An argosy of fables/Hindoo fables

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An argosy of fables
Book 2. Part 1, Hindoo fables






ON the banks of the Godavery River there stood a large Silk-cotton-tree to which the birds came at night from all quarters to roost. Now, on a certain night, when the moon was setting behind the western hills and the night was nearly over, a Fowler came and spread his net under the Silk-cotton-tree, scattered a few grains of rice on the ground, and hid himself at a short distance. At this moment the King of the Pigeons, named Speckle-Neck, chanced to be passing through the sky with his companions, and caught sight of the grains of rice. Now, all Pigeons are very fond of rice. Nevertheless, the King of the Pigeons said to his companions:

"How is it possible for rice to be lying on the ground in this untravelled forest? We will inquire into this, of course, but we do not like the look of it. Love of rice may lead to our ruin. We must be very careful."

"Oh, it's all very well to talk of being careful!" rejoined a young and foolish Pigeon. "Being too careful may cost us a good dinner."

At this all the Pigeons flew down to feast upon the rice, and were promptly caught in the net. Immediately they all began to blame the young Pigeon whose thoughtlessness had led them into trouble. But when King Speckle-Neck heard their reproaches he said:

"Do not let us quarrel and blame one another; but let us work together and find some remedy. Listen and I will tell you what to do: At one and the same moment and with one purpose we must all rise up under the net and fly off together, net and all. For even small things have great strength when they work together. Even a furious Elephant can be bound with ropes of twisted grass if there are enough of them."

Upon considering this advice the other Pigeons thought it good, and decided to follow it. Accordingly, all together at the same moment they flew upward and bore away the net with them. The Fowler, who was still hiding at a distance, followed them for a time; but presently the Pigeons and the net passed out of sight, and he had to give up the chase.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Introduction. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ONCE upon a time, in the Deccan forest, an old Tiger was sitting on the bank of a pool, stretching forth his fore-paws, and calling out:

"Ho! ho! Ye travellers, take this golden bangle!"

Presently a certain covetous fellow, passing that way, heard the Tiger, and said to himself, "This is a bit of luck,—but I must not get too near to the Tiger's claws for all that." Thereupon he called out and asked, "Where is your bangle?"

The Tiger stretched out his paw still further and showed the bangle.


"How am I to take it?" asked the traveller. "Can I trust myself near to such a fierce looking brute as you are?"

"Listen," replied the Tiger, "in my younger days I know that I was very wicked. I killed cows and men without number—even holy Brahmans—and I was punished for it by losing my wife and children; I haven't a relation left. But lately I met a holy man who taught me to practise the duty of charity, and alms-giving. Besides, I am very old, and my claws and teeth are all gone. So you need not fear to trust me. I have kept this golden bangle to give to any one who seems in need. You look poor, so I will give it to you.

Hearing this, the covetous traveller made up his mind to trust the Tiger, and waded into the pool. But he soon found himself stuck deep in the mud, and unable to move.

"Ho! ho!" said the Tiger, "are you stuck fast in the mud? Wait and I will come and pull you out!"

So saying, the Tiger sprang upon the unhappy traveller and quickly made a meal of him.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Fable I. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


FAR away in Behar there is a forest called Champak-Grove, in which a Deer and a Crow had long lived in close friendship. The Deer, roaming at large through the forest, happy, well fed and fat of limb, was one day seen by a Jackal. "Ho, ho!" thought the Jackal on observing him, "I should very much like some of that Deer's tender meat for my dinner! It might be managed if I could only win his confidence." With these thoughts the Jackal approached the Deer, and greeted him with the words:

"Good morning to you, friend Deer!"

"Pray, who are you?" asked the Deer,

"I am Small-Wit, the Jackal," replied the other; "And I live in the woods here with no more friends than if I were dead. But now that I have met such a friend as you, I feel as though I were starting life over again, surrounded by my relations. Please consider me your most devoted admirer."

"Very well, let us be friends," said the Deer. And then, as the light of day was fading, the two went together to the Deer's home. At this same spot, on the branch of a Champak tree, lived the Deer's friend, Sharp-Sense, the Crow. Seeing the other two approaching together, Sharp-Sense called down:

"Who is this Number Two, friend Deer?"

