There was a chief minister of a King. The King was very much pleased with him. The minister enjoyed the full grace of the King, but then he reflected that the King's grace is not very steady. I must have a friend to help me in difficulties.
So he became friend with one fellow with whom he always dined, bathed, and kept a constant company. After sometime he thought that I must have two friends, so he made some other fellow his friend but paid him visits only on festival days. Thereafter some third fellow also became his friend, who met him only on rare occasions. Distinctively all the three were named Nitya-mitra, Parva-mitra and Juhaar-mitra. Now one day the Minister thought that I should like to test my friends to know, if they indeed would help me in difficulties.
One day he arranged a plot in the following manner. He invited the prince for dinner and imprisoned him underground with his son. He sent away his wife to her father's place along with his second son. Then he called a most unreliable and noisy servant and told him, "Listen, the prince had precious ornaments. So I killed him by twisting his neck. Now I am afraid of the king and therefore I will leave my house. I will conceal myself somewhere. Do not disclose this secret and give a clever reply to the King. With these instructions the minister left the house for Nitya-mitra's place.
Nitya-mitra saw the Minister approaching with anxieties. He felt that something was wrong with the minister. The Minister said, "Dear friend, I regret, I plead guilty of an offense punishable with death. The King shall certainly hang me. Please protect me." When Nitya-mitra inquired in detail, the Minister said, "Being allured by the ornaments of the Prince I have killed the Prince and now I fear the king. Kindly protect me." Nitya-mitra said, "Oh ! My God ! The murder of the Prince cannot be concealed. The royal soldiers will shortly arrive and search in every cubbyhole and corner of my house. If you are found here, I am in big trouble. Kindly leave this place secretly without any delay. Resort to some other place."
The Minister made many sincere requests in vain to allow him a shelter, but Nitya-mitra slammed the doors in his face and did not even wish him "Good Bye". He breathed an air of relief on the Minister's departure.
The Minister realized the selfish nature of this friend and he left for Parva-mitra's place, his second friend. There also he narrated the same account and requested him to afford shelter. Parva-mitra also said, "I know, it is my duty to help you but I am a man with my family. I have no place to hide you. What condition my family members would be reduced to, if the king is angry with me. Kindly arrange to go to some other place." Despite many requests Parva-mitra did not agree to give him shelter and the Minister realized him as a selfish person.
Now from here the Minister proceeded to Juhaar-mitra's place. Seeing his arrival, Juhaar-mitra offered him a cordial welcome and asked for any service he could render. The courtier related the whole incident and requested to afford shelter. Juhaar-mitra said that he was very fortunate to receive him and render services in any capacity. Thereupon, the Minister stayed with him.
Now let us see what happened in the mean time. A shallow mind cannot maintain a secret for long. That servant, rather than maintaining the whole affair as a secret, himself went to the King and disclosed the matter in anticipation of some reward. The King was extremely irritated to learn the incident and ordered his soldiers to immediately produce the Minister before him.
The soldiers rushed forth and inquired of the whereabouts of the Minister. They came across Nitya-mitra's place and asked him about the Minister. Nitya-mitra said to them, "The criminal did come to me for shelter, and I am the last man to afford shelter to a murderer. I think he must have gone to Parva-mitra's place. You may please inquire there." So the soldiers arrived at Parva-mitra's place and he said, "I have not given him shelter. If you have any kind of doubt, you may search my house."
Somehow the soldiers learnt that the Minister might be at Juhaar-mitra's place. They severely scolded Juhaar-mitra and said, "This is not fair on your part. Hand him over to us." Juhaar-mitra said, "You are wrong. You can search for him if you desire." Juhaar-mitra insisted that the Minister was not there and after search the soldiers doubt was dispelled so they left.
Now as the minister was not found , the King made a proclamation that a valuable reward would be granted to anyone who gave correct information regarding the Minister's whereabouts.
As the friends were tested for their sincerity, the Minister told Juhaar-mitra to respond to the King's proclamation and give full information as regards to the where about by stating that he was not guilty as the prince was living and could be produced before the King whenever the King so desired.
Juhaar-mitra approached the King. So having listened to Juhaar-mitra's words, the King ordered to produce before him the Prince and the Minister. When they were produced, the King was very happy and he amply rewarded Juhaar-mitra. But he asked the minister, "What is all this about ?"
The Minister narrated the whole affair with the intended purpose. The King thereupon felt high admiration for the Minister's deep insight. The Minister was granted increment in his salary. He continued with Juhaar-mitra's love and friendship having abandoned Nitya-mitra and Parva-mitra.
Now the story is a fable and can be explained as follows.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 06/09/11