The potter and the king

Panchatantra Series

Once upon a time, there was a potter who lived in a village with a meager income. One night, he stumbled and fell over some pots in his house. It resulted in a deep cut on his forehead, due to a broken piece of pot. He did not treat his wound as it would cost some money. The wound did not heal for a long time. When it finally healed by itself, it left a big scar on his forehead.

Sometime later, there was a famine in that region. The potter left his place in search of a better livelihood. On his way, he joined a group of people, who served at the royal household. Along with them, he started serving at the royal household.

One day, the king noticed the potter with a big scar on his forehead. The king thought that he must be a great warrior and got that wound in some battle. The king promoted him as a warrior and was placed him among the best warriors of the kingdom. Though he is aware of his inability to fight in warfare, the potter still accepted the honor and enjoyed the new status.

Shortly a battle was impending, and the king summoned all his warriors. He wanted to speak to all the great warriors personally and inspect equipment and weapons, and even the elephants and horses. All the preparations for battle made the potter tense as he was scared of any war. But he was resolved to prove himself as a warrior in the battleground.

While inspecting his warriors, the king noticed the potter. He took him aside and asked, “O Warrior, fighting in which battle, did you get this deadly scar?” The potter thought for a while and decided to tell the truth. Informed the king that wound is not by any sword. He has tripped over the pots and due to improper attention, the wound has left that big scar.

When the king understood the truth, he felt embarrassed about his earlier decision. The king asked his soldiers to send the potter away from the army. The potter pleaded the king to show mercy on him and give a chance to prove his worth.

The king replied, “You may have excellent qualities, and you may be brave. But you do not possess the qualities required on the battleground. You will get yourself killed on the battleground! It is better if you leave and return to your home.” The potter understood the king’s advice and left the palace immediately.

Lesson: It is better to be true to self than putting up a pretense.

Afterthoughts
Do you think this lesson is still relevant in our society? Do you see such incidents in real life? Acceptance of the truth by both the potter and king happens in this case without much ado. Are we open enough to accept the weakness in the way potter did in the end? Whether the king’s actions are justified?

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