If anybody thinks Tenali is a fictitious character from the folktales, they are mistaken because Tenali Ramakrishnan actually existed. There is a high chance that while growing up, almost every Indian child must have heard the Indian folktales of Tenali Raman. These witty and amusing folk tales of Tenali Raman are retold over generations. Without these delightful stories, childhood experience is incomplete.
Every child is entitled to read Tenali Raman storybooks. These storybooks are generally beautifully illustrated so that children feel intrigued and curious. These Indian folktales are unique because they convey deep moral lessons.
Who was Tenali Raman?
Tenali Raman was a chief advisor in the court of King Krishnadevaraya between 1509 and 1529. King Krishnadevaraya was a powerful ruler who ruled the large Vijay Nagar empire. Tenali spoke the Telugu language as he originated from the Tenali region in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. He was a scholar and a poet with creative ideas.
As an advisor in King Krishnadevaraya’s court, he had a special place. Tenali Raman was one of the eight prestigious poets in the court. Though he was called Tenali Raman, his real name was Garlapati Ramakrishnan.
Also read: How to tell Stories to Kids.
Why is Tenali Raman famous?
Tenali Raman was clever, humorous, and quick-witted. He was not scared to say what was on his mind. Because he was a creative and critical thinker, he could help the king solve problems in the kingdom.
For this, Tenali Raman became a famous and respected minister in Krishnadevaray’s court. In the present times, from the plethora of Indian folktales, he is a popular and favourite character among kids. Television shows on these folktales are watched by massive number of kids.
Yet what stays in the memory is reading a well illustrated book on Tenali’s adventures, read multiple times and retold by kids in events.
Maa Kaali’s boon to Tenali Raman
In late 15th century, Tenali had a tremendous thirst for knowledge as a child. So, even though he did not train under a teacher, he heard the teachings from a distance and learnt the lessons secretly. When he was caught listening, Tenali was sad. Then a holy sage advised him to pray to Maa Kaali.
It is said that Tenali had a special boon granted by Maa Kaali herself when he prayed to her with great devotion. Due to this boon, Tenali Raman became a witty poet and a resourceful minister in Krishnadevaraya’s court.
Also read: Folktales of India and from around the world
Great poetic work by Tenali Raman
Even though Tenali’s stories are part of Indian folklore, he also composed the revered religious poetry Panduranga Mahatmyam, which is part of the Panch Maha Kavyas of Telugu literature.
Tenali Raman’s Story of Happiness
One day, Tenali Rama and his friend were relaxing near the ocean. They were out in a hammock, taking in the soothing sounds of the ocean and feeling the soothing breeze. It was a lovely day. Both of them closed their eyes and were grinning to themselves.
After some time, when Tenali saw his close buddy smiling, he asked him what the source of his happiness was. His friend said that he was wondering about the day he would ultimately be happy in all aspects of his life.
“At what time would be that?” Tenali asked with curiosity. His friend continued by saying that he wouldn’t be able to call himself completely happy until he had a mansion by the water, a luxurious vehicle, sizable amounts of money, an attractive, devoted wife, and four sons. Each of his sons had received a good education and was successful financially.
Tenali joined the conversation and asked, “After everything that you dreamt comes true, what are you going to do?” His friend replied, “After all this, I can put my feet up, feel the sea breeze, and feel the sun on my face.” Tenali laughed out loudly when he heard this. He asked, “But don’t you already do that? Without any sweat and hard work!”
The moral of the story: Be happy in the present moment. Do not put conditions on happiness and postpone it.
Tenali Raman: Best Children’s Storybooks
The Illustrated Stories of Tenali Raman: Classic Folktales from India
- Author: Unknown
- Genre: Fiction/Folktales
- Publisher: Wonder House Books
- Pages: 80
- Year of Publication: 2019
- Age Group: Adults can read aloud to kids between 4 to 7. Kids above 8 to 10 can read by themselves.
- Stars: 4 and half
This colourful, illustrated children’s book is very attractive and sturdy. The Publishers Wonder House Books is reputed, so you can be assured of quality. You will find in this book full coloured pages of good quality with long lasting binding. The illustrations are gorgeous and kids will love to observe them as they read. If you read aloud these stories to little kids, they will surely ask you for more stories. Language is good with few difficult words on each page for independent readers.
I really liked this book as the stories include Tenali and the thieves, Tenali and the Horse-trader, Tit for Tat, The Hunger to Win, An honest Opinion, and other stories. The stories have moral lessons, so I think you can teach these easily through storytelling. Additionally, the stories are concise, so they are good for telling at bedtime. You can also use your narration and acting skills while telling the story. Kids will simply enjoy listening to you as you spend some quality time together with storytelling.
To sum it all
I like these stories as they are quick reads and there is something to take away and ponder over. Tenali Raman stories are a hit with kids from age 4 to 10 years. It’s interesting to wonder how a chief advisor/poet in King Krishnadevaray’s court in early 16th century is still remembered through folktales. His life and times might have impressed people of those times and soon turned into stories that were passed on.
Also read: Picture books for kids