Kalidas Story: You gave me bad luck

Kalidasa was a famous Sanskrit poet who lived in India during the third century A.D. As a young boy, he was poor and lived with his mother in small hut facing the king’s palace. Within the palace walls was a large orchard of mango trees. During the fruit season, the trees were heavy with sweet, delicious mangoes. When no one was watching, Kalidasa would climb over the walls and help himself to the mangoes.

One day when Kalidasa was stealing the mangoes, he did not realize that the king was watching him from the palace window. That morning, while the king was peeling a mango, he accidentally cut his hand. Since the cut drew a lot of blood, the king summoned his Wise men and fortune tellers to tell him the significance of that accident.

The Wise men thought for a while and asked the king if he saw anything unusual that morning. The king replied that he saw a boy stealing some mangoes from the palace ground. ‘Oh! What your majesty saw was very inauspicious. That boy will bring you bad luck,’ said the Wise men. ‘It is good if your majesty could get rid of him immediately.’

The king ordered that Kalidasa be brought before him. As the poor trembling boy stood before the king, he was told that the king had seen him stealing the mangoes and this had brought the king bad luck. He was asked if he had anything to say before he was taken away for execution.

‘I’m very sorry for bringing you bad luck, Your Majesty,’ said Kalidasa. ‘But it is reasonable to also punish accordingly the person who saw me this morning because as you can see he has brought me bad luck too.’ That reply surprised the king as he realized that he was a fool to have listened to the fortune tellers who called themselves Wise men. Being impressed with Kalidasa, the king adopted him as his son. It was in the palace that Kalidasa developed his literary skills and later emerged as a famous poet in India.