"It is Small-Wit, the Jackal," answered the Deer. "He wants to be friends with us."

"You should not be so ready to make friends with a stranger," replied Sharp-Sense.

"Sir!" interrupted the Jackal, with some warmth, "On the day that you first met the Deer, were you not equally of unknown family and character? Yet I am told that the friendship between you has daily grown stronger. To be sure I am only Small-Wit, the Jackal,—but you know the old saying, 'In a land where there are no wise men, the men of small wit are Princes.' The Deer has accepted me as a friend, won't you do the same?"

"What is the good of so much talking?" interrupted the Deer, "let us all three live together and be happy!"

"All right," said Sharp-Sense, "have it as you will."

Accordingly, beginning the next morning, they all three set forth daily, each for his own feeding ground, returning to their common home at night. One day the Jackal led the Deer aside and whispered, "Friend Deer, in one corner of this wood there is a field full of sweet young wheat. Come with me and I will show you." So the Deer followed the Jackal, and learned where the wheat field lay. And after this he returned every day to eat the tender green wheat. At last the owner of the field spied the Deer, and set a snare for him; and the next time that the Deer came to the field he found himself caught in a strong net. After struggling vainly for some time the Deer lifted up his voice and lamented:

"Here I am, caught fast in this net, and it will truly be the net of death for me if no friend comes to my rescue!"

Presently, Small-Wit, the Jackal, who had been lurking near by, made his appearance, and said to himself with a chuckle, "Oho! My scheme begins to bear fruit. When the Deer is cut up, his bones and his gristle and his blood will fall to my share and will make me many delicious dinners!" At this moment the Deer caught sight of Small-Wit and called out joyfully, "Oh, my friend, this is indeed fortunate! If you will only gnaw through the meshes of this net I shall be free!"

Small-Wit made no answer, but examined the net very carefully. "The net will certainly hold," he muttered to himself. Then, turning to the Deer he added, "My good friend, these strings, as you see, are made of raw-hide; and since this is a fast day it would be a sin for me even to gnaw them. To-morrow morning, if you still wish me to, I shall be very glad to help you."

After the Jackal had gone the Crow, who, upon returning home had missed his friend the Deer, and had been seeking him everywhere, suddenly discovered him in the net, and seeing his sad plight exclaimed:

"How in the world did this happen to you, my poor friend?"

"It happened through not taking a friend's advice," replied the Deer sadly.

"Where is that villain, Small-Wit?" asked the Crow.

"He is hanging around somewhere near by," answered the Deer miserably, "waiting for a taste of my flesh."

"Well," sighed the Crow, "I warned you. I knew that treacherous Jackal would sooner or later play one of his evil tricks. There is nothing we can do until morning."

When day broke the Crow saw the master of the field approaching with a heavy club in his hand.

"Now friend Deer," said Sharp-Sense, "you must stiffen out your legs and lie very still, as if you were dead. I will hop around and pretend to peck at your eyes with my beak; and the moment I give a loud croak, you must spring up and take to your heels."

The Deer stiffened out his legs and lay very still, just as the Crow had told him, and was soon discovered by the master of the field, whose eyes opened wide with delight. "Ah," said he, "the Deer has died of his own accord; that saves me the trouble of killing him." So saying, he released the Deer, and began to gather up his net. At that instant Sharp-Sense uttered a loud croak, and the Deer sprang up and made off at full speed. And the club, which the angry farmer hurled after him struck Small-Wit, the Jackal, who was skulking close by, and killed him.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Fable 2. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ON the banks of the Ganges River there is a cliff called Vulture-crag on which a fig-tree once grew. The tree was hollow, and in its shelter lived an old Vulture, named Gray-Pate, whose sad fortune it was to have lost both eyes and talons. The other birds, that roosted in the branches of the tree felt sorry for the poor old fellow, and gave him a share of their food, and in that way he barely managed to live. When the summer season came the old tree echoed with the chirping of the young birds in the nests overhead. One day, when the parent birds were all gone away in search of food, a certain Cat, Long-Ear by name, came to the tree intending to make a dinner of some of the little birds in the nests. But at sight of the cat they set up such a shrill screaming that they roused up Gray-Pate:

"Who comes here?" he croaked. When Long-Ear saw the old Vulture, he was badly frightened, but as it was too late to run away he decided to take his chances, and came nearer. "My Lord," he said, "I have the honour to salute you."

