Long back, there lived a learned Brahmin in Taxila. His name was Shivdutt. He was a great scholar of the Vedas and other books and had defeated many other scholars during discourses on theology. He had a friend named Namdev, who was equally learned and wise. Shivdutta loved and believed in Namdev.
Once Namdev suggested to Shivdutta, "Let us go to Patliputra, the city of scholars, and test our knowledge there."
Shivdutta consented to the proposal of Namdev and said, "Certainly, we would go to test our wisdom and compare it with the knowledge of the scholars there. We would know our worth."
So they left for Patliputra.
When they reached a river quite near the city, they saw a woman washing clothes. They said to her, "We are travelers and new to this place. Please, guide us which place would be suitable for us to stay." The lady said, "I know that lions live in a forest. The fish live in water, birds live in their nests and a king lives in his palace, but I do not know where the travelers live."
Both were surprised on hearing her. This was their first encounter with a scholar in that city.
Both proceeded ahead. After some time, they saw a child crying despite of the fact that there was a plate of delicious food before him. They said, "See what a fool this boy is! He is weeping though there is hot and fresh food before him."
The boy laughed on hearing them, "I am not a fool, but I am sure you are. Don't you know why I am crying? Weeping clears the throat and increases the power of digestion."
After realizing the child's cleverness, Namdev said, "Dear, the city is full of scholars. Be cautious, otherwise we would be disgraced. Then both the friends proceeded ahead."
After walking some distance, they saw a garden of mangoes. A girl was plucking the fruit, sitting on a tree.
Namdev said to the girl, "We are coming from a far-off place. Will you please drop some mangoes for us?"
The girl agreed and asked, "Okay what type of mangoes would you like, hot or cold?"
To this, both the friends were surprised. But Shivdutt asked for hot mangoes thinking that the word ‘Hot' must be a synonym for ‘ripe' mangoes.
The girl dropped several ripe mangoes. Both the friends cleaned the dust on the fruit by blowing it away and started eating them.
The girl commented "The mangoes seem to be very hot, as you are blowing air to cool them down. Another method to cool them is that you could go to the nearby pond and dip them in the cold water."
Shivdutt was greatly embarrassed to know the hidden meaning of the words said by the girl. Then he said to Namdev, "The girl is the most intelligent of all the people we have met so far. But I will teach her a lesson. Anyhow I will marry her and take my revenge."
Namdev said, "I will be happy if the girl becomes your wife. But marrying her for taking revenge is not a sensible idea. She has done nothing wrong."
Shivdutt said, "She has tried to degrade us by speaking to us in this way. We feel humiliated now."
Namdev said, "You yourself called her intelligent earlier. And now you want to take revenge. I think you should take her comments positively."
But these sermons failed to change the attitude of Shivdutt. He asked Namdev to follow the girl and find out her name, address, etc. for further actions. Now when the girl started for her house with basket of mangoes, Namdev followed her secretly.
On his return, Namdev told Shivdutt, "She is the daughter of pandit Ramanand and her name is Kalavati. Her house is very near to this place."
Both the friends stayed at a nearby inn for the night. Shivdutt chalked out his plan. They decided to go to the house of the girl in disguise of Brahmins. Next day they started reading Vedic verses loudly in front of the house of Ramanand. Ramanand heard and came out. He saw them and thought, ‘They appear to be scholars. Let me talk to them.' So he went near and said, "From where have you come? It seems you are new to this city."
Shivdutt answered him, "We have come from Alkapuri and want to study here."
Ramanand said, "You have come from afar and must be tired. Moreover, the rainy season is approaching. I request you to be my guest and stay at my house. Thereafter, you may do as you like."
Shivdutt was happy to see that his plan was working out properly. He said, "We can stay here, but on the condition that you would give me the thing which I ask for before my return."
Ramanand promised, "Certainly! I will give you the thing, if possible."
At this, both the friends stayed there. Panditji and his daughter Kalvanti served them well. She could not recognize them as the same persons whom she had met in the garden of mangoes.
When the rainy season was over, both the friends decided to go back. They told Ramanand about their desire to leave. Shivdutt also remained him of his condition for staying. Panditji said, "Of course! I had promised you. You can ask for anything. If it is in my hand, I will grant it to you." Shivdutt said, "Give your daughter to me in marriage." Panditji was surprised but thought, ‘The Brahmin is intelligent and my daughter will live happily with him.' So he married his daughter to Shivdutt.
After the marriage when Shivdutt met her, he mentioned the incident of the garden and said that she had degraded him by playing a trick on him, and she should be sorry for her behavior. At this, Kalavati said, "You are a villager and hence are slow to understand the meaning of a thing." Now Shivdutt lost his temper and said, "Do not think yourself to be too intelligent. Now you will see how this villager teaches you a lesson. I shall go forever leaving you alone here. You will remain here repenting forever."
Kalavati was not moved and said, "Even if you go, you would return one day out of the love for your children."
Shivdutt thought, ‘I will not live with her and as such, the question of children would not arise at all.'
Shivdutt accepted the challenge of his wife. At the middle of the night, he got up and went away leaving his wife alone. However, before going out, he took off his ring and put it on the finger of Kalavati. Then he left Taxila with Namdev.
