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Egg-Diamonds

Egg-Diamonds.html

Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

 How would you like to feel and fondle these egg-size diamonds? They were so sought after by the high and the mighty, they were stolen. The king investigates their disappearance. Guess what, they ended up in the queen's chamber in another kingdom. Who are the culprits? The envoy of envoys retrieves the diamonds. They were so realistic; a chicken might have incubated them. Follow the diamonds changing hands and eventually ending up where they came from.

There were five littoral kingdoms contiguous or close to each other. The central kingdom was surrounded by four kingdoms in four cardinal directions. The inner kingdom ruler was Naduvan; the east, Valavan; the west, Idavan; and the north, Melavan and the south, Kizavan. Most of the time, they got along well except for the cattle encroaching on each other's kingdom in the cardinal directions for grazing. Strangely enough, the central kingdom, the largest of all, was surrounded by a humongous lake on all sides. The only way people and goods could move to other kingdoms and the island was by ferry. The lake spanned 14 miles to the east, 12 miles to the north, 14 miles to the west and 12 miles to the south. It appeared as if a volcano in the distant past shot up in the air and created the island in the middle of a lake. The island was roughly an oval bulging in the north-south direction and longer in the east-west direction. The island itself was like an egg laying on its side 12 miles sideways and 14 miles up and down.
The Island Nation was called Muttai-Thivu (
முட்டைத்தீவு), ruled by Naduvan. He was a hereditary king of this waterlocked nation, his dynasty going back at least 500 years. He claimed he belonged to Solar dynasty. His ancestors kept cordial relationship among the five nations regarding littoral rights. All the five littoral nations had a right of fishing and drawing water only half a mile from the respective borders. They may not move troops across the water without explicit permission from all the rulers. There was free movement of people and goods between the five nations. The island nation was rich in agriculture and exported grains, fruits and vegetables. There were many streams in the island nation, where fish were abundant.
These five nations were once a big nation a long time ago, which was divided among the five brothers. Beyond the five nations, the country was a large continent ruled by other kings.
As far as protection was concerned, the Naduvan Island kingdom was the safest. On a clear day, the guards from the watch towers can see the island and other littoral nations well. The five brothers in the cardinal directions and the island married daughters of the ruling kings in the surrounding areas. This offered protection from invading kings from other distant lands. This concentric protection was a model for other nations in olden days. The five brothers visited with each other to keep in touch. They all had riparian villas.

They chose envoys having loyalty, love for the king, high birth and social graces fit for a king. Three qualifications such as enthusiasm, analytical intellect and specialized knowledge of the subject on hand were essential qualities of an envoy. He must be well grounded in ethics and laws and represent successfully his king's interest in arguments. The one with the specialized knowledge of the subject, gravitas in appearance and good speech, intimate knowledge of the details on hand served as the king's envoy. Cogent presentation to the king, avoiding criminal speech, pleasant speech with the other king and obtaining good results are the marks of an envoy. An ideal envoy would assess the situation on hand, not be browbeaten by fiery eyes of the opponent, explain his case well and conduct himself according to time and circumstance. Bearing in mind his duties, time and place, a good envoy accordingly would speak with equanimity and fairness. Purity, analytical mind, and resourcefulness are three essential requirements in an envoy. The one capable of presenting his king's message without distortion to the other king and not falling a victim to misspeak is the only one capable of carrying the message to the other king. Diplomacy is to represent the king's good in all possible ways without remiss or fear of death. Verses 681-690 Tirukkural. Translation by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj.

There is no nation without some problems with other nations or criminals. There were thugs in the five kingdoms. They were always going in and out of jails. They were resourceful in home invasion and robbery usually on moonless nights. They apply heavy oil on the body, wear face masks, rob the owner of jewels and when caught just slip away because of oil-laden skin. Once the crown jewels were stolen from the king's treasury in the island kingdom. The robbers escaped to the other kingdom by boat in the middle of the night. The word went out to all the five kingdoms and beyond. They were so precious there was no market for them; the buyers would receive the death sentence for buying or holding royal jewels. All the five kings deployed spies. All the gold and diamond jewelers were notified of the theft. The thieves arranged in the outlying kingdoms to hide the jewels. The best place to hide jewels was in the outlying king's treasury, where no one would look for them. They had contacts with the guards safeguarding the treasury. They buried them under the floor inside the treasury in one of the kingdoms.
The word spread throughout the subcontinent of the theft of the royal jewels. Every king ordered the respective treasurer to take an inventory of the jewels, precious metals, diamonds... to make sure they were not the victims. In one of the outlying kingdoms, when the minions of the treasurer were walking inside the treasury, they found a loose marble floor tile. They removed the loose tile and found a box containing a plethora of jewels. Two egg-size diamonds of pristine quality were among the finds. They were priceless; the king was notified and the news spread like wildfire. They did not belong to the king, which he was sure.
King Naduvan of Muttai-Thivu came to know of this and claimed what was his. He inherited the egg-diamonds from his father and from a long line of kings before him. He sent messengers to the outlying and far-flung kingdoms with which he had no treaty of any sort. Though there was no treaty of repair, restoration, reparation or repatriation with the far-flung kingdoms, the king (Idaiyan) hesitated to part with the newly-acquired priceless diamonds planted by somebody in the treasury. Idaiyan convened the ministers and sought their advice. They declared it was a fortuitous find in his palace grounds, probably planted by thieves, and that he had every right to keep them.
King Naduvan was informed of the decision that king Idaiyan would not part with them.
Naduvan assembled ministers and legal experts for consultation. They advised the king to send an envoy to recoup the jewels and diamonds. There was no suggestion to go to war with the Idaiyan for the jewels. Idaiyan's kingdom provided protection to Naduvan's kingdom in the sense, that enemy soldiers had to defeat Idaiyan's soldiers and of his own brothers to invade his island-nation. In the king's mind, Idaiyan's land was a buffer state against invasions.
Naduvan sent a seasoned envoy (Thuthan) older than king Idaiyan. He was a quick wit, very guarded in his words, fast to think on his feet, very gracious and not prone to anger or calumny. More to his favor, the envoy was his father-in-law, had the confidence of the king and an aura of gravitas with the other kings.
Idaiyan received Thuthan with fanfare, wined and dined him and let him stay in the palace rooms. All the preliminary findings were exchanged between the two parties. Each party studied the findings thoroughly and was sure it had a strong case.
A court was appointed, and the king was the judge.
Thuthan: King Naduvan sends his good wishes to the king, his family, his cabinet and his subjects.
The chief minister: We knew of the egg-diamonds in King Naduvan's possession. We have no doubt they were his to begin with. We had nothing to do with the theft and their burial in the palace here.
Thuthan: That being so, in the name of King Naduvan, I demand you repatriate the diamonds for safe return to the king.
Deputy minister: They were in the king's palace, and so they belong to our king.
Thuthan: A stolen property, wherever found, belongs to the original owner.
Chief Councilor: There is no law which compels us to return or repatriate the diamonds, stolen or not.
Deputy Councilor: Finders, Keepers.
Thuthan: That law applies only to an object not owned by anyone. King Naduvan owned and can claim them as his.
Deputy Councilor: "Finder-Keeper" is the law of our land, and your argument does not hold legitimacy here.
Thuthan: There was no finder of these egg-diamonds; they were stolen. The thieves did not find them in your kingdom but stole them from King Naduvan's treasury.
Deputy Councilor: Find them, we did here. Keep them, we will.
Thuthan: I have in my possession an interminable agreement between the two kingdoms that a stolen property should be restored to the owner where the owner lives.
King Idaiyan: Jumping out of his throne, let me see it.
Thuthan: Respectfully, let me suggest to you that my deputies and your deputies can sit together, make an exact copy of the original in the presence of all. I would certify that the copy is an accurate reproduction of the original copy.
King Idaiyan: I agree with you.
Thuthan: Your highness, I would suggest that your Royal Record Keeper look for the agreement papers in the Royal Record Room.
King Idaiyan: I agree. We will assemble here tomorrow. We will retire after a copy is made.

They all retired for the day after a copy was made in the presence of all. The king ordered his staff to locate the original document supposedly in his possession.

