King Krishnadeva Raya used to celebrate the festival of Holi with joy and enthusiasm. Many cultural and colourful programmes used to take place in Vijayanagar. There was a tradition of giving prizes to the successful artists of the day. The most prestigious prize was given to the person, who won the title of  ‘The Biggest Fool.’

Every year, Tenali Raman bagged the titles of ‘The Biggest Fool’ and ‘The Best Comic Character’ by virtue of his wit. Thus, he used to get two prizes every year.

That year, the jealous courtiers decided not to give an opportunity to Tenali Raman to win the titles. They made a ploy. They bribed the chief attendant of Tenali Raman and asked him to make Tenali Raman drink bhang (an intoxication drink) excessively. As was planned, Tenali Raman drank bhang and kept sleeping in a state of

In the late afternoon when Tenali Raman woke up, he got surprised to see that he got surprised to see that he had been sleeping for so long. He quickly took his bath, wore his robes and ran to the court. When he reached the court, most of the programmes were already finished. King Krishnadeva Raya said to him, “You fool, you kept sleeping having drunk bhang!”

When the king addressed Tenali Raman as a fool, the courtiers felt very pleased. They also shouted, “Yes, Your Majesty, you are absolutely right. Tenali Raman is not a simple fool, but the biggest fool.”

Tenali Raman smiled and said, “Thank you, Lord. You gave me the most prestigious reward of the day by addressing me as a fool.”

All the courtiers realised their mistake. But what could be done? They themselves had addressed Tenali Raman as the biggest fool. That year also, Tenali Raman bagged titles of ‘The Biggest Fool’ and ‘The  Best Comic Character.’

Story by Mahendra Kumar

Mahendra Kumar has written 54 stories for Best of Stories for Children.

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