Once when King Sri Krishna Deva’s mother fell sick and was bedridden, the best possible medical professionals were consulted. It was declared that there was no chance for her to survive and that her immune system was too weak to respond to any medication.
One morning, she summoned Sri Krishna Deva to her presence and said “My Dear Son! I realise that I am close to death’s door. I also do not have any hopes that my health would become better. However, I have a last wish.”
She paused and asked, “Can you accomplish it for me before my soul is taken away?”
Sri Krishna Deva was the King of Kings. His mother was on the deathbed, expressing her last wish. How could he turn away from it?
He gently said, “Mother! Please tell me I will definitely accomplish your last wish” he assured.
“I…” she added, “…wish to eat a mango, can you get me one?” in a feeble tone the mother asked Sri Krishna Deva.
It was early summer. Trees had just started bearing tender fruits. There was no guarantee that royal mother would live until the tender ones ripened on the tree. It was also an insult to his kinghood, if he was unable to fulfil his mother’s last wish.
Sri Krishna Deva ordered his soldiers to scan through the fields of the kingdom and bring some ripe mangoes at any cost. The soldiers plunged into action. They did their best and returned with a basket filled with ripe mangoes. Eventually, just before the soldiers could place the basket before their King, king’s mother breathed her last.
The King was taken aback, for being unable to fulfil the last wish more than for her demise. He was shook deeply with the thought that his mother was dead even before her quench for mangoes was fulfilled. He slowly started to sink day after day with the thoughts that were ripping him.
The King invited Royal Master Thathacharya, explained his struggle, and sought an advice that would take the suffering off from him.
Thathacharya thought for a while and told the King, “My king! Your mother was fond of giving alms to the poor and needy. Her soul would rest in peace, if you can fulfil her last wish through donations. Ask the royal jewellers to prepare golden mangos in finest gold and distribute them to Brahmins of the country.”
The news spread like wildfire in the kingdom that the King was doling out golden mangoes to Brahmins in the memory of his mother. Brahmins from all over the empire started flooding into the capital to accept the golden mango from the King. Day in and out, long queues were always seen only to add people to its tail.
With this, the gold reserves in the King were melting down rapidly. The King not bothering about the consequences was incessantly involved in donating golden mangoes to the Brahmins. He never heeded to the pleas and warnings of the Chief Minister Thimmarusu in this regard.
Thimmarusu was in confusion and did not know how to stop the King. He then approached Tenali Rama and urged for a solution to this in the interest of the kingdom and its people. Tenali Rama assured Thimmarusu that he would come up with some resolution at the earliest. “Don’t worry now, Chief Minister. I shall set everything right by tomorrow evening” Tenali Rama sent off Thimmarusu.
Next morning, Tenali Rama went near the long queues and watched what was happening. He then asked solders in charge of managing the crowd to send each of the Brahmins to him before sending him to the King for the golden mango.
Everyone knew that Tenali Rama was one of the close associates of the King. They thought that Tenali Rama was doing so on the orders of the King and started sending the Brahmins first to Ramalinga before sending them into the palace.
Ramalinga told every Brahmin that there was a slight amendment to the donation process. “The King wished to donate the golden mangoes to those who bore a blister from him” told Tenali Rama. So, all brahmins desirous of the golden mango got their back burnt before going to the King.