Once, there lived a man who was very rich but was a miser. He had a lot of money but did not like to spend it on anyone. One day, he was very sad because ants had entered his bowl of sugar. So, he thought of drying the sugar in the sun to drive the ants out. He placed the sugar in a heap on a large piece of paper and kept it out in the sun. But he was worried that his friend, Subba Sastry might come and eat the sugar so he sat on watch next to it.
Subba Sastry, who was very fond of sweets in any form, and had seen the rich man keep the sugar out in the sun. He called his son and said, “I am going to the rich man’s porch to talk to him. After five minutes, come running to me, shouting ‘Our cow is dead’.”
After giving his son these instructions, Subba Sastry went to the rich man’s porch and started talking to him. Subba Sastry asked the rich man why he was looking so upset. The rich man replied that he had been having a lot of losses. Then Subba Sastry asked him what he was drying and the rich man replied by saying that water had fallen into some mud in his garden so he was drying it.
Just then, Subba Sastry’s son came running to the porch shouting, “Our cow is dead! Our cow is dead!” Subba Sastry pretended to be grieving, and as was the custom, picked up one handful of the mud that was actually sugar and put it into his mouth. He picked up another handful and put it in his son’s mouth. The rich man was shocked to see this. He started shouting, “This is not mud! Don’t eat it. This is sugar.” Subba Sastry replied, “No, you told me that this is mud. It tastes like mud, too.” He went on eating till all the sugar was over. The miserly rich man was left sad and grieving over the loss of his sugar.
Subba Sastry and Sugar – Tenali Raman Stories