In the village of Rambili there lived a simple boy Sriram with his old mother. While the other boys of his age were settled and doing jobs, Sriram used to play with the village lads in the open fields. His poor old mother used to work as a cook in the local zamindar’s house. She worked hard all day while Sriram would while away his time in the courtyard waiting for his mother to serve food. His mother pleas to find some job fell on deaf ears. Being a simpleton he could not stick to a job long enough for him to earn his wages and he got fired. After a point he stopped looking out for jobs and stayed at home instead. There was a guava tree in the courtyard and he laid his charpoy under the same and lazed out during the day talking to the birds that came to peck at the ripe juicy guavas.
He would feed a small portion of his food to the ants that had made their home near the guava tree. It was his daily schedule. He would feed the ants in the afternoon as well as in the night a small portion of the food that was served to him and talk to them. His mother used to scold him for this and used to say that it was due to him that the ants had made a big anthill in the courtyard. She would one day pour pesticide powder on them and get rid of them. She scolded him that he was feeding to the ants what she worked for.
One day when his mother was washing clothes near the well she slipped and fell. The poor old woman could not get up and she had to be carried into the house. With his mother bed-ridden and no one to support there was no food in the house and all the neighbours started taunting Sriram that it was his mother’s misfortune to have borne such a worthless son. With tears in his eyes Sriram sat on the charpoy in the courtyard and sobbed. He had fed the leftovers of the rice mixed with curd and pickle to his mother and he was hungry.
He cried and cried and did not realise when the sun had set and when the stars started twinkling in the sky. The ants who had seen him crying asked him what was his agony and he sobbed and told him his story. He lamented that he was not skilled in any work and he was not good enough to hold a job. The ants told him to wait for some time and within a few hours they dug up mounds of sand near the anthill to reveal a treasure. When Sriram saw what was unearthed he could not believe his eyes. The ants told Sriram to carry the treasure into the house and to not let anyone know about it.
Sriram took the treasure chest of gold coins inside the house. There was no dearth of food or provisions after that and Sriram lived happily ever after. His mother did not take him to task for being friendly with the ants, the birds and the squirrels after that.