Raja : So, what do we do today?
lst Courtier : Sir, the day has arrived when Tenali Raman shows you his painting.
Raja : Where’s he? It’s late and almost time for my lunch.
2nd Courtier : Perhaps he’s so busy with his painting that he has lost track of the days.
3rd Courtier : Perhaps his painting is so good that he can’t bear to part with it.
Raja : Well, I can’t wait anymore. Somebody should go to his house and tell himthat he has lost his bet and the bag of gold.
4th Courtier : It’s only fair that if he doesn’t make good his boast, he should pay a penalty.I feel he should pay the court a bag of gold.
1st Courtier : Indeed, yes. I agree, Sir, that he should.
(Tenali comes in with two men carrying a painting covered with a sheet of cloth.When Tenali gestures, the men lift the cloth to display an empty canvas. The paintinghas only a few curved strokes of black on the right-hand edge and a few lines of greenat the bottom below it.)
Tenali : Good afternoon, Sir. See what a beautiful horse I have drawn. It’s amagnificent black stallion with a white star on its forehead. Look at thepolished leather saddle on it. Hmm, I wonder if I should have the reinstrail like that.
Raja : What’s this? I cannot see a horse! This is very insulting. You’re trying tomake a fool of me. There’s nothing on this canvas.
Tenali : Well, you were the one who told me that we had to use our imaginationwhen we looked at paintings. Imagine that the rest of the horse is justoutside the canvas grazing at some lush green grass. Look, you can see theedge of its tail in that corner.
Raja : You old rascal, you have got the better of me. Minister, where is that bag of gold? Give it to Tenali Raman, the cleverest man in my kingdom!