TALES OF PANCHATANTRA




 

5. THE STORY OF TWO FIGHTING RAMS AND A JACKAL

One day , a Sanyasi while going through a jungle, saw two golden rams fightin each other.

They rammed into each other until blood oozed out. But still they refused to stop fighting.

Meantime a blood thirsty jachal arrived on the scene and began to lick the blood from the ground.

Seeing this, the Sanyasi thought to himself, If he comes in between the two fighting rams. He is sure to get himself killed.

Sure enough, craving for blood, the jackal Do not close youur eyesgot caught up in thr fight.He was hit on the head, fell down and died

Moral: Do not close your eyes to the impending danger due to greed.





6. THE STORY OF THE COBRA AND THE CROW

Somewhere in the country, under a banyan tree, there lived a pair of crows, husband and wife.

Now, whenever the female hatched her eggs, a black cobra would come out of the hollow of the tree, climb up, and make a meal of them.

Nearby, under another banyan tree, there lived a jackal.

The crows told him everything,

'Friend', they said, 'the black cobra creeps out of the hollow of the tree, climbs up and eats up our children.

Tell us, what can we do to protect our children ? It's become dangerous for us to live here'.

'Don't give up hope', said the jackal, 'it is a fact that a powerful enemy can be destroyed by a trick.'

The crow said, 'Friend, do tell us how we can kill this wicked cobra.'

'Well', said the jackal, 'go to a city that is the capital of a kingdom.

Visit the house of some wealthy man, a minister or someone, and see if he has been careless enough to leave a gold chain or a necklace lying about.

Pick it up, and making sure that the servants are watching you, fly off slowly with it and drop it in the hollow of the tree where the cobra lives.

When the servants run after you to recover the necklace , they'll see the cobra e and it's certain, they'll kill him.'

The crows decided to take the jackal's advice and flew off.

As they were flying, the female crow noticed a lake, in which the women of the harem were swimming.

They had left gold and pearl necklaces with their clothes on the banks of the lake.

The female crow picked up a gold chain in her beak and started flying slowly to her nest.

When the eunuchs saw this, they picked up their sticks and started running after the female crow.

She let the gold chain fall near the hollow of the tree where the cobra lived and seated herself on a tree nearby.

When the king's servants arrived on the scene, they were confronted by a cobra with swelling hood, before the hollow of the tree.

They killed the cobra with sticks, recovered the gold chain and returned home.

And the crows lived happily ever

The wise indeed say: Even a very powerful enemy can be destroyed through deceit.





7. THE STORY OF THE HERON AND THE CRAB

Somewhere in the jungle, there was a big lake, and in it lived all kinds of water creatures.

A heron also lived there.

He had grown old and had no strength left to catch the fish.

Because he was starving, he had become lean.

So he hit upon a plan.

One day, he came to the edge of the pond and began to cry loudly, shedding his tears like pearls.

A crab came up to him and asked sympathetically, "Uncle! Are you all right? Why aren't catching the fish today and why are you crying? Why these sighs?"

"Ah child", replied the heron, "I have decided to renounce the world.

I have been a fish-eater but now I wouldn't touch them even if they came near me, for I have undertaken a fast unto death."

"What is the reason for your renunciation?" the crab asked him.

"Well", said the heron, "I was born in this pond and it is here that I've grown old.

Now I have heard that there will be no rain for next twelve years."

"Where have you heard that?" exclaimed the crab.

"From the mouth of an astrologer", said the heron, "that there will be no rain here for twelve years.

There's not much water in this pond now, it will get less and less and in the end it will dry up completely."

The crab told this to the other water creatures.

All the crabs, fish, tortoises and everybody got into a state of panic.

They went to the heron and said, "Is there no way out? Can't we protect ourselves against this disaster?"

"Well", said the heron, " not far from here, is a lake full of water.

Even if it does not rain for twenty four years, this lake, which is covered with lotus flowers, will never dry up.

If somebody rides on my back I can take him there."

And in this way, he gained their confidence.

They gathered around him, crying, "Uncle! Father! Brother! Me first! Me first! Please!"

The wicked heron took them one by one, on his back.

When he had flown a little way, he would smash them against a rock and eat them to his heart's content.

When he got back, he would deliver false messages to their relatives.

One day the crab said to the heron, "Uncle, I was friends with you first and yet you take the others before me. Now save my life too."

When he heard this, the heron thought to himself, "I am tired of eating fish everyday. To change the monotony of the food, I'll eat this crab today."