When Kalavati got up in the morning, she found her husband missing. When he did not return even after many days, she got worried. Meanwhile, she noticed a ring in her finger. The ring had the name and address of her husband engraved on it. She came to know that her husband Shivdutt belonged to Taxila. She decided to bring him back. She told her father that she was going for a pilgrimage as her husband had left her at the mercy of God. The father allowed her and gave money and maids to attend to her.
Kalavati started for Taxila in a palanquin. On her way to the city, she purchased beautiful dresses fitted for a dancer. When she reached there, she ordered to pitch a tent at the outskirts of the city. Her tent was decorated like a royal palace.
Kalavati changed her name to Anarkali. She sent her maids to the city to promote her as the most beautiful and expert dancer of the time.
Hearing about Anarkali, another dancer of the city, Roopali, came to meet and wanted to know about her. Anarkali told Roopali that she belonged to Vaishali and had come here to study about the culture and traditions of the city.
Anarkali treated Roopali well and extended her hand of friendship. Roopali was very happy and offered her palace to Anarkali to stay. Anarkali accepted her offer and shifted to the palace.
Hearing about Anarkali, Namdev, the friend of Anarkali's husband Shivdutt came to see her in the evening. The guards of Anarkali asked him to take a bath, which took a lot of time. Thereafter, he was asked to wear a special dress. Then he was taken to a room, where he was offered delicious food. Two-thirds of the night had passed and when he reached the door of Anarkali, he was stopped by the guard who said to him, "No decent person should come to meet a lady at this odd hour. You cannot meet her now." Namdev felt insulted and returned to his house. He thought that the lady was very intelligent, as she had very cleverly forced him to go back. He told Shivdutt about it who was annoyed and wanted to take revenge.
Shivdutt went to the place of Anarkali and bribed the guards at all places and, thus, reached the door of Anarkali easily. There he gave a diamond necklace to the lady guard and asked her to convey the massage- ‘A person named Shivdutt wants to meet you.' Anarkali called him inside. Seeing the beauty of Anarkali, he lost his heart to her and said, "You are really very beautiful. I have no words to praise your beauty.
Anarkali welcomed and gave him generous and cordial hospitality. She also presented a most attractive dance.
When Shivdutt was about to leave the palace, Anarkali requested him to come again. Shivdutt now become a daily visitor.
One day, Anarkali proposed to Shivdutt saying, "I came here only to search for a life partner. Would you like to marry me?" Shivdutt deeply in love and bewitched by her beauty, readily agreed. Soon they got married. Shivdutt shifted to the palace of Anarkali and started living there. When Anarkali was pregnant, she expressed her desire to go back and told Shivdutt, "I am going on the orders of the king. Do not be sad. I will come back soon."
But on reaching Patliputra, Kalavati did not return. At the right time, she gave birth to a baby boy. As the child grew, Kalavati taught her son all the art and skills. She also gave him a good education.
This way the boy became perfect in all the arts. When he was about 12 years old wanted to know about his father. Kalavati narrated him the story and said, "Your father is a great scholar and learned man. He lives in Taxila. His name is Shivdutt. He also has a very close friend named Namdev."
Knowing about him, the boy promised to bring his father back home. After receiving his mother's blessings, he proceeded to Taxila. There, he made a thorough search for his father. Someone told him that Shivdutt was very distressed and kept himself busy in gambling. He reached the gambling house and recognized his father with the help of his features described by his mother. His father was busy gambling. The boy had also been taught the art of gambling by his mother. He was an expert in it. He participated in the game and soon won all the money the gamblers had. Shivdutt was very impressed by the boy, who seemed to be very intelligent. He asked the boy, "Who taught you the art of gambling at this young age?"
The boy said, "I Know many arts and have deep knowledge of different subjects."
Shivdutt invited the boy to stay with him. The boy made a condition that they would tell stories to each other. At the end of the story, the listener would have to explain the hidden meaning of the story. The one who is unable to do it would accept his defeat and serve the other as a slave for ever. He accepted the condition of the boy.
Next day, the competition of storytelling started between the boy and his father. The first story was told by Shivdutt, "There was famine in the state of a king. He covered the beloved of the pig by the chariot of serpents and showers of water. This way the king ended the famine."
The boy clarified, "The chariot of serpents means clouds. The earth beloved of the pig that refers to Lord Vishnu who had incarnated as a pig. That is, the king produced cereals with the help of rain."
The correct answer surprised Shivdutt. Now the boy's turn, "Long Ago, a strange boy was born on the earth. His birth caused the earth to shake. When he gained age, he stepped out onto another world."
Shivdutt accepted his defeat. The boy was now ready to go back his home. Shivdutt had to go to Patliputra as slave. The boy went to his mother with his father, who recognized Kalavati but asked about the birth of the boy.
Kalavati clarified how she had done all this only to bring him back. This way she proved her words and asked her husband, "Will you leave us again?"
Shivdutt said, "Oh no! Never! The boy has made me his slave by winning the competition of storytelling."
Shivdutt was very happy to get his wife and son back after a long time.