There was once upon a time a village named Kusumpur, near Patliputra. A farmer named Shankar was living there with his wife. His wife’s name was Maya. They had some field that was enough for them.
There wasn’t an irrigation system in the village. Therefore, although farmers prepared for agriculture beforehand, they had to wait until the rain started.
Shankar had 2 oxen to plough his field. Shankar completed preparations and started to wait for the rain like all others. The rain was crucial for the farmers. However, one of the oxen of Shankar died just before the rainy season. It was almost impossible to plough the field with a single ox. Shankar tried to find an ox, but he couldn’t.
Soon, the rainy period began. All other farmers started to plough their fields except Shankar. He was so upset that he didn’t want to go out.
His wife noticed this and said, “Why are you so upset? Fortunately, we have an ox and I can do the other ox’s job. It is not good to sit in the house like this.”
But, Shankar didn’t accept this offer. She did everything to persuade him, but she couldn’t. Then, Maya took the ox and went to the field. Seeing this, Shankar followed his wife. After reaching the field, Maya tied herself to the plough with the ox and began to pull. Shankar also went there and started ploughing the field. The villagers were surprised. They talked about this but, they didn’t try to understand or offer help.
Meanwhile, the king of Patliputra was passing through there. The king was known to be generous. He often monitors the condition of his people in disguise. The king saw Shankar and his wife ploughing the field. He was surprised to see a woman was working in place of the ox. He went there and said, “Oh, what are you doing? What you did is quite wrong. You can’t use a woman for ploughing. Release her!”
Shankar replied, “You look like a king or a rich man. You know nothing about agriculture. Timing is very important. If we miss the rain, we can plough the field. Buying another ox will take some time but I can wait. If you really want women to be free, you can come and work in her place.” This was a challenge for the king. After thinking a while, the king accepted working in place of the woman. But it wasn’t so easy. The king was tired and started to sweat. Then, his man brought an ox and the king got rid of tiring work. Then he left there.
Shankar ploughed his field and sowed the seeds. After a while, the field started to grow crops, but some part of the field was blank. The area was the part that king ploughed. Shankar took his spade and dug the area. Surprisingly, he found pearls there. He took them and brought home.
When Maya saw the pearls, she became so happy. Maya and Shankar thought about pearls and concluded the pearls were in the area that ploughed by the stranger. They thought the pearls were changed by him, so they decided to give pearls to him. They searched for him in the town. They learnt that it was the king, Sheespal, who was famous for his generosity.
The other day Shankar went to the palace of the king. He gave the bag, in which pearls were, to the king. He said, “If I had known the drops of your sweat could turn into pearls, I would have wanted you to plough all the field.” Shankar told the king about the events. “Please take this bag. There are pearls which are fruits of your work,” said Shankar. The king appreciated the humbleness of the man and said “No, I cannot take those pearls. It was in your field, so it belongs to you. The crop belongs to the owner of the field. From now on, never let your wife work.” They lived happily.