A king lived in the middle of India long ago. He was proud of his appearance. He would spend hours admiring his own reflection in the mirror.
He said to himself, “There can be no other king as handsome and as beautiful as me,” and felt extremely happy.
He wore the most exquisite clothes and the best jewelry. He was a burden to the kingdom and people grew tired of him. He kept his hair slicked and covered his ears every day. Yes, he covered his ears. Yes, his ears looked just like donkey ears. Baiju, the barber of the king, was the only one who knew about it.
Baiju lived in poverty but was close to the forest along with Gori, his spouse. The king threatened Baiju with death if they found out about the ears of his donkey. He makes him feel constantly afraid. He was forbidden from cutting hair on anyone else or shaving anyone within the kingdom.
The barber couldn’t sleep and eat properly. Because he was afraid of being criticized, he avoided speaking to people in the country. Even though he was the king’s barber, he lived a miserable and unhappy existence.
He was able to get up the courage to ask his wife, “Since you were appointed as the King’s barber, you haven’t spoken to me or anyone since then.” I can see that you don’t touch your food, or even sleep at night. The water near our house is so beautiful that you spend hours gazing at it. Living in the old city to the west of the forest was a much more enjoyable experience for us.
The barber didn’t reply. He walked out and then sat down by the pool. Many tamarind trees surrounded the pool. He sat down on the large stone and stared at the reflections of the leaves and branches as he reflected them.
God sat next to him, following him. She begged God to tell her what was bothering her. I promise that I will not tell anyone.”
Baiju finally said, “You see, the king’s ears are like donkeys.” He threatened me with my death if it was discussed to anyone. It’s not clear when I will say it. Now I’m trying to stay away from everyone. However, I’m very unhappy because I miss my friends and am losing them one by one.
The tamarind plants listened to Baiju’s words and absorbed them. Baiju’s wife said that she would not talk about it to anyone. Soon, however, she became restless too. One day, she decided to go to the tamarind tree and whisper the secret to them. She held them close. She felt much better and returned home happy.
The festival season was nearing and the kingdom’s drummers were busy building drums. They picked up some branches from the tamarind trees nearby the pool to make drum wood.
The festival day arrived and the drummers started beating their drums. But, what did they beat?
“The king has donkey’s ears”
The barber was called to be executed by the king, who became furious. Baiju said that he only told his wife the truth while sitting next to the tamarind trees. The truth was discovered by the king after the drummers were interrogated. The wise man of the kingdom spoke up and stated that truth cannot be changed, even if it is revealed. The king should instead be kind and just. If he was kind to them, the people would love him regardless of his ears.
The truth was understood by the king. To remind himself of his duty as a good king, he kept the sticks and drums in his chamber.