Once there was a king whose son was very ill-tempered and bad mannered. The king, the courtiers and many other eminent citizens tried to reform the prince and make him understand the bad impression his ill manners and wicked ways would create on the public. But the prince paid no heed to their sensible advices.
One day, the king saw a sage walking in front of the palace. He had an alms bowl in his hand. The king saw his glowing face with rediance and was very much impressed with the way the sage was walking.
His gait suggested that the sage was full of confidence and divine knowledge. The king asked one of his ministers to invite the sage to his court.
The sage came to the king’s court. He was received with great honour by the king and his courtiers.
When the king came to know that the sage was trying to find out a good dwelling place for himself, he offered him a hermitage in his palace. The sage accepted the offer of the king and started living in the hermitage.
One day, the king said to the sage, “You would have probably come to know by now, that my son is very ill-tempered and bad mannered. The people of my kingdom call him an unworthy prince. They don’t want him to succeed me as king. I request you kindly to teach the prince to mend his ways.”
Then the king discussed other matters of his kingdom with the sage and left his son under his direct care and guidance with a confidence that the sage will definitely ameliorate the prince and bring a positive reform in him.
The next day, the sage took the prince for a walk through the garden of the palace. Pointing to a tiny plant the sage said to the prince, “Eat a leaf of this plant and tell me how it tastes.”
The moment the prince tasted the leaf he immediately spat it on th ground. “It seems to be a poisonous seedling. If it is allowed to grow into a big tree, it may prove dangerous for the health of many people.” The prince pulled the tiny plant out of the ground and tore it to pieces.
Then the sage picked up the torned and mutilated plant and said to the prince, “As you’ve reacted in the case of this plant, the people of your kingdom may, one day, react in the same manner with you, because they think you are a wicked prince.
They may not allow you to rule the kingdom and may send you to exile. So it is much better that you mend your ways to create a feeling of mercy, compassion and kind heartedness all around ”
The prince understood the message of the sage. From that day onwards, he tried to grow humble and kind hearted, full of mercy and love.
The king was pleased and extremely happy to see such a big change in his son. He thanked the sage and expressed his gratefulness for his kindness.