Once upon a time, there lived in a small hut a boy with his grandmother. To make ends meet, he would go into the forest every day, looking for wood to sell. Life went on as normal until the zamindar, or the landlord, began harassing them, demanding a higher tax.

One day, when the boy went looking for wood, he came across a massive hole with steps leading further inside. Carefully, he stepped into the hole and found himself inside a majestic palace, adorned with intricate carvings. Inside the palace was a beautiful fairy. However, she was crying bitterly. Even more surprising was the fact that her tears turned to gems as soon as they rolled down her bewitchingly rosy cheeks.

When the boy inquired as to why she was crying, the fairy replied that she felt very lonely. She added that she wanted to explore the world, but was bound to the palace. He pitied the fairy and decided to tell her about the world instead. And thus he started narrating the tales he knew about the human realm. Listening to his tales, the fairy stopped crying and gifted him the largest one of her tear-shaped gems.

The boy went back home, gamboling all the way with the gem in his hand. When he showed it to his grandmother, she asked him to hand it over to the zamindar as the rent for that month. Being an obedient fellow, the boy did as he was asked to and went to the zamindar’s.

Now, the zamindar was a fairly greedy man. As soon as he spotted the gem, he thought that the boy could bring him even more of those precious stones. Thinking so, he threatened the boy that if he failed to fetch him more jewels, he would banish them from the village.

Scared to the bone, the boy rushed to the fairy to seek help. The fairy cried and cried for days as the boy kept on collecting the gem stones to hand them over to the avaricious zamindar. This continued for several days, until the fairy could not cry anymore. She gave the boy a box instead, saying that no harm would come to him as long as he had the box.

Taking the mysterious box with him, the boy went to the zamindar without a gem in his hand. This incensed the zamindar. He began beating the boy with a cane. Astonishingly though, the boy did not get a scratch. Unbeknownst to the zamindar the boy was being shielded by the box. The old man was terrified out of his wits and fell over with shock.

The boy then opened the box, releasing the five demons it held captive. The demons grabbed hold of theΒ rapacious landlord, and tossed him high into the sky. He vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. The fairy too did not have to shed another tear thereafter.

Hence, as has been rightly said: “Greed, in the end, fails even the greedy.”

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Ananya Susarla, Folk Tale writer at Ameya
Ananya Susarla

Ananya both loves to read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Shoot her an email at ananyasusarla2915@gmail.com if you would like to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Folktales of India.