Written by London swaminathan
Date: 7 March 2017
Time uploaded in London:- 20-41
Post No. 3701
Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.
Shepherds of India were uneducated and ignorant. There are lot of stories about their stupid acts. The most famous shepherd story was about Kalidasa. There was a king who had a very educated intelligent, but arrogant daughter. She refused to marry anyone because all of them were defeated by her in debates. The ministers lost their patience. So they were looking for a fool who can be presented as the greatest scholar and thus insult the arrogant princess.
As they were going through the country side they saw a shepherd who was sitting on upper branch of a tree and cutting down the lower part. They got hold of him and trained him in gestures. He learnt the sign language quickly because there were only two signs. They told him that he would get a big reward from the king if used the gestures to answer any question put to him.
The shepherd was taken in a palanquin to present him as the scholar cum prince of a neighbouring country. For every gesture princess showed he used the two gestures he was taught. Since ministers taught him the gestures they had ready explanations for his gestures. They gave big philosophical explanations for both the gestures. The princess was very much impressed with his scholarship and married him.
During the first night, the princess came to the bridegroom’s chamber. But to her surprise he was fast asleep and snoring! She waited for several hours and yet he did not get up. The princess tried to wake him up by sprinkling some scented water. At that time the shepherd (scholar) was dreaming about his sheep. When he felt the sprinkled water, he was shouting to his sheep (in dream). When she threw some flowers on him, he was saying, “ Get away, you foolish sheep”.
Now the princess knew for sure that something went wrong. She understood that she was married to an idiot. She drew off her sword and woke him. She told him,”Tell me the truth. Who are you? If you do not speak now, I shall kill you.”
He confessed that he was a shepherd and he acted according the ministers’ instructions. Immediately the princess gave him some money and asked him to run away from the palace.
The shepherd felt ashamed and went and slept in a Kali (goddess) temple on his way. He started praying to her to give him true knowledge. Goddess also felt very sorry for him. She knew that he was punished for no fault of his. She asked him to open his mouth and wrote a magic spell on his tongue. From that moment he started composing poems. Later he became the most celebrated poet of India – Kalidasa.
But not all the shepherds were as lucky as Kalidasa. There was a shepherd at the foothills of Western Ghats. He followed the trade of his forefathers. One day he missed a lamb when counting his flock. At once he started off in search of his lamb. He wandered about till mid-day. In the afternoon, he felt exhausted and thirsty. He looked down into a well for water holding one of his lambs on his neck. When he looked down into the well he saw his own reflection and the lamb in dim light deep inside the well. He grew angry and shouted, “Oh, robber; I have got you at last. Bring up my lamb, otherwise I will throw huge rocks into the well”. When he stooped down to pick up stones, his lamb on his neck fell into the well. Later he regretted his foolish action.
Shepherd and Robbers!
The third story is about a money lender and a shepherd. There was a money lender in a village who was in the habit of taking money to different villages. On a certain day, he took lot of cash and hired the service of a shepherd to take him through the forest. Shepherds knew those routes very well. Half way through, it became dark and so they had to lie down under a tree. Moneylender was afraid of the robbers and told his shepherd companion to lie down in a place without making any noise. He went to a nearby tree and slept under it. About mid night a gang of robbers passed that way. One of them said: “Look here! take care here is a log of wood lying down on our way; don’t knock against it”.
“You, idiots; Talk sensibly. Am I a log of wood? Will a piece of log in your town have hundred rupees in a piece of cloth around its waist?” – said the shepherd who was lying down. “Oh, here is fellow, catch him!” said the robbers. The shepherd lost his 100 rupees. One of the robbers had some doubt about the currency note. I wonder whether this note is false or true”.
The ignorant shepherd grew angry and shouted at the robbers, “What do you mean? If you have any doubt about the currency note, ask my Chettiar friend who deals with money every day. He is lying there.”
“Ho, ho, there is another person with money, hiding in the bush. Catch him”, sad the robbers. The money lending Chettiyar was caught and beaten unmercifully. He lost all his money.
He returned to his village the following morning, having learnt a bitter lesson by taking an ignorant shepherd as his companion.