Mahadenamutta goes in search of new pupils
Retold by R. S. KARUNARATNE
One fine morning Mahadenamutta looked at his obedient pupils and said, "I think I need some more pupils to learn at my feet. I’m also getting old day by day and my knowledge will go waste if I don’t teach what I know to a few more pupils."
The five pupils never questioned their guru. So they got ready to go with the master to find a few more students.
Mahadenamutta led the expedition carrying his walking stick. As usual, he was dressed in a black coat and white cloth. He wore the semi-circular ‘nemi panava’ on his head.
He was immediately followed by Indikatu pencha who carried the master’s precious ola-leaf book. Puvak Badilla looked at the few stars shining in the distant sky. Polbemuna carried his master’s betel bag.
All of them – Mahadenamutta and his five pupils walked about in so many remote villages from morning to dusk but could not find a single new recruit.
"Now we can’t walk any longer as the night is falling. Let us stay in an ‘Ambalama’ (a resting place built for weary travellers). Luckily for them they spotted an ambalama by the side of the road and decided to stay the night there.
All of them were feeling very hungry. Mahadenamutta asked Kotukithaiya to bring some rice. Then he spotted Polbemuna and asked him to bring some vegetables and fish.
"Rabboda Aiya, you go and bring some bricks to prepare a hearth," Mahadenamutta said.
"Puvak Badilla, what are you doing there? Go and bring some banana leaves to have our meals," he said.
Indikatu Pencha was ordered by his master to stay back and do the cooking.
Mahadenamutta was about to relax a little when Kotukithaiya returned to the Ambalama without any rice.
"What happened?" Mahadenamutta questioned him.
"The boutique keeper wanted one cent more for a measure of rice. So I refused to buy rice from him," Kotukithaiya explained.
Then came Polbemuna without any vegetables and fish.
"What happened?" Mahadenamutta demanded.
"Some vegetables are bad for phlegm and some fish is not good for our health. So I didn’t buy any."
Meanwhile, Rabboda Aiya too returned without bricks.
"What’s your explanation?" asked the master.
"I couldn’t find three bricks of the same size. So I didn’t bring any," was his reply.
Puvak Badilla also returned to the Ambalama without banana leaves.
I found a banana plantation. But when I tried to cut a leaf a ‘huna’ (house lizard) said ‘chik… chik’ and I didn’t want to cut it.
So all of them went to bed without dinner. -ANCL
Tagged: , Folk tales Sri Lanka , Mahadenamutta , Sri , Lanka , Sri Lanka.