And so he took the crab on his back and carried him to the rock where he used to kill the fishes.

The crab recognized the heap of bones and the skeletons of the fishes and understood everything.

But calmly he said to the heron, "Uncle! Say, how far is this pond? You must be tied of carrying me. I am very heavy."

The heron thought to himself, "Now this dumb water creature is in my power, and cannot escape from my clutches."

So, with a smirk, he said to the crab, "Crab, where could there be another pond? This trip is for my food. I am going to smash you against this rock and eat you".

As soon as the heron had said this, the crab put his claws round the white, lotus-like neck of the heron and strangled him to death.

The crab slowly dragged the neck back to the pond.

All the water dwellers gathered round him and began to ask, "Crab, why are you back? And why hasn't uncle returned with you? Why is he wasting time? We are all impatient for a chance to be taken to the large lake.'

Then the crab laughed and said, "You fools! That swindler told us untruth about the astrologer and was not taking the water creatures to any pond; but smashing them against a rock, not far from here, and eating them up.

I was destined to stay alive and understood what he was up to.

I killed the trickster and I have brought back his neck.

Now there's no need to worry. We are safe."

The wise indeed say: When things go wrong, coolly use your wit to overcome the situation.





8. THE STORY OF THE LION AND THE HARE

In a jungle, there lived a lion by the name of Bhasuraka. He was very powerful and used to kill the animals indiscriminately.

One day, all the antelopes, boars, buffaloes, hares and the rest went together to the lion and said, "Master, why do you persist in killing so many of us everyday so unnecessarily, when one animal would satisfy your hunger?

Please come to an understanding with us. From today onward we promise to send to your lair, one animal everyday for your food, if in return you guarantee that we shall be able to wander about unmolested in the jungle.

In this way, you will have no trouble maintaining yourself and we will not be killed so indiscriminately."

When he had finished listening to this, the lion said, "It 's very true, what you say, but if I don't receive one animal everyday, I shall eat everyone of you,"

Accordingly, everyday they drew lots, sent one animal to the lion and roamed in the jungle, unafraid.

On day it was the hare's turn. Forced by the other animals, he made his way to the lion, slowly and very much against his will.

On the way, the hare was considering how he might kill the lion, when he came to a well.

He leapt up on the edge and saw his reflection in the water.

At this, he thought to himself, "Now I know a way that won't fail. I'll deceive the lion and make him fall into the well."

And purposely the hare went over even more slowly to the lion.

By the time the hare reached the lion, the sun was setting.

The lion was in a fury because he had been kept waiting.

He licked his lips hungrily and said to himself, "The first thing I'll do tomorrow is to kill all those animals."

While he was thinking thus, the hare slowly approached the lion and bowed before him.

The lion flared up and began to shout at him, "You miserable creature! First you are too small and secondly you are so late. Well, for this, I'm going to kill you immediately and I'll kill the rest of you in the jungle tomorrow morning."

"Master," replied the hare very humbly, "it is not my fault nor the fault of the other animals. Please listen and I will explain."

"Hurry up and tell me before I crush you," said the lion.

"Well," said the hare, "today it fell to my lot to come to you. Because I am small, they sent four other hares with me.

On the way, a huge lion came out of the den and roared,, "Ho! You! Where are you going? Your end has come. Call upon your chosen deity!"

And I said "Sir, we are all going to our master, the lion at the appointed time to fulfill our promise to send everyday a few animals to him for his food."

And he said, "Who is this lion? I'm the master of the jungle! You should fulfill your promises only to me. This lion is an imposter! I shall hold four of you hares as hostages while you (meaning me) go and challenge him to a trial of strength with me. Whoever turns out to be stronger, deserves to be king of the jungle and only he shall eat all the hares."

"And so," continued the hare, "I have come to you as he ordered me to. That is why I am late. Now do as you think best."

When he heard this, the lion said, "Friend, if this is true, then take me to this pretender immediately so that I can pour out on him all my rage against you and then I shall be quiet."

"Master!" said the hare." It is the truth but this lion stays in a stronghold It is difficult to attack someone who is hiding in a stronghold."

When the lion heard this he said, "Friend !He may have hidden himself in his stronghold but just show him to me and I will kill him.".

" Indeed," said the hare," but I have seen him. He is very strong. It would be unwise of you to approach him without finding out exactly what his strength is."

"That is not your concern" said the lion." just take me to him."

"Very well then" said the hare, "come with me."

The hare went ahead so as to lead the lion to the well.

