170. Tenalirama and the Twenty Lashes

King Krishnadevaraya was furious at Tenalirama. "Stay away! If I see you again, you'll get twenty lashes."
Tenalirama returned the next day.
"You're not allowed in!" said the outer guard.
"But the king promised me a present," said Tenalirama. "I'll give you half!"
Tenalirama then made the same deal with the inner guard.
When Tenalirama entered the court, the king yelled, "I warned you: twenty lashes!"
"Wait," said Tenalirama, and he summoned the guards.
"Ten lashes for him," said the jester, "and ten for him."
The king had to laugh at Tenalirama's ingenuity, and he even spared the greedy guards.

Inspired byThe Wit of Tenali Raman by Devika Rangachari
Notes: This story is on p. 25 of the book. In the traditional story, the king does whip the guards! The same story is told about Birbal in his king's court.

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