The Nose-Jewel By C. Rajagopalachari (Source TN Textbook)
Ramayya was a simple man living in the town. He lived with his wife in a nice house made of tiled roofs. He was not rich but he could take care of his family.
Two sparrows built a nest in a nice spot in the roof of Ramayya's house and the mother-bird laid her eggs in it.
“My dear," began the male sparrow.
“And what do you want now?" asked his wife.
"Why does the lady of this house always quarrel with her husband?"
"How am I to know?" said the female bird. “Let us mind our own business."
"You are always self-centred," said the male sparrow and added, "Should we not help this poor Ramayya?"
The female sparrow said with disdain, "Let me see what help you can do for him. Please do not talk about what does not concern us. See that the cat does not come near our nest. That would be enough for you and me."
Somewhere in the muck-heap lay a diamond nose-jewel. The male bird picked it up and came to the nest with the shining stud in his beak and said to his wife: "Look! Do you like this?
The wife-bird replied, "What am I to do with diamond nose studs or with ear-rings? Find some grub; the young ones are hungry."
The bird dropped the diamond stud on the floor and went out in search of little worms for the young ones.
Ramayya's wife noticed the jewel as she was sweeping the floor. She picked it up with delight and wore it.
Ramayya questioned her angrily, "How did you get this diamond-stud?"
"I found it lying here yesterday and took it. That is all."
"We should go and handover it to the village magistrate. If tomorrow the police should come and search our house, it will be disgrace to us?"
In Meenakshi Ammal's house nearby, the talk went thus: "I forgot and left it in the bathroom. Kuppayi, the servant woman must have swept it out. She is very careless and ignorant."
The mother, Meenakshi Ammal, consoled her little girl saying, "Let us search and find it. Don't tell father yet. He would go into a rage if he knew that you had lost the diamond nose-stud."
"What is the secret you are whispering?" asked Ramanatham.
The loss of the jewel had to be admitted. Soon the whole village knew about it. The maid-servant Kuppayi was suspected by everyone to have stolen it.
The police came and searched her hut, but could find nothing.
Ramayya's heart was in a flutter. Ramayya's wife put the stud away in her box. She soon developed a severe fever and was confined to her bed. No one thought of searching their house.
The he-sparrow said, "Look at the fun, my dear, the lady of this house is scared and is down with fever."
"Nice fun indeed!" said the she-sparrow. "The poor woman is in a panic. The fever may be the end of her."
"And a good thing too," said the cruel male sparrow.
"It is all your doing you brought and threw it here and tempted her," said the female bird.
The male bird answered gravely, "Did I tell her to steal the thing? This is bound to happen when human are being greedy.”
“Rightly said, we should never be greedy for what belongs to others". "Come, let us go now and bring some worms for the young ones.” And the two flew out.
Ramayya and his wife spend the rest of life in fear of being caught. The diamond Nose Jewel may still be with them, but the fear of getting caught was even more.