When they reached the well, the hare said to the lion, "My Lord! Who can withstand your power! The imposter has seen you coming and has hidden himself in his stronghold."

And the hare pointed out the well.

The foolish lion saw his reflection in the water and imagined that it was his enemy.

He roared fearfully and at once his roar was doubly re-echoed from the well.

Furious at the other lion, he leapt in upon him and was drowned.

Very pleased with himself, the hare went back to the jungle and told the other animals what had happened.

They showered him with praise and all lived happily ever after.

The wise indeed say : Deceive the wicked and kill them without mercy."





9. THE STORY OF THE BUG AND THE FLEA

In a certain country lived a king who had a very beautifully decorated bedroom.

An exquisite while silk sheet covered the bed and in the folds of the sheet, there lived a white flea, by the name of Mandavisarpini.

She used to drink the blood of the king and, in his way spent her time very happily.

One day a bug crept into the bedroom.

When the flea caught sight of him, she cried, " Oh you bug ! What are you doing here? Get out at once!"

"Madam", replied the bug, "that's not the way to speak to a guest, even if he is a good-for-nothing.

A guest should be made to feel welcome with sweet words and refreshments."

"And besides", continued the bug, "I have drunk all types of blood but so far I have never had the pleasure of tasting the blood of a king.

I think it must be very sweet, for he has been eating the choicest food. Now, if you will permit me, I would love to taste the king's blood."

"But Oh bug !," said the flea, "I only suck the king's blood when he has gone fast asleep but you are nasty and bite like a sharp needle.

However, if you promise to let the king go to sleep before you start biting him, then I will let you drink his blood."

"Oh, I do promise," replied the bug, "I will even swear to wait until you have sucked his blood before I suck it myself."

While they were talking, the king came and lay down on the bed.

The bug's mouth began to water and he took a bite of the king without waiting for him to fall asleep.

The bug's bite was like a sharp needle

The king jumped up and cried out to his servants, "Hey! Something has bitten me! See if there is a bug or a flea in my bed."

When the bug heard this, he hid himself in a corner of the bed.

When the servants came and searched with sharp eyes, they found a flea lying between the folds of the sheets, and killed her.

The wise indeed way: The false promises of friends as well as strangers have no value.

You end up paying for it.





10. THE STORY OF THE JACKAL WHO FELL INTO VAT OF INDIGO DYE

In a jungle, there lived a jackal by the name of Chandarava.

One day he was very hungry, so he risked going into the city to find food.

There he was surrounded by dogs barking loudly.

They set upon him and wounded him with their sharp teeth.

To save his skin, he ran into a dyer's house.

A big vat of indigo dye was lying there.

In he jumped and consequently his whole body was dyed indigo, he no longer looked like a jackal.

When he came out, the dogs were unable to recognize him and ran off in all directions, terrified.

The jackal himself went back to the jungle. The indigo dye would not come off.

Back in the jungle, when the animals, the lions, tigers, elephants, wolves and the rest of them, saw the indigo-coloured jackal, they ran away in terror and said to one another, 'Let's run away for we don't know the strength of this animal or what to expect of him.'

When the jackal saw the frightened animals, he called them back and said, 'Ho! Animals! Why are you running off in panic?

Don't be afraid.

Brahma, the Lord of Creation has made me himself, with his hands, and he said, 'The animals have no king, so I have crowned you as a king. Go to the earth and protect them well."

'That's why,' he continued ' I've come here.

Live in my kingdom, under my protection. I, have been crowned the King of the Three Worlds. ( Heaven , Earth and Hell).'

When all the animals, the lions, tigers, and the rest of them, heard this, they surrounded him and said, 'Master, we await you commands.'

The jackal assigned specific duties to all the animals, but he said he would have nothing to do with jackals, and they were all chased away.

The lion and the tiger used to go out hunting and bring the prey before the jackal.

He would then distribute it amongst the other animals.

Thus, he discharged his kingly duties.

In this way, quite some time elapsed.

One day, this jackal heard in the distance the howl of pack of jackals.

He was spellbound, his eyes filled with tears of joy, he stood up and began to howl.

When the lion and the other animals heard the howl, they realized that he was only a jackal and they lowered their heads in shame.

Only for a moment did they remain in this attitude.

Then they said angrily to each other, 'This despicable jackal has fooled us! We will kill him!'

When the jackal heard this, he tried to escape but was torn in pieces on the spot and he died.

The wise indeed say : One, who treats his own people with scorn, shall surely suffer a bitter end.





 
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