Once upon a time, near the southern city of Mahilaropyam, there was a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva (God of Destruction).
A holy saint was appointed as the monk for the temple. He looked after the temple and did regular Pujas. He would go to the nearby city every day for alms and come back in the evening. In this way, he managed a lot of grants and alms for himself. So, he placed excess alms into a bowl for the poor and the needy.
A mouse also lived in one of the holes of the temple walls. He would come every day into the hermitage and steal some food from the bowl. One day, the Saint noticed that the clever mouse was stealing food. He tried his best to stop him, he even beat him with a long stick. He hanged the bowl at a height in order to save the food. But all of his efforts were in vain. Nothing could stop the mouse from stealing food from the bowl.
One day, a mendicant came to visit the saint and hermitage. But the saint was very busy. As usual, he was trying his best to beat up the mouse. He didn’t notice that someone had come to catch a glimpse of the Hermitage. When no offer was made to the mendicant, he became very angry. “What are you doing here? You pay no heed to me. I think you are more interested in other things,” he said angrily.
The saint politely described to him his entire problem. “This mouse is very clever,” said the saint. “He will beat a cat or a monkey in jumping and running. I have tried my best to save my food. I have tried many tricks to trap him or kill him, but this mouse is out of control. Though I’m talking to you, I have put my co-workers to keep a vigil on the bowl,” he added.
After understanding his trouble, the mendicant said, “I saw the mouse was jumping very high. He can easily put a cat or a monkey to shame. There is certainly a reason for his confidence and energy. I’m very sure, he has accumulated lots of food for himself in the hole. Therefore, he is not afraid of you. He has got nothing to lose or fear from anything.”
Finally, they both decided to search his hole for the accumulated food the next morning.
So, the very next morning, they carefully followed the mouse’s track by putting the red color on the floor. After reaching his hole, the saint and the mendicant dug out the hole. They were surprised by the amount of food the mouse had stored in his hole. They recovered the food and restored it safely inside the Hermitage.
On the other hand, the mouse became very depressed and upset, when he realized that all of his stolen food was missing. He was very discouraged and lost all his confidence and energy. So he tried to steal some food from the hanging bowl.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have enough energy to reach the bowl at height. He tried, but all of his efforts failed.
On the other hand, the hermit was waiting for the mouse to beat him up with his stick. As the mouse was very upset and weak, he didn’t have the same energy and confidence as earlier.
As soon as the mouse came out, the saint gave him a merciless beating. Somehow, he managed to escape from the temple, barely alive. He had learned his lesson and decided to never go back to the temple again.