Thuthan, his co-councilors and body guards retired to their rooms. Thuthan thought that king's men with or without his knowledge may want to steal the document of repatriation. The Deputy Councilor to the king and his men invaded the rooms in the night, overwhelmed the guards and left with a strongbox with a document. They hid the copy they made of the original document somewhere in the palace.
Next morning, the court came to a session.
The king: Thuthan, are you ready to show us the document.
Thuthan: The Deputy Councilor and his men came in the dead of the night and took away the strong box containing a document. May we see the copy made of the original document?
The king was flustered and upset and ordered the men to produce the copy. They could not find it.
Thuthan: Your Highness, do we have your permission to inspect the original document in your possession?
The chief minister: You do not have your original document and the copy is lost.
Thuthan: You did not tell us whether you found your own original document.
The chief minister: We have no such document, and so the egg-diamonds belong to king Idaiyan.
Thuthan: I recommend that you search the queen's chamber for your original document and our copy.
Idaiyan the king: He was seething with anger to note Thuthan's insinuations.
Thuthan: Addressing the assembly. The queen, the chief minister and the deputy councilor conspired to hide the documents so the queen can keep the egg-diamonds.
The king's face turned fiery red and he was blowing steam from all orifices.
The king's men went to the queen's chamber and found the documents intact.
The king: How did you know that they would be in the queen's chamber?
Thuthan: Our investigation of theft of diamonds led to the queen as the chief plotter and beneficiary of the stolen egg-diamonds. We further plead that no harm come to the queen, because she made a mistake.
The king felt that King Naduvan had spies to investigate the case in his kingdom, before he deputed Thuthan.
The chief minister: Still we need your original document of repatriation.
The chief minister thought that the king (the queen) could still keep the egg-diamonds, if Thuthan cannot produce his original document.
The king ordered the stolen box opened. There were shredded papers and no document.
Thuthan: Your Royall Highness. I hid the original document under the mattress so the palace thieves would not steal it.
Thuthan produced the document, and all three documents agreed to the very letter. This was confirmed by all assembled people.
Immediately, the egg-diamonds and the jewelry were repatriated to Naduvan's envoy, Thuthan.

The king dismissed the chief minister and the deputy councilor and admonished the queen.

Thuthan returned to the Island kingdom with his cache of jewels and the egg-diamonds. The king built an underground locker for safeguarding the precious jewels. They were placed in a glass enclosure under 24-hour watch by his trusted soldiers. There were lapses.

Because of public humiliation of the chief minister and deputy councilor, they voluntarily left the kingdom in disguise, so they would not be readily identified in the surrounding kingdoms. They were afraid to be picked up by other rulers as spies from King Idaiyan. They wandered around from kingdom to kingdom as travelling jewelry salesmen. They maintained good records of all buys and sells because any hanky-panky would cause unmasking of their earlier lives. They never put their roots in one place for any length of time.
Many years later the duo came to Naduvan's kingdom, hoping no one would notice them. They sought and obtained service with the king as the connoisseurs of gold and diamonds. For many years, they were simply buying gold and diamonds for the king. They were always moving in and out of the treasury because of their job description. They developed good relationship with other workers in the treasury.
They could steal no jewelry because there was a very strict supervision by loyal armed guards. The jewels and diamonds moved in boxes from the palace to treasury and vice versa under heavy armed guard. The duo in disguise arranged and mapped out the layout of the treasury, the exit points, contacts outside the palace and a quick exit by ferry out of the island-nation. The scheme was well thought out and planned. 
They could not resist the itch to steal the egg-diamonds. On a moonless night, both stole the egg-diamonds and absconded. The plan was put in place. They approached the glass dome covering the two egg diamonds. They used the diamond cutter to cut the glass. Both worked on the glass dome. As they cut the glass, the pressure on the dome with their hands triggered open the trap doors below their feet. Down went the duo to the basement used as the sleeping quarters of the treasury guard. The heavy thud woke up the soldiers. They were caught with their diamond glass cutters in hand.
They were immediately arrested, placed under guard, till the sun came up the next day and produced before the king at daybreak.
King Naduvan: Who are you?
The chief minister in disguise: I am a jewelry assessor in your employ.
The deputy Councilor was still in jail waiting for his appearance before the king.
The king: What do you have to say for yourself in your defense?
The CM in disguise (Bald Head): Your father-in-law asked us to steal the egg-diamonds for repatriation to his son in the outlying kingdom.
The king was married to a princess from the outlying kingdom. The father-in-law is now staying with his daughter the queen and the son-in-law, the king.
The king: You are dismissed and stay in your waiting room until you are called back.
The prisoner was taken back to his jail cell.
The Deputy councilor (Sickle Nose) was brought before the king. Before he appeared before the king, he was softened by his proximity to the lion cage.
The king: What do you have to say for your defense?
The DC in disguise: It was not my fault. Bald Head planned everything and I was just following his plan.
The king: Who is to benefit from this grand theft?
Sickle Nose: Both of us.
The king: Is there anyone who asked you and him to steal the egg-diamonds from our treasury?
Sickle Nose: I don't know of anyone else.
The king: You may go back to your jail cell and wait until you are called back.
The king ordered the guards to produce the Bald Head before him. This time he was softened by his placement near a lion cage.
The king: What is your moniker, Sickle Nose?
Bald Head: I am not Sickle Nose. The other one is Sickle Nose. I am Bald Head.
The king: Point out my father-in-law, who you say, asked you to steal the egg-diamonds.
Bald Head: He pointed out the animal caretaker dressed in royal robes, as the father-in-law (FIL). The real father-in-law had the uniform of a servant in attendance in the court.
The king: Produce Mr. Thuthan (FIL) before me in this court. Thuthan sat in the witness box with his uniform of a lowly servant.
The king: State your name and tell who you are.
FIL: I am Thuthan, your FIL.
The king: Did you ask Bald Head to steal the Egg-Diamonds for transportation to your son.
FIL: No, I never did. Besides, this person going by the Moniker Bald Head was the chief minister of King Idaiyan. He, in collusion with Sickle Nose stole the diamonds.
The king: How could you be sure about his identity?
FIL: Bald Head has a large hypertrophic scar (
தழும்பு) on his left shoulder.
The king: How do you know that?
FIL: The day when he tried to rob me of the document in Idayan's palace, he came in like a thug without his shirt. I noticed a scar on his left shoulder that looked like an egg.
The king: Addressing the prisoner, take off your shirt and show us the left shoulder.
There it was for everyone to see, a big hypertrophic scar on his left shoulder.
The king: Do you know of any identifying mark of the other prisoner?
FIL: Yes, I do.  The other prisoner has a large black birthmark on his back with hairs growing on it.
The king: Take this prisoner away and bring the Sickle Nose.
The Bald Head was taken away and placed in chains near the hungry growling lion.
Sickle Nose was produced before the king.
The king: Take off your shirt and show us your back.
There it was, a large black patch about 3 inches across with hairs growing on it.
The king: Bring back Bald Head.
Bald Head was produced before the king.
Both prisoners were in their respective boxes.
The king ordered a witness produced before him. This surprise witness was a diamond merchant (DM).
The King: You name and occupation.
DM: My name is Vairam. I am in your employ for over 30 years. My role is that of a fence in your employ.
The king: Do you know why you are here?
Vairam: Yes, these two characters came asking me to break the egg diamonds into a hundred pieces, so they could never be identified. They planned to transport them across many kingdoms for selling.
The king: You are dismissed but stay in the court.
The king held consultation with the ministers and determined with the help of the spies that his FIL had nothing to do with the planned theft of the egg-diamonds.
The king had the supreme authority to punish the duo anyway he wanted. Chopping their hands was not an option for the compassionate king. Cutting of their genitals was not appropriate for a theft offence. He considered and ruled out death penalty. They were not tried for the first theft of the diamonds.
He sent Thuthan to King Idaiyan and asked him whether he wanted the prisoners extradited to his country for trial and punishment.

