The three special brahmins

vikram-or-betal

Once upon a time there lived a rich brahmin by name of Vishnuswamin, who
was performing a huge sacrificial rite. He had three sons who were each very
fastidious about three specific things. The eldest was fastidious about food,
the second about women and the third about beds. Vishsnuswamin wanted a
tortoise for his sacrifice. So he sent his three sons to get one. They did find
one but each of them refused to touch it and bring it back home, as each
claimed to be as fastidious as the other.
Well then to decide, they approached the king with this matter of deciding
who among them was the most fastidious. He decided to test them all. He
invited the first one, to a very special feast prepared very exquisitely. But the
first son, refused to touch the food claiming that the he smelt burnt corpses in
the rice. On investigation, the king found that the grains of which the rice was
cooked was from a field near a cremation ground. The king was impressed.
He then decided to test the second son by sending a very very pretty and
beautiful concubine, to him. But the second son sent her away saying that she
was smelling like a goat. On investigation, the king found that she had been
fed goat milk when she was a child. The king was impressed.
Then he decided to test the third son, by letting him sleep in a bed with seven
huge mattresses. In the middle of the night, the third son awoke with a lot of
pain and a red mark on his shoulder. On verifying, it was found that there was
a piece of hair in the bed below the seven mattresses. The king was impressed
with all three and could not decide who was best but instead decided to use
the skill of all three in his court and hired them. So Vishnuswamin could not
complete his sacrifice.
Betaal stops and asks King Vikram asks this question: Who among the three
is the most fastidious? Vikram replies with a lot of thought, “The third son,
as he had definite evidence wit that red mark. The other two could have
obtained information from elsewhere too.”
As soon as Vikram had finished his answer, Betaal disappeared back to the
tree.

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