One day, a great wrestler came to the kingdom of King Krishnadevaraya. He was huge, much larger than any man in the kingdom. All his muscles were bulging out and he looked very scary.
He said to the King, “My King, I am the strongest man in the world. I am ready to challenge anyone in your kingdom. I dare any of your wrestlers to beat me in a competition. If I win everyone, you must agree that there is no one in this Kingdom as strong as I am.”
The King agreed and said, “You shall face my strongest wrestlers tomorrow.”
The King called all the wrestlers in the Kingdom. The moment they took a look at the man, they began to shiver. The wrestler was much bigger than any of them.
The chief wrestler said, “My King, we cannot challenge him in anything and win. He is much bigger and stronger than any of us. In a fight, he would kill us. He can lift heavier and can also throw farther than any of us. We would lose badly.”
The King became worried, “Is there no one in this kingdom who can save the honour of Vijayanagar? Can no one beat this man?”
Tenali Raman came forward and said, “I wish to challenge the wrestler tomorrow.”
Everyone started to laugh. Tenali Raman was small and had no muscles. He had never trained for a fight. The wrestler would carry him and throw him out.
The King said, “Silence! You can all laugh but Tenali Raman is the only one who is willing to make a challenge.”
The next day, Tenali Raman came with a large bucket to the arena. The bucket was covered completely.
Tenali Raman said, “Oh Great wrestler, I wish to challenge you! I will do something with my eyes closed which you should do with your eyes open. Do you agree?”
The wrestler began to laugh and said, “Are you sure? You are so small and puny.”
Tenali Raman said, “I shall repeat my challenge. I will do something with my eyes closed which you should do with your eyes open. Do you agree?”
The wrestler and the audience began to laugh loudly. If Tenali Raman could do something with his eyes closed, the wrestler could easily do it with his eyes open.
Tenali Raman opened the bucket and it was filled with sand. He sat down in a chair and called his servant. His servant lifted the bucket and threw the sand straight at Tenali’s face. Since his eyes were closed, Tenali was not injured.
Tenali opened his eyes and wiped his face. He then said to the wrestler, “Now it is your turn. You must keep your eyes open and the sand will be thrown at your face.”
The wrestler was shocked. There was no way he could keep his eyes open. If the sand entered his eyes, he would go blind.
The wrestler laughed loudly and said, “I concede defeat, Tenali Raman. You are stronger than me!”