Folk Tales With Morals - Not Money But Granny

Not Money But Granny 

Once upon a time, there was a young man who suddenly came across a hidden property. He grew so rich that he boasted before his friends that money can do anything and that he can build a house that would excel the royal palace in grandeur. "Nonsense!" said his friends. That sounded like a challenge to the young man. He built a house and it was really better than the king's. To ridicule his friends who had shown contempt at his claim, he inscribed these words  on the arch in front of his house: "Money can do anything." Now, his house stood on a spot that was the fag end of the kingdom. He never dreamt that the king would ever set his foot there. The king did not, but one of his wandering officers did. He came and reported to the king what he saw. "Summon the chap!" ordered the king. Three messengers galloped forth and returned with the young man the next day. "Money can do anything, eh?" asked the king.

"My lord, I will erase the inscription as soon as I am back at home." "That is not the point. The point is, you believe that money can do anything!" growled the king. "Your Majesty, I'll demolish the whole archway." "Tomorrow you may say that you can kill us with your money! That is the point." "My lord, I'll demolish my whole house, if you so please." "We shall be pleased to see you prove that money can do anything, I give you a week to pass a test which is to see my daughter and talk to her with your money power. If you can, you marry her, if you can't you lose your head." The king arranged for the young man to be lodged in the royal guest house, but the young man lay on his bed no better than dead. On the second day, his old grandmother came to see him. "I had a hunch that you are in difficulty," she said. The young man could not check his tears and narrated to the old lady his dialogue with the king and said, "I understand that the king has confined his daughter to the innermost quarters of the palace and that portion is being guarded by a hundred trusted maids. Then, a ring of one thousand soldiers has been thrown around the palace. Also, the princess has been instructed not to see or speak to any male, her father excepting, for a week."

"Cheer up, my boy, cheer up. Your head will remain intact and, in due course, should be adorned with something magnificent. Tell me, how much money have you got with you here?" asked the granny. "A bagful of gold coins." The granny took some gold coins and went out to meet the best silversmith in the town. "Make me a silver swan big enough to contain a human being. I give you two days," she said. "Crazy!." "That is what you'll be if you don't do as I say. I give you two days and two hundred gold coins!" said the granny, tossing out of her bag one by one with two hundred gold coins "More after I get my thing." The silversmith's eyes dazzled like silver. He set himself down to work immediately. On the third day, the silver swan was ready. It could open and close its bill and it was on wheels. The granny drew the silver swan to the young man's lodge. "Get into it with your violin and keep playing as melodiously as you can," she said. Early in the morning, she was out in the street, drawing the swan along, melody flowing from the swan. People rushed out to see the musical bird, first in ones and twos, then in dozens and then in hundreds. Soon marveling crowds thronged the roadsides or followed the old lady. Reports of the strange musical swan reached the innermost quarters of the palace. "Father, can't I go out for a moment to look at the magic swan?" 

"No, my child, we don't know when you might be tricked to talk to that proud young man. But why bother to go out? We can of course summon the old lady into your presence!" And the king's order duly reached the old lady. Gladly she came into the palace drawing the musical swan along. "Let the princess see and listen to the swan all alone. Nobody but the old lady should be with her. That will check all possibility of a young man sneaking in!" said the king. So the swan and the old lady were left with the princess without anybody else being present there. The music was now at its most charming phase. When it stopped, the princess said, "How sweet is your music, O swan." "Did you like that?" "Good God, you can even speak!" exclaimed the princess. The swan's bill opened sprang out the young man. Surprised, the princess took a step back. "Please don't be afraid of me," said the young man courtesying to the princess. "My life depends on your speaking the truth before the king, that you have spoken to me." The young man reentered the swan and the old woman left the palace along with it.

Seven days passed. The young man was produced before the king. "You lose your head today!" said the king gravely. "I don't, for the princess has spoken to me," calmly informed the young man. "What!" screamed the king. "Ask the princess, Your Majesty." The princess was ushered in. She confirmed the young man's claim. When the king heard how the young man made the princess talk to him, he had no hesitation in announcing that the princess would be married to the young man. In fact, he set a coronet on the young man's head and declared him as the crown prince, for he had no son. "Now I know that money can do anything!" commented the king. "But, Your Majesty, I was wrong and my idea has entirely changed. It is not money, but my granny who saved me. But for her courage and cleverness...well, you know what you would have done to me. All my money could not have kept my body and head together!" said the young man, rather the crown prince. The king laughed knowing that the young man learnt his lesson.

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