King Bhupal Malla of Bhadgaon was very powerful and brave. His kingdom was rich. His fame had spread far and wide. Once an astrologer arrived in the city. His name was Bhadrasheel. He was putting up in a hut outside the city. He was well known for making exact predictions.
Before leaving for another place he wished to see the king. The king gladly agreed to meet him. He was welcomed in the royal court. While seeing him off the king wanted to give him a gift of a purseful of germs. But the astrologers refused to accept it on the plea that he accepted no gifts. He was satisfied with whatever his own fate brought him.
The king asked, ‘What does that exactly mean, sir?’
“A person is rich or poor by virtue of his own fate and labour. If a king wants to make someone rich by gifting him wealth, it won’t work. The person would lose such wealth in one way or other.’
The king was not convinced.
He challenged. “Sir, call someone you like and tell me what his fate has for him. I will change it.’ The astrologer calmly said. “King! This is your court. So, it would be better if you yourself call a person.’
The king whispered something into the ears of a minister. A short time later a well dressed Youngman presented himself to the astrologer. Astrologer Bhadrasheel studied his forehead and spoke, “This man is born poor and shall remain ever poor. He lives in a hut between the fields and trees and shall remain there.”
The king was surprised. He admitted, ’You are right. We have clothed him in royal dress. He, in fact, is a gardener of royal garden. But I will make him rich within a year. He won’t remain poor any more.”
The astrologer smiled, “Alright Try it. But give me permission to leave.’
He went away.
Next day the king called the gardener whose name was Dayal and gave him a letter with some money. He instructed, ‘Go to my friend Bhanu Pratap who lives in Gorakhpur which is kilometres away. Give him my letter. The money is for your expenses.’
Dayal looked unhappy. He came back to his hut with the letter. He used to work in the garden and rest in his hut. Going so far away under blazing sun looked to him a punishment.
But it was the king’s order. He had to go. He travelled and passed through two villages. He felt tired. It had become hot. He was hungry and thirsty too. He bought some food from a shop and sat down to eat under a tree. By chance, a farmer friend of his turned up there. They talked.
Dayal told him about the tiresome job king had given to him. His friend Teekam laughed and said, ’Man’ Why you are unhappy about it? As the king’s messenger you will get the royal treatment. I would’ve done it gladly.”
It gave Dayal an idea.
He suggested, ‘Alright. Teekam. You go in my place. I will rest here and then go back tomorrow or day after.”
Teekam gladly accepted the job and reached Gorakhpur in two days. He was respectfully led into king Bhanu Pratap.
In the court, the king seated him on a minister’s chair. He was served refreshments in golden ware. Meanwhile, the king read his friend’s letter, “Dear friend! The bearer of this letter is a very hardworking and clever young man. Give him 400 acres of land in your kingdom and make him a landlord. He is like my son. If you find him worthy, marry your daughter to him. On his return, I will gift him five villages in my kingdom”
King Bhanu Pratap liked young Teekam and his graceful behaviour. With the consent of his wife and daughter, he married his daughter to Teekam.
Meanwhile, lazy Dayal reached his hut dead tired and went to sleep. He slept on for two days. On the third day, he woke up and began watering the plants. The king came for a stroll and asked about the letter. With some fear, he told the king the truth.
The king was enraged and he remembered the prediction of the astrologer. The king decided to give one more chance to Dayal to become rich.
Dayal realised that the king was not happy with him after he failed to deliver the letter. After a few days, he plucked ripe watermelons from the garden and took them to the king to please him. He prided, ‘Your Majesty! This year we got a fine harvest of melons, I took great care of them Look, sir.”
The king was pleased. He signalled to a minister who took a watermelon inside. He cut a square piece cleanly off the melon. Then he scooped out the fleshy parts and filled the hollowed inside with gold coins and diamonds. The cut off the square was replaced to make it look whole normal melon. The king said to Dayal, ‘We are very pleased with your work. Take this melon as your reward.”
Dayal didn’t look happy. He was carrying the melon grumbling, “What a joke! A melon for a reward!”
He met an acquaintance on his way to his hut. He asked, “You carry such fine melon yet look sad!’
Dayal said, ‘Lotan brother’ There is nothing to be happy about. The king gave it to me as a reward. Imagine! What shall I do with it?”
Lotan remarked, “Don’t despair. After all, a reward is a reward. Had I got such reward my children would have been mightily pleased.’
“Alright Take it. I don’t need it.’ After getting rid of the melon Dayal went to his hut and slept.
Next day, the king saw Dayal in the same old ragtag and beaten condition. He enquired,
“Didn’t you eat the melon?’
Dayal told the truth to the king. The king was angry and dismayed.
Next day, he saw Lotan going in a horse coach in fine clothes. Dayal asked the secret of the sudden riches of Lotan. Lotan truthfully told him about the treasure of the melon. Dayal was stunned. Just then he saw a king s procession coming. Someone revealed that it was a prince who was returning with his princess bode. When he saw the face of the prince, he was shocked. It was none other than his old friend Teekam. Next day, Teekam told him about the secret of the king’s letter. Dayal cursed his luck.
The king also resigned himself to the power of fate. He thought, ‘Yes if one is fated to be poor even a king can’t change that fact.’
The king tried to seek out Bhadrasheel but he could not be traced.