Thuthan came back home carrying the message that King Idaiyan wanted them extradited to his kingdom for a fair trial and punishment.
The duo was extradited to Idayan's kingdom.
The case had a long trial because the duo claimed the queen had a hand in the theft of the egg-diamonds. King Idaiyan assembled his cabinet and asked its opinion.
The Cabinet gave a unanimous opinion:
The queen never really asked the duo to steal the egg-diamonds. She only expressed the desire she wished she had them. This statement of the queen was well known in the court. That statement was taken by the duo to mean they could steal with impunity the diamonds under the false authority of the queen. The queen or no one else gave them permission to steal the diamonds. The diamonds were placed in a secret place in the queen's chamber, unknown to the queen. The duo acted alone.
The king assembled prominent citizens to award punishment to the former chief minister and deputy councilor. They put tattoos of Egg-Diamonds all over the body, so they will always be noticed wherever they went. The palms and their hands were tattooed prominently. They could not sell jewelry any more anywhere. Both had the image of Egg-diamonds tattooed on their forehead. This was as severe a punishment as cutting off their hands. The tattoo artist without authorization from the king put tattoos of the egg diamonds on the buttocks of the Bald Head and Sickle Nose, as if to mean they were incubating the eggs.
Both stayed in the Idayan's kingdom and took to pottery with designs of egg-diamonds on them with a note "Never Again." They also sold emptied and painted egg shells filled with clay. Their business thrived.

March 4, 2015.
Years went by with no incidents. The monthly inventory of royal treasury took place and the egg diamonds showed less luster. The king summoned Avikam (=
அவிகம்) the royal lapidary to examine the eggs. After a thorough examination of the two pieces, he declared they were mere glass pieces, worth only a price of two chicken eggs.  That analogical pun infuriated the king, who, to his better judgment, did not flash his anger against the lapidary.

The Egg Roll
The eggs (the ball) rolled. The king’s men raided the workplaces of the glassmiths (glassblowers) and identified one glassblower as the culprit. His workshop had the broken eggshell with the clay egg on the work desk.  He also had a finished glass egg that remarkably resembled the egg diamond.
The glassblower by name Andam (
அண்டம்) was the supplier of glassware to the royal household. His fame is such he made glassware for the royal couples in the neighboring kingdoms.
The soldiers produced the glassblower in the king's court charging him with the theft of egg diamonds.
King Naduvan: I remember you visiting the queen to take orders for royal glassware.
Andam: Yes, you Highness.
King: Is it true that you made glass eggs in your foundry?
Andam: Yes, your Highness.
King: Who placed the order for you to make the glass diamonds?
Andam: No one. I made them on my own initiative.
King: Where did you get the idea to make these glass eggs?
Andam:  I went once visiting with Bald Head and Sickle Nose to buy some painted clay playthings for my daughter. I saw the painted eggs in his shop. I bought a few, since they looked very attractive. I knew your treasury had the egg diamonds and replaced them with my creation.
King: How were you able to substitute the real diamonds with the glass pieces?
Andam: My brother Madaiyan (
மடையன்) was one among the royal guards in charge of protecting the Royal treasury. After the lapidary handled, weighed, polished, and put the diamonds in their nests, my brother replaced them with the glass pieces with a sleight of hand under the pretext he corrected their angles of placement.
King: Did you have any collaborators in this theft other than your brother? Did Bald Head and Sickle Nose have anything to do with this theft?
Andam: No, no one excepting my brother collaborated with me in this theft.
The king sent him back to his room in the jail, housing a caged hungry growling tiger. All night long the tiger was growling from hunger. Andam did not have even one wink of sleep.

Next day, the king summoned Avikam, the lapidary.
King: What prompted you to declare that the diamonds were glass pieces?
Avikam: I saw very minute air bubbles in the objects. They weighed lighter and looked dimmer, which prompted me to raise the alarm.
King: Do you have anything to do with the theft.
Avikam: Absolutely no.
Avikam is a distant cousin of the queen and raised no suspicions in the king.

Next day the king Naduvan summoned Bald Head and Sickle Nose.
King: Hey fellows, did you participate in the theft of egg diamonds?  Be honest and tell the truth. Or I will feed you to my hungry tigers.
The duo individually stood in the witness stand and said almost the same thing, denying any participation and guilt in the theft.

Having determined that no one other than Andam and Madaiyan colluded to steal the diamonds, the king wanted to find out where the culprits hid the diamond eggs.  Both remained in separate jail cells.
No amount of interrogation and threat would move the brothers to reveal the place of hidden diamonds.

Andam's wife supplied eggs daily to the palace. She would go with her son to the palace to deliver the eggs. The queen had a liking for the boy Ciriyan (
சிறியன்) and would even let him eat breakfast with her and the king.
The queen: Hey
Ciriya, how are you doing today?
Ciriyan: Queen mother, I have two gifts for you.

The queen noticing two bulging pockets said: OK Ciriyan, let me have them. Ciriyan handed the two eggs to the queen in the presence of the king. Both were shocked to see the egg diamonds produced by Ciriyan from his pockets. Ciriyan's mother was sitting in the outer hall and did not know what transpired here in her absence. The queen gave the boy two toys, which made him very happy. The mother and the boy left the premises.

Andam's wife Andi did not know that the boy Ciriyan gave the egg diamonds to the queen in the presence of the king. Ciriayan only showed the toys to his parents and did not reveal his transaction with the queen.

The king and the queen decided that Andi and the boy Ciriyan were both innocent.

The king summoned Andam.

King: I know you have the egg diamonds hidden somewhere. Tell me now where you have them.
Having been softened by the proximity to the growling tiger in his jail cell, he opened up.

Andam: I buried them under the hay in the back yard. Since I last saw them, they are missing.
It appeared from the evidence that the boy Ciriyan was playing in the backyard, found the Egg diamonds and handed over to the queen as gifts.

The king called the court into session and sought them to impose punishment on the glassblower Andam and his brother Madaiyan. Even before that, they were both dismissed from service to the king, who wanted to reward the boy for giving the queen the Egg diamonds.

The court decided on death penalty to Andam and Madaiyan. The king vetoed and overrode the judgment of the court because he did not want to deprive the boy of his father besides making his wife Andi a widow. 


Andam and Madaiyan were sent to the penal colony in the kingdom, where they worked for the king building roads, excavating lakes, canals...

Andi was still supplying eggs to the palace. The boy grew up into a young adult, sought and obtained a job in the palace grounds as the gardener. When he was not tending the garden, the king and the queen allowed him to go to school.