"Who are you?" asked the blind Vulture.

"Please your Lordship, I am a Cat," answered Long-Ear.

"Be off with you. Cat, or I shall slay you," said the Vulture.

"I am ready to die, if I deserve death," answered the Cat. "But first hear what I have to say. I am a good, pious Cat. I say my prayers, I bathe and I eat no meat. The birds who live in this tree are constantly praising you for your goodness and wisdom. Accordingly, I have come here to ask you to teach me philosophy and law."

"Yes, but cats like meat, and there are young birds in this tree."

"Sir," said the Cat, "I have overcome my wicked desire for meat, and have learned the Golden Rule, that our first duty is to refrain from harming any living thing."

Thus the Cat won the old Vulture's confidence, entered the hollow tree, and lived there. And day after day he climbed the tree to steal some of the little birds, and brought them down into the hollow for his dinner. Meanwhile, the parent birds, whose little ones were being eaten, went searching for them in all quarters. Long-Ear becoming aware of this, and fearing detection, quietly slipped out of the hollow and made his escape. Afterwards, when the birds began to search nearer home, they found the bones of the young ones in the hollow of the tree, where the blind Gray-Pate lived. The birds at once decided that their nestlings had been killed and eaten by the old Vulture, and accordingly they executed him.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Fable 3. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN the town of Champaka there once lived a beggar Priest, named Chudakarna, whose habit was to place his begging-dish upon a certain shelf, with such food in it as he had not eaten, and go to sleep beside it. As soon as he slept, a certain Mouse named Golden-Skin, came out of its hole, jumped up on the shelf and devoured whatever food was left in the begging-dish. One day another beggar Priest, a close friend, named Vinakarna, came to pay a visit; and he noticed that all the while they were conversing, Chudakarna kept striking the ground with a split bamboo cane, to frighten the Mouse away.

"Why don't you listen to what I am saying?" asked Vinakarna.

"I am listening," replied his friend. "But there is a plaguey little Mouse that is always trying to steal my dinner from my begging-dish."

Vinakarna looked up at the shelf and said, "How can a Mouse jump as high as this? No ordinary Mouse could jump so high. There must be some good reason why this Mouse is so strong and active, though there would not seem to be any."

Presently, after silent meditation, Vinakarna continued:

"I think I understand. This is a very fat and prosperous Mouse; he must have hidden treasure. For everywhere in the world it is the prosperous and wealthy who are strong and rule others like kings. Let us seek and see if we cannot find this Mouse's treasure."

The two friends procured a spade, found the mouse-hole and dug open Golden-Skin's secret hiding place, until they found his store of provisions, which they took away. After that, Golden-Skin being no longer able to eat regularly, but only when the beggar Priest was asleep, lost strength day by day, until he could no longer jump high enough to reach the shelf where the begging-dish stood. Before long he had scarcely energy enough to seek for his dinner at all, and crept about so miserably, looking for crumbs, that one day Chudakarna easily hit him over the head with his split bamboo cane.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Fable 4. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ONCE in a town, called Happy Home, there lived a mighty Hunter, named Grim-Face. One day, wishing a little fresh venison for dinner, he took his bow and arrows and went into the woods where he soon found and killed a Deer. As he was carrying the Deer home he came upon a wild Boar of huge size. Laying the Deer on the ground, he fixed and shot an arrow, wounding the Boar, which instantly rushed upon him with a roar louder than the roar of thunder, and ripped the Hunter open with his sharp tusks. The Hunter fell like a tree cut down by the axe, and lay dead between the Boar and a Snake, which had also been killed and crushed under their feet as they fought. Presently a Jackal, whose name was Howl-o'Nights, passed that way, prowling in search of food; and his eