Long ago there was a poor Brahmin named Krishnan. He could not find enough work to do. Sometimes, he and his family had to go without food. At last Krishnan decided to leave his village in search of work. Early next morning, he left the house. He walked the whole day until he came to a thick jungle. He was tired, thirsty and hungry. While looking around for water to drink, he found a well. He went to the well and looked in. There he saw a jaguar, a monkey, a snake and a man. They had all fallen into the well. “O, noble Brahmin”, the jaguar called out to him, “Please help me out, so that I can go back to my family.”
“But you are a jaguar”, said Krishnan. “How do I know you will not kill me?” “Don’t be afraid of me, I promise I will not do you any harm”, replied the jaguar. Krishnan reached into the well and pulled out the jaguar. The jaguar thanked him and said, “I’m Shersingh. I live in a cave in the mountains. I shall be most delighted if I can repay my debt to you someday.” Krishnan then heard the monkey calling out to him from the well. The Brahmin at once pulled the monkey out. The monkey thanked the Brahmin. “If you are ever in need of food, just drop in at my place below that big mountain. Bali is my name.” Now the snake called out to him for help. “Help you!” exclaimed Krishnan. “You are a snake. What if you bite me?” “I shall never bite you”, said the snake. So Krishnan pulled the snake out of the well. The snake said, “Remember, if you are ever in any difficulty, just call out my name-Naagesh, and wherever you are, I shall find you.” The jaguar, the monkey and the snake took leave of the Brahmin. But before they left, they spoke to him about the man in the well. “Please do not help him,” said Shersingh. “If you do”, said Naagesh, “you will be in trouble yourself.” As soon as they left, the man in the well began to call out for help. Krishnan felt sorry for the man and pulled him out of the well. “Thank you for your kindness”, said the man. “I am Seth Ghanshyamdas. I am a goldsmith. If you ever need my help, don’t hesitate to visit my humble house near the city.” The goldsmith then left for home.
After some time, the Brahmin continued his journey. But he could not find any work. He then remembered Shersingh, Bali, Naagesh and Seth Ghanshyamdas. He thought it was time to seek their help. He first went to Bali. The monkey was overjoyed to see him. He gave him a warm welcome and offered him some really delicious fruits. The Brahmin told him how grateful he was. Now Krishnan went to see Shersingh, the jaguar. As soon as Shersingh saw Krishnan coming, he ran out to welcome him. He gave Krishnan a beautiful gold necklace and other precious jewellery. Krishnan thanked Shersingh for the jewellery and departed. His journey had at last brought him luck, he thought. He would be able to sell the ornaments for a good price. But who could help him to sell the ornaments? He then remembered Seth Ghanshyamdas. He went to him. The goldsmith was glad to see Krishnan. “I have come to ask for your help”, said Krishnan. “Here are some ornaments. Please give me a good price for them.” Seth Ghanshyamdas took the jewellery and examined it carefully. “I shall certainly help you”, he said. “But let me show them to another goldsmith. Please wait here, I will be right back.” He then went out with the ornaments. Seth at once rushed to the Palace of the King. He said, “A man brought these ornaments to me and asked me to sell them. But they are the ornaments I made for the Prince who is missing.” “Who is this man? Where is he?”, thundered the King. This rogue must have murdered my little Prince and robbed his jewels!” “He is a Brahmin named Krishnan, your Majesty”, replied the goldsmith, and he is there, in my house. The king called for his most dreaded soldiers. “Arrest the Brahmin who is in the goldsmith’s house and throw him into the darkest dungeons of the kingdom”, roared the King. The King’s guard stormed into the goldsmith’s house and seized Krishnan. Krishnan was thrown into a dark dungeon to await his execution. He then remembered the words of Naagesh, the snake. So he called out to him.
Suddenly, almost like magic, Naagesh slithered his way down a narrow window into the dingy cell. “O, Lord!” hissed Naagesh, “how did you manage to get yourself arrested?” Krishnan cried and then told the snake what had happened. “I have a plan”, hissed Naagesh. “I shall creep into the Queen’s room and bite her”, said Naagesh. “She will faint. No matter what they do, she will remain asleep. The poison will remain in her body until you place your hand on her forehead”, explained Naagesh. He then left Krishnan and went to the palace. He crept into the Queen’s room and bit her. The Queen fainted. The sad news that the Queen had been bitten by a snake spread all over the Kingdom. Vaidyas came from far and near, but their medicines had no effect. No one could revive the Queen. Finally, the King declared that anyone who could cure the Queen would be handsomely rewarded. Many people went to the palace but all of them failed. “I can cure the Queen”, Krishnan told the guards. At once they took him to the Queen. Krishnan sat beside the Queen and placed his hand on her forehead. Soon, she opened her eyes and sat up. The King was overjoyed and shed tears of happiness. He embraced Krishnan and thanked him. “Your Majesty”, said Krishnan. “I was sent to prison for a crime I did not commit.” Krishnan told the King the whole story. The King was fuming with rage when he heard what the goldsmith had done. He at once had the goldsmith arrested. The King then presented Krishnan with a large house and a thousand pieces of gold. Krishnan sent for his family and they all lived happily ever after.
Why did Krishnan decide to leave his village?