Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Machiavelli in the making

An American missionary High school Principal gave king Rangan Texas peanuts in shell he brought from America. The king ate the domesticated peanuts and liked the taste and flavor so much so, he planted them all in his farm. Soon enough, the plants grew and matured. The king’s farmer harvested the peanuts and gathered them into several mounds in the field. The scarecrows guarded the peanuts against rapine crows and squirrels pillaging the open fields for peanuts.

That day a boy was walking along the edge of the field. He could not resist swiping a few handfuls of peanuts on the way home from the school. He stuffed them in the pockets in the shirt and the trousers. On exiting the farm, the king's guards caught him red-handed with peanuts in his pockets.

They first took him to his father. The father and his son did not admit theft of king's peanuts. The father covered his son with a dupatta to ward off the chilly and windy weather. It was a long distance to the king's court. The guards led them from the front. They stopped by a stream to quench their thirst. They reached the court, and the king asked the guards to produce the stolen peanuts. There were no peanuts either on the boy or on his father. The guards claimed that the boy must have eaten the peanuts on the way. The wise king ordered the guards to retrace their steps back to the field to find the empty shells. The guards returned empty-handed because the shells were blown off the road by the fierce wind. The boy and his father remained in the court until the guards came back.

The king: Do you have any evidence that the boy ate the peanuts on his way? Did you find the empty shells?

The guards: we did not find even one half-shell on the path we took.

The Smell Test

The king asked the king's chef to smell the mouth of the boy for any lingering peanut smell in the mouth.

The chef politely told the king, “I am allergic to peanuts and should not risk smelling his mouth.

The king summoned his wine connoisseur to smell the boy’s mouth.

The wine connoisseur: I smell a rose in his mouth. No peanut smell. (The boy was sucking on a rose candy after quenching his thirst.)

For further test, the king summoned the palace monkey, the in-house peanut expert to detect any evidence of peanut in the mouth of the boy.  The monkey explored the mouth of the boy like a dentist going over his gums and teeth.  No peanut to speak off.  No smell of peanut either.

 It was squeaky clean. The monkey shook its head. No one knew or remembered the boy drank water, rinsed his mouth in the stream and ate a candy on the way to the palace.

The king let the boy and the father go for lack of evidence and chided the guards.

The king knew that the boy somehow fooled him, the guards, the connoisseurs, and the palace monkey.  He said to himself: "No peanut; no case." The king dropped the case and granted him one-year supply of peanuts for false arrest.

       Peanut Sleuths: Google images. 


 On the way back home, the boy and his father went by the peanut field. The boy happy that he fooled the guards and the king stole a few handfuls of peanuts against his father's advice and ate them. The king trailing the boy and his father then dressed as an ordinary subject of the kingdom, saw the boy stealing and eating the peanuts. The king caught the boy red-handed, admonished him, cancelled the one-year free supply of peanuts, and imposed on him a fine three times the price of the peanuts he stole. Since his father could not afford to pay the fine, the king allowed the boy to work in the palace gardens after school in lieu of the fine picking flowers for the palace temple evening services. Since then, he became a well-behaved boy. When he grew up, he got a job as a palace guard.