Gopal was a clever and witty jester. He lived in a small kingdom, ruled by a king called raja Krishna Chandra. The Raja often turned to Gopal to help him out of difficult situations or solve a difficult problem.
In Gopal’s city, Hilsa fish was a very popular fish. Hilsa fish being available only once a year, never failed to grab everyone’s attention and interest. When it was Hilsa season, housewives exchanged recipes; shopkeepers discussed the latest price of Hilsa. Fishermen talked about catching the biggest Hilsa of the season.
The king Raja Krishna was surprised to see even his courtiers discussing Hilsa fish rather than more important state matters. Finally, unable to bear this anymore he decided to put an end to all this talk about the fish. He thought he would be at peace even if people would stop talking about it for a few minutes. He announced a reward of fifty gold coins to anyone who could bring to the palace a big Hilsa fish from the market. But he also said that while bringing the fish to the palace no passerby must talk about the fish.
Even after week no one succeeded in this challenge. Simple as the task seemed many tried to attempt it but the look of Hilsa fish did not fail to excite remarks from onlookers. After a week Gopal decided to take up the challenge.
He woke up one morning, shaved off half of his beard, put mud all over his face and hair, put on old clothes and wore his shirt backwards. His wife when she looked at him demanded to know where he was going dressed like that. “To get the biggest Hilsa fish available.” So saying he left her and headed to the market. There he bought a big Hilsa fish; he started walking towards the palace making very little effort to hide the fish.
On the way people who were shocked at Gopal’s appearance. They wondered if he had finally gone mad. With mud on his face and his beard half-shaven he did look strange. Some others feared that Gopal had lost his memory. When Gopal reached the palace gates the guards hardly recognized him and wouldn’t let him inside. One guard went inside to inform the king, the king, the king summoned Gopal inside. He took one look at Gopal and was shocked to see his best advisor looking like a tramp. He demanded Gopal to explain himself. Gopal merely laughed and replied that he had won the challenge and the king owed him fifty gold coins. The king looked confused. He wanted to know what challenge Gopal was talking about. Gopal unwrapped a big. Hilsa fish from under his arms and showed it to the king. No one who had met him had spoken anything about the fish. In fact no one had noticed the fish, and Gopal’s looks had distracted them. The king praised Gopal’s cleverness and gave him fifty gold coins, but told him to go home at once and clean himself. Gopal went home happier and richer.