Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Folktale from Sri Lanka: Story of Mahadenamutta

Mahadenamutta means all-knowing sage; ironically, he did not know anything and all his judgements were erroneous. He was an old man who lived in a village with his faithful five disciples whose wisdom matched with their master. Mahadenamutta was the village judge. So he held a prestigious place in the village, and people came to him to seek justice. He, on the other hand, executed the most unlikely defected from its genesis judgement to those cases. Better or for worse, we never hear the side of the village folks.

One day a villager came across a problem. His one and only goat, from whom he got milk for his breakfast, got his head stuck inside a pot and struggled to get out of it. Failing which, the villager came running for a wise solution from this renowned old judge. The judge regally, sitting on the elephant surrounded by his ever faithful disciples, thus spoke.

Asking irrelevant questions that did not even remotely have reflection on this scene, dangling with it just to pretend the gravity of the scene, he ordered the poor man to cut the neck of his beloved goat. The villager dared to disobey. Then he instructed the man to smash the pot to release the head of the goat. Nodding triumphantly at the crowd, he ordered the carcass to be taken to his house. (Ayoma Samaratunge)

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