Long, long ago when the Sinhalese kings were ruling Srilanka, there lived a famous court jester by the name of Andare. By his many tricks and witty jests, he amused the king and the queen at all times of the day. He was therefore allowed much liberty at the court. One morning, when he went to the palace, he saw some sugar spread on a mat put out dry in an inner courtyard. He pretended not to know what it was and asked the king, who happened to be there at the time,” What is this stuff, your Majesty, that is on the mat?” “It is a kind of white sand Andare,” my lord; not so soon,” said Andare, and immediately thought of a cunning plan to eat the sugar. When he returned home that evening he told his wife and son of the sugar in the palace and his plan to eat it up. The following morning he gave some instructions to his son and set off to the palace. The king happened to be once again put out to dry. They were soon in deep conversation when Andare’s son appeared on the scene with sings of great distress.”What’s the matter, my son?” asked the jester.”Oh, father dear, father dear, our mother dear has just died,” sobbed the lad. “And she called out to you several times before she died. Oh father, what shall we do?” Andare thereupon fell on his knees and, wringing his arms like a mad man, began to weep in a torrent, yelling out, ” What is the use of my life now? Let there be sand in my mouth! I too want to die!” With that, he rolled about on the mat gulping down handfuls of the “white sand!” Little Andare too followed the father’s example and soon the sugar on the mat was almost over. The king was both astonished and amused at the scene. He knew that Andare had once again played him a handsome trick. “Take home” he said to his jester “what is left of the sand. Place a little of it in your dead wife’s mouth, and see what comes of it. Perhaps she may come back to life, Andare !”

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