Andare – he made everyone laugh | Sunday Observer

Andare – he made everyone laugh

7 March, 2021

In the days of the Sinhala kings it was a tradition to have a jester at the Court. His job was to keep the King and Queen, members of the Royal family, courtiers and others at the Court entertained and make them laugh. Not only did jesters do this but they also played tricks on those at the Court including the King and Queen. Perhaps, the most famous jester of them all was Andare, who is a living legend among Sri Lankans even today. I am sure most of you must have either read or heard about this bold jester . Today, Junior Observer brings you some famous stories about Andare – the Court jester.

How Andare ate sugar

In olden times though Sri Lanka was an agricultural country and many varieties of crops including grains were produced there was no sugar production and sugar had to be imported. The sugar was brought in boats from across the seas and tended to get damp. Sugar was not commonly used by the people but it was in use at the Palace as the King had a sweet tooth.

If the sugar at the Palace was damp it was spread on mats and left to dry in the sun.

One day when Andare came to the Palace he saw sugar laid out on a mat to sun dry. Andare was tempted to have some fun with the King and also to eat the delicious looking sugar.

Pretending not to know what was on the mat the crafty jester asked the King what it was. The King in his turn thought to fool his jester and replied that it was just some pas (earth). Andare just nodded his head and left but in his mind he was hatching a plot to eat the sugar.

When he got home he called his son and said “putha (son) I am going back to the palace. In a little while you come there crying that your grandmother is dead”.

Andare went back to the palace and in a short while his son came running and wailing to the palace. “We are finshed, aththamma (grandmother) is dead! Andare too started wailing and went towards the mat of sugar. He sat by the mat and wailed, “son, your grandmother is dead, we are finished!. Then, the crafty jester started putting the sugar in his mouth crying mage kateth pas, umbey kateth pas. (Now, there is earth in my mouth and your mouth). Andare and his son kept saying this and starting eating the sugar.

On hearing the noise the King came out to see what was the matter and saw Andare and his son wailing magey kateth pas and umbey kateth pas and eating the sugar. The King soon realised the trick Andare was playing but could not say anything as it was he himself who had told Andare that the sugar was earth!

The King (could not help but laugh and tell Andare that he was very clever.

(When Sinhala people are in distress they say kate pas meaning there is earth in my mouth. Katey is mouth and pas is earth. Magey means my and umbey means yours).


Andare and the coconut plants

The King ordered that coconut plants and land be given to all the courtiers and that they plant them and tend them carefully. He also appointed an official to check on the plants. Andare too got land and young coconut plants All the others duly planted their coconut plants and tended them carefully.

When the official went to check on the plants they were growing well. But Andare’s plants were not doing well. After a month all the coconut plantations except Andare’s were flourishing. His plants had green leaves but they looked as if they were drying up.

The officer in charge could not understand this so one night he paid a surprise visit to Andare’s coconut plantation. To his amazement there wasn’t a single coconut plant

The next morning the official reported the matter to the King. The King sent for Andare and asked him why the coconut plants were missing in the night. Andare told the King to go and see the plantation then and said that the plants were there. So, an official was duly dispatched to check Andare’s plantation. The official went and found that the plants were there and came back and told the King so.

Then the official in charge of the plantations too went and checked the plants and he too came back to the palace and said that it seemed as if the plants had just been planted that morning. He also said while the other plantations were thriving Andare’s plantation was drying up. The King sent for Andare and asked him about the matter. Andare said ‘Your Majesty, I uprooted the plants at night and take them home. What if they get stolen in the night? What am I to do? Then again, I replant them in the morning”.

The King and the others at the Court could not help but laugh at Andare’s reply.


How Andare ate  Kavum (oil cakes)


When Andare was young his mother made some kavum or oil cakes one day. Then she carefully covered it and left it on the table. Andare came home feeling hungry and looked for something to eat. He saw the plate of kavum on the table and ate about one third of the kavums.

Later, Andare’s mother came to take some Kavums to give his father with his tea. She was surprised to see that some of the kavums were gone and angrily asked what had happened to the kavums.

“ I gave them to a poor, hungry boy “ said Andare.

His mother wanted to know who the hungry boy was and Andare replied that it was him.

How Andare jumped into the well

Andare’s wife was annoyed with him because of the trick he played upon the Queen and her. Thinking to punish him she refused to open the door for him one night when he came home. However much Andare begged and pleaded she would not do so . Angered Andare said he would jump in the well and the wife said he could do so and that she did not care.

Andare then left home and went towards the well. On the way to the well he picked up a large rock . He went to the well, threw the rock in and shouted that he was jumping into the well.

Thoroughly alarmed, his wife ran out of the house and went to the well and peered in. She saw the ripples in the water made by the rock and thought it was Andare. She stared wailing and screamed for help saying her husband is in the well. The neighbours heard her and came running and asked her what happened. Before she could answer Andare shouted from the house saying that he jumped into the well because his wife did not care for him. On hearing this the wife rushed to the house and begged Andare to open the door but he he did not do so.


Andare tricks the Queen and his wife

One day the Queen told Andare that she would like to meet his wife and asked him to bring her to the palace to meet her. Andare agreed but he looked so sad that the Queen asked him why and he said that unfortunately, his wife was deaf. The Queen became very sympathetic and told Andare “ Never mind, you bring her, I will speak as loud as I can so that she will hear me”. Andare thanked the Queen and went home.

He went home and told his wife that the Queen wanted to see her. She was very happy and honoured that the Queen wanted to see her. But Andare warned her that there was one problem and she asked what?

“The Queen is beautiful but sadly she is deaf. She will not be able to hear a word of what you say”.

“I will speak loudly so she will hear me”, said Andare’s wife.

The next morning Andare and wife went to the palace. They were taken to the Queen’s chamber.

The Queen smiled at Andare’s wife and greeted her at the top of her voice. Andare’s wife greeted the Queen in the same way. Then, the Queen and Andare’s wife carried on a conversation at the top of their voices. The noise was so deafening that others around them had to stuff their fingers into their ears because they couldn’t stand the noise.

The noise was so great that it attracted the King’s attention and he came to see what it was all about. He asked the Queen about the shouting and said that there was no need to yell as no one there was deaf.

‘Why not ? Andare’s wife is deaf” replied the Queen.

A shocked and angered Andare’s wife told the Queen I am not deaf. Who told you so?.

The Queen replied that it was Andare who told her.

Then Andare’s wife asked the Queen whether she was deaf and a shocked Queen said no and asked her who told her that she, the Queen, was deaf.

Andare’s wife said that it was her husband who had told her so.

It soon became clear to everyone how Andare had tricked both the Queen and his wife. Every one including the King and Queen burst into loud laughter at Andare’s trick.