Once, King Krishnadevaraya wanted to test his courtiers. He gave each courtier one horse to take care of. He told them that the winner would be the one who had the strongest horse at the end of one month.
He gave everyone a good amount of straw to feed the horses. Tenali Raman was not happy with this plan since he did not know much about rearing horses. He shut his horse in a stable. Every day at exactly nine o’clock, he gave the horse little straw through the window.
At the end of one month, the king wanted to see all the horses. All the courtiers were giving a lot of straw to the horses to become stronger. They brought their horses and the King was very happy.
Tenali Rama did not bring his horse. The King asked, “Where is your horse, Tenali Raman?”
He replied, “My King, my horse had become so strong that I could not bring it to the court. Can you ask the inspector to come tomorrow morning at nine to see the horse?”
The king was surprised on hearing this and said, “Agreed. The inspector will come to your house at nine to inspect the horse.”
The next morning, the inspector went to Tenali’s house. The inspector had a long beard. Tenali took him to the stable where the horse was kept.
He asked the inspector, “You can look through the window and see the horse”.
The inspector peeped through the window and his beard went in through the window first. Seeing the beard, the horse thought that it must be straw that was being given to him at the fixed time. It caught hold of the beard in his teeth and pulled.
The inspector shouted in pain and tried to pull his beard back. The horse knew that this was the only food he would get all day and pulled with all its might till the inspector lost his beard.
The inspector went running to the king and reported that indeed Tenali Raman’s horse was the strongest of them all.