This happened in Madurai. It was a flourishing city in the days of the Pandya rulers. Chami was a sweeper. He had to get up early to start his work. Since the king rode out for worship at the temple, the streets had to be kept clean. The king drove in a golden coach driven by two horses. Two bodyguards, who rode before the king came, examined the streets. So, he had to do his work diligently. That day, as the bodyguards went past him, he took a good look at them. They wore rich red brocade uniforms and purple silk turbans. ‘I wonder what it is like to be a bodyguard of the king,' he thought.
Chami soon finished his work and went back home to his wife Meenakshi "You know, Meena, I've never seen more beautiful horses. I'm wondering what it is like to ride one of them," said Chami, looking into her eyes.
"You mean the horses of the bodyguards?" Meenakshi responded "You would be too scared to ride one, anyway," she said.
Chami followed her to the kitchen. "I wouldn't be scared, and I will prove it to you, one day," he said, as if he was throwing a challenge. Meenakshi appeared irritated. "We don't have enough for the next meal, and it's ridiculous to think of horses. We must have a new thatch for this veedu before the monsoon comes. Why don't you go to the mountains and pray for enough money to repair the house? Let me now go to the Zamindar's house. to look for some work to feed us for our next meal," she said.
"If you say so, Meenakshi, I shall go to the mountains," said Chami resignedly. "And you try to get some food. I shall return by then." ‘She doesn't believe me, but come what may, I shall go to the mountains whether there is any god or not,' he said softly as he walked fast.
Chami walked fast and he soon saw the black mountains ahead. On reaching the foothills, he climbed the steep rocky slopes. After he had climbed to some height, Chami saw a cave and the thought of resting his weary legs came to him. He lay down, resting his head on his turban now rolled into a pillow. Soon he was asleep. "Chami! Wake up!" He thought he was dreaming. No, he really felt someone shaking him. There was no one, but he had really felt the shake. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He looked around; there was no one. The voice came back.
"Chami! You came here to meet the malai god. I'm Malaivanan. You'll find a sangu behind you. Every time you blow it, think of a wish. Food, money, new thatch, horses.... whatever you wish for will be yours."