The leaves are very bitter
Many years ago, a king ruled over a large kingdom. He was a pious king. He ruled wisely and fairy. His kingdom was flourishing. His subjects were honest and kind. There was everything in the kingdom that a king could aspire for. His subjects loved and respected him.
However, the king was not happy. The cause of his unhappiness was his son, the future king of the kingdom. The prince was brought up with great love and care. As a result, he had turned into an ill-mannered and irresponsible lad. He did not respect his father. Neither did he possess any quality that a prince did he possess. He was cruel to the subject and showed disrespect even to his teachers. The king was greatly worried about him.
Years passed and the prince showed no signs of improvement. The king was growing old. He worried about the future of his kingdom. One day, he heard about a wise, old sage. He decided to take the prince to him. The sage asked the king to leave the prince under his care for some days. Leaving his son with the sage, the king went back to his kingdom.
The sage observed the prince for a few days. One day, he called the prince to him and said, “Dear prince, the young ‘Neem’ plant that you see over there, is full of wisdom. Please go and pluck some of its leaves and eat them. You will then become as wise as your father. Then you will not get any scolding from him and everybody will respect you as they respect your father”.
The prince obeyed the sage. He plucked some leaves. Hardly had he bit the leaves that he started vomiting. He grew angry and said, “The leaves are very bitter. You told me that they are full of wisdom. How could you make me eat such bitter leaves? These leaves cannot contain any wisdom; I must destroy the plant, so that no other person ever tastes it again”. So saying, the prince pulled out the plant and threw it into the nearby river.
The sage smiled said, “Dear prince, you have destroyed this plant because it was bitter. Just think about the bitterness inside you. Your father is such a gentle and kind king. Everybody loves and respect him. But he is worried because he thinks that his kingdom will not flourish much under you. You have made more enemies than friends. You have no sweetness in your voice. Your enemies will uproot your kingdom, as you have uprooted this plant.
Therefore, you should try to mend your ways and learn to be kind and just like your father. Be polite and learn to obey your elders. You are the future king. You should try to uproot all the bitterness that is there in your nature. Otherwise your kingdom will be ruined and you will be blamed for it”.
The prince understood the wise words of the sage. He realized his mistakes and resolved to mend his ways. He bowed down at the sage’s feet and said,” O Holy one, from today onwards, I will not give my father a cause to worry. You have shown me a true path. I shall try to become a just and kind king as my father”.
So from that day, the prince mended his ways. He became a dutiful person ruled his kingdom fairly and wisely.