The Ungrateful Princess
There once lived a King in an island country. He was just and kind and loved by all his subjects. The King had only one regret. Even though he had been married to a beautiful Queen for many years, they had no children. The King and Queen offered many prayers and sacrifices but remained childless.
One day, one of his courtiers brought an old sage to the court.
“What good could this old man do for me?” the King asked when he saw the old seer.
“Your Majesty, he is an old learned man. He has helped many childless couples. Let him pray over you and the Queen and within a year and you will be blessed with a child” the courtier answered.
The King, though reluctant, allowed the sage to pray over himself and his wife. To the utter amazement of the King and the Queen, within a year, they were blessed with a little Princess. The King and Queen were delighted and threw a large banquet and invited many people from within their country and beyond.
The generous King asked his messengers to search for the old sage and invite him to the palace as well. However, the sage refused to come to the palace saying that his work was over and he did not expect anything in return from the King.
Many years passed and the Princess grew up to be the most beautiful woman in the country. However, everyone pampered the Princess and this made her selfish. She had no idea of life outside the palace and found reason to complain about every little thing.
“My soup is so cold” she complained to the cook at lunch.
“I wore the same clothes yesterday” she complained to her maid. “Fetch me new ones.”
“I’m feeling hot. Bring me cold water from the spring in the mountains” she ordered one of her father’s soldiers.
If anyone dared disobey the Princess promptly punished them by having them thrown into the dungeons under the palace. This went on for a very long time and the King soon grew fed-up with her constant complaining and decided to teach his daughter a lesson.
The next day, the King and Queen asked the Princess to come to meet an important guest who had come to visit them. The Princess was surprised when she saw an old sage in the courtroom. The King told her about how the Princess had come into the World because of the blessings of the sage.
“Bring me a cup of water dear girl,” the sage said.
The Princess found it strange that an ordinary old man should order her about, but she fetched him the water anyway.
“Oh! You brought water in a cup. I always drink out of a mud pot” the sage said.
The Princess brought the water in a mud pot and offered it to him, again.
“This water tastes too bland. I always drink water with a little sugar in it.”
The Princess complied with the demands of the sage again.
“The water is not enough. Add some more water to the pot and bring it to me. Then only will I drink it” the sage said, without so much as a sideways glance at the Princess.
The next time the Princess brought water, the sage said “The mud pot has gone dry now, wet it with some water on the outside and bring me water again.”
The Princess grew fed up and smashed the pot to the ground in anger.
Before she could say anything, the sage raised from his seat on the floor and said, “now you must know how everyone around you feels.”
The sage then took his leave of the King and Queen and left. The Princess had learned her lesson and changed her behavior from then on.