Narrated by: Purnima, a resident of South Moti Bagh
Tale passed on to her by: Father
Once upon a time, there were two Brahmin brothers. The younger one was a very able astrologer and the older one was unemployed and idle. So the younger brother worked very hard and came back with a few thousand rupees which he gave to his wife, while the older brother earned nothing at all and survived on his brother’s income.
The older brother’s wife, before setting off to the fields, asked her husband, “can you put in any hard work at all and learn even a little bit of astrology? If you do that, I wouldn’t have to feed you while you sit here doing nothing.” The Brahmin agreed to learn something to help his wife. He asked for his wife’s wages from the previous day, which was a total sum of five rupees, and then packed a handful of rice and set off to learn astrology.
As soon as he left the village, he found a toddy shop. He sat there and spent his entire five rupees and his day drinking toddy. He then slept a sound sleep. When he woke up, he realised that he had spent the five rupees. He got very nervous as he knew his wife would ask him what he learnt and what he spent the money on. As he had no idea of what to do, he just sat there and saw a white rat dig a hole in the ground and a deer cross a street. He wrote down about both of these activities in his journal.
He then came across a shop that sold candies in the shape of eyes, nose and ears. He bought a few of them and started his journey back to his own village. He went back to his wife and announced “I am now a trained astrologer”. His wife’s happiness knew no bounds and she went around everywhere announcing that her husband was now an astrologer.
That very day a washerwoman lost her donkey. The older Brahmin’s wife suggested that she seek help from her husband, as he was now well-versed in astrology (or so his wife thought). The washerwoman went to the older brother and asked him to help her find her donkey. The Brahmin agreed but he was very scared as he didn’t actually possess the knowledge of astrology. So he stayed up all night in the fields and before the break of the dawn he found the donkey and tied it outside the washerwoman’s house. Everybody celebrated this event and the pseudo-astrologer now was respected by everyone in the village.
The next day, the three royal servants named ‘Mrs. Nose’, ‘Mrs. Eyes’, and ‘Mrs. Ears’ had stolen the queen’s necklace and buried it underground with the intent to dig it out the next day. The washerwoman who had come to pick up the dirty laundry from the palace told the king about ‘The great Aiyar of the village’. The king then summoned the older Brahmin on listening to his praises. He was assigned the task of finding out within five days where the royal necklace went.
Four days went by and the Brahmin had no idea where the necklace was. On the last day, the soldiers of the king brought him to court and the king asked about the necklace’s whereabouts. The astrologer asked for more time. However, he was put in chains and told by the king that if he finds out who stole the necklace, he would be made the royal astrologer and if he didn’t, he would be given a death sentence. On hearing this, the astrologer cried out loud and said that he will miss the sweet candies that he ate before. He cried ‘Oh Nose!’ ‘Oh Eyes!’ ‘Oh Ears!’. The maid servants who were the culprits stepped out of the crowd thinking that their names were being called out. They pleaded guilty and cried for mercy. The Aiyar understood absolutely nothing, but received the necklace in a box. Thus, his face was saved, and so was his life. The king gave the Aiyar loads of gifts and made him the royal astrologer.