Moral Story Silence Is Golden

Silence Is Golden

This story starts with Jayapal, who kept a shop in the village. But Jayapal did not sell any goods, he sold advice and his advice must have been good, because people came from far and near, to consult Jayapal. Was he an astrologer? Was he a soothsayer? or was he a magician? Who knows, perhaps he was a little of each. One day Vikram, a wealthy merchant, decided that as he was going on an important business trip, he could consult Jayapal, and perhaps it would help to ensure that his journey would be very profitable. Jayapal did not ask Vikram many questions, but just studied his palm for several minutes, then handed him three slips of paper, for which he charged one hundred silver coins. As soon as Vikram left Jayapal's shop, he hurriedly read what was written on the slips of paper, wondering whether any advice was worth so much money. The first slip of paper read, "If you go on a journey, do not, when you return, tell your wife what occured." The second slip read, "When you travel, never eat by the road side." And the third slip read, "Never take things for granted, and never make foolish wagers." None of this advice sounded very thrilling, thought Vikram, but he would do just as Jayapal had written, and then he would see how good the advice was.

The following morning, Vikram set out on his journey, taking with him a heavy bag of gold for all the goods he hoped to buy. At midday Vikram decided to stop and eat, then remembering Jayapal's advice not to eat by the roadside, he walked into the forest and made himself comfortable under a big tree to eat his food. As the day was hot and the food very good, Vikram lay back and soon fell asleep. He awoke with a start, realizing that he had slept too long, and would never reach his destination by nightfall. So hurrying back to the road, he meant to make up for lost time, but he had not gone very far when he discovered he had left his bag of gold underneath the tree, where he had rested. Anxiously returning to the spot, Vikram was relieved to find his bag of gold safe and sound. "Well," he thought. "Jayapal's advice was certainly good, because if I had eaten by the roadside, my bag of gold would have been picked up by some passerby." Later on, Vikram stopped to have a drink at a wayside well. As he approached the well, he kicked against a fruit on the ground, which looked somewhat like a pomegranate. But what did surprise him was, that some of the juice from the fruit splattered over his foot, and an old sore, which had troubled him for months, had now completely disappeared. Convinced that this fruit contained some miraculous healing power, Vikram carefully buried it beside the well, meaning to retrieve it on his return journey. Eventually Vikram arrived back home, more than satisfied with the business he had done, but heeding Jayapal's advice, he firmly resolved not to tell his wife anything. But he found his wife agog with excitement. "What do you think?" she almost shouted, before he had a chance to even sit down. "The King has a festering sore which the doctors cannot cure. Now the king is offering a good amount to anyone who can cure him." Hearing this, Vikram suddenly remembered the fruit he had buried, and completely forgetting Jayapal's advice, told his wife all about this wonderful fruit, which had cured the sore on his foot, and no doubt it would cure the King too, and he, Vikram the great healer, would receive much bounty from the grateful king.

Vikram, his mind full of plans on how to spend the King's bounty, rushed out of the house to hire a conveyance for the following morning, so that he could recover his hidden fruit. Meanwhile, his wife just as excited, lost no time in telling her neighbor's wife about this fruit.  In turn the wife told her husband, who being a resourceful fellow, planned to get the hidden fruit first and so win the King's bounty. On his way, he met Vikram who was still bursting with thoughts of his coming fortune. "Oh! my good man," Vikram confided. "Tomorrow I shall cure the King and make myself a fortune." "Rubbish," retorted the neighbor. "I myself will cure the king." "What nonsense you talk," said Vikram. "If you can perform such a miracle, you can walk into my house and have the first thing you touch." 

"Right," replied the neighbor. "And if I fail, you can have whatever you touch in my house. So let's write it down and seal our wager." Vikram was up bright and early the next morning, impatient to set off and get the fruit he had so carefully hidden. But when excited villagers came and poured out a story that his neighbor had cured the King with the juice of a magic fruit, poor Vikram's hopes collapsed in ruins. As he sat shaking his head in bewilderment, it slowly dawned on him that he had not heeded the advice given to him by Jayapal. He had told his wife all about his journey and the magic fruit. But what was worse, he had made a foolish wager with his neighbor. That fellow would certainly walk into the house and lay his hands on my safe, which contains all my valuables. The more Vikram thought over his troubles, the more worried he became. Then the thought struck him that perhaps Jayapal could help him. 

So he rushed to Jayapal's shop and blurted out the story of his journey and the silly wager he had made with his neighbor. Jayapal listened quite calmly, and with a smile said, "Stop worrying. I will go with you to your house and see that your neighbor does not get your safe." Back at the house, Jayapal looked around and then told Vikram to get some men to move the safe up into the loft, but to leave the ladder so that it would be easy for the neighbor to climb up to the loft. No sooner had this been done, when in walked the neighbor with a broad smile on his face. "I have come to collect my winnings," he sniggered, looking around to see where the safe was. As soon as he saw the safe in the loft, he made a bee-line for the ladder, and was soon clambering up to the loft. Before he was halfway up the ladder, Jayapal shouted to him to stop. "You have claimed your winnings, my friend," he said. "The first thing you touched in this house was that ladder. So take it and go." The neighbor cursed himself for his own foolishness, and in the end, grumbling under his breath, he took the ladder and staggered out of the house. Vikram was relieved that all he had lost was an old ladder, but at least he had learned a good lesson, and that was a still tongue makes a wise head.    

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