166. Tenalirama and Kali

Young Tenalirama prayed to Kali.
The goddess appeared to him, holding two bowls. "Choose!" she commanded. "The milk of learning or the curds of wealth."
"I'm not sure..." he replied.
The boy then snatched the two bowls and swallowed both milk and curds.
"O Kali Ma," he quickly explained, "there was no choosing; one without the other would be useless."
Kali frowned and then laughed. "You will pay a price for this disobedience! Though learned and prosperous, you will be laughed at: you'll be Tenalirama the jester."
Tenalirama bowed in reverence and gratitude.
When he looked up, she was gone.

Inspired byThe Wit of Tenali Raman by Devika Rangachari
Notes: This story is on p. 6 of the book. The phrase "Kali Ma" means "Mother Kali." For more about Kali, the fierce mother-goddess, see Wikipedia. For another story about this encounter, see Tenalirama and Kali.

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