as they saw a man coming towards them with a rope saying “Kanna” and “Mukha”, they got so frightened that they went and fell at the feet of the man. They held the man’s feet and asked for his forgiveness. The man finally returned to his senses and when his eyes fell on the big bags, he asked them to empty its contents onto the ground. After they did so, the man picked up the crown from various other jewels and riches.
The two thieves stood nearby, trembling from head to toe and they watched as the man examined the crown. The man then told them to return the crown to the palace and after that they could take the other wealth along with them and never return to this kingdom again. The two thieves nodded their heads and that night they placed the crown back in the palace and disappeared, never to be seen again.
Next day, the man went to the palace and told the king that he had been given a choice by a higher power to either get the crown or capture the person who stole it. And so he told the king that he had chosen the crown and at the same moment, the guards brought the crown in front of the king. The king was extremely pleased and taking the crown, he asked him if he would be willing to carry out more such tasks. For this, the man said that all his powers were exhausted in finding the crown and he could no longer tell fortunes. The king could not say anything and so he gave him huge amounts of wealth as a reward and with that the man did not go back to his wife, but instead he went elsewhere and started a new life. The man then lived happily ever after!
Moral – Fortune favours the brave. Timely thinking always saves the day.