Many years ago, there lived a Brahmin teacher in the city of Takshadham. Two hundred students studied under him.
All his students, except for one, were intelligent and industrious. This one student was not only lazy but also silly.
One day, all the students were sent to the forest to collect firewood.
All the students went to the forest and started searching for dry firewood.
The lazy student saw a tree without leaves. He thought, “This tree seems to be dead. Its dry branches will be perfect to kindle fire. But let me take a short nap first. There’s still a lot of time to return. What’s the hurry?” And he laid down under the tree and dozed off to sleep.
Few hours passed and the lazy student still lay under the tree, oblivious of the fact that the other students had collected their share of firewood and were now going back to their teacher’s place.
On his way back, one of the students saw the lazy student sleeping. He tried to wake him up and said, “Friend, wake up! It’s time to go back. Our teacher will be worried if we get late.”
With much difficulty, he managed to wake him up. On seeing a bundle of firewood in his friend’s hand and in the hands of other fellow students who were passing by, he got worried and quickly climbed the tree.
When he started chopping its branches, he realised that the tree was not dead. It appeared dry but it still had moisture inside it. Nevertheless, he decided to take this tree’s branches.
“I cannot go back empty handed. I have to carry some wood, whether dry or not,” he thought.
In haste, he even poked his eye while tearing off a branch. “Oh!” he cried in pain.
But he had no time to lose, he quickly made a bundle of the wood and rushed towards his teacher’s place.
By the time he reached the Brahmin’s place, all the students had kept their bundles in one corner of the courtyard. The lazy student quickly threw his bundle on the top of the heap.
At dinner time, the Brahmin teacher informed his students about an invitation he had received from the neighbouring village to perform a religious ceremony the next day.
He said, “Tomorrow we’ll have to leave early in the morning. This religious ceremony is a great opportunity for you to perform the rituals and get good offerings.”
The Brahmin instructed the cook to prepare their breakfast early the next day.
Next morning, the cook woke up early and went to the courtyard to get a bundle of firewood. He picked up the top most bundle. This bundle of wood was the one the lazy student had brought.
With this wood, he tried to kindle the fire. But all his efforts went in vain, as the wood just didn’t catch fire.
Instead, the entire premises were filled with smoke. Seeing so much smoke, the Brahmin came out and angrily asked, “Who brought this wood?”
The cook told him about the student who had arrived the last and placed his wood on the top of the heap of firewood.
The Brahmin then called the lazy student and scolded him, “A thickheaded and lazy person can not only cause trouble for himself but also for those around him. You have not only wasted our precious time but also caused discomfort to us. Because of your stupidity and carelessness, we will all have to go to the ceremony without taking breakfast.”