Table of Contents
This story tells us about Ratnanka, a poor but clever boy who uses his intelligence to become a successful merchant. Although he has dire circumstances, he utilises whatever he gets, such as a dead rat, to ultimately become a millionaire.
Ratnanka– a poor but clever boy
Madananka– Ratnanka’s father
Yaskshadatta– a merchant in the neighbouring village
Ratnanka’s Poor Circumstances
In Ujjain there was a young merchant named Madananka. He lost his father when he was young, so, his mother had brought him up with great affection and love. But he turned out to be a vagabond who did not settle down even after marriage to a suitable girl. One day Madananka left home, deserting his mother and pregnant wife.
His wife gave birth to a son after some time. He was named Ratnanka and brought up with affection and care and given a good education. When he was ten years old, his grandmother his grandmother told him to take up some business to make a living by seeking out a well-to-do merchant named Yakshadatta in the neighbouring village, who lent money to poor but capable persons.
Ratnanka went to Yakshadatta and explained his miserable circumstances, requesting he lend him some money for business that he would repay soon. Yakshadatta laughed and pointed towards a dead rat lying in the street, saying that was the capital he would lend him. He stated that to an intelligent man a dead rat would fetch millions, while even millions would be useless to an unintelligent man.
Ratnanka Uses the Dead Rat to Become a Millionaire
Ratnanka thought for a minute and then took the dead rat. He made a cup out of a leaf and placed the dead rat in that cup. He carried it through the streets to sell it. A merchant purchased it for the cat he was taming and gave Ratnanka some bengalgram. He took the bengalgram home and soaked it in water.
Next morning, he added some salt and pepper to the soaked and swollen bengalgram, took drinking water in an earthen pitcher, and went outside the city and sat under the shade of a tree, offering woodcutters some bengalgram and cold water. The hungry and thirsty woodcutters were pleased and gave him two pieces of firewood each.
Ratnanka sold the firewood for two rupees in the city. Then he gave one rupee to his grandmother for saving and with the other rupee purchased a Kuncham of bengalgram. He soaked one kilo every day and sat under the same tree with cold water, collecting many cart-loads of fuel within a month.
There was non-stop rain for ten days, leading to a scarcity of firewood in the city. So, Ratnanka’s firewood fetched him a hundred gold coins. With that money he opened a firewood stall and began dealing in timber. His business progressed rapidly, from timber to cloth to grain to diamonds. In a few years Ratnanka became one of the leading merchants in that city.
One day Ratnanka got a one kilo a rat made of gold, with ruby eyes, sapphire ears and a diamond chain. It was kept in a sliver trap and carried in a big procession led by Ratnanka. They proceeded to Yakshadatta’s home.
Ratnanka told Yakshadatta that he had become a millionaire by his grace because his wise saying and capital had made him a rich man. He had come to repay his debt in the shape of a golden rat. Yakshadatta was amazed to hear his story and was very pleased with the intelligence and gratitude of Ratnanka.
Ratnanka’s story showcases how an intelligent person can make millions even out of something like a dead rat. Ratnanka pays heed to Yakshadatta’s wise words and utilises whatever resources he has in a smart way to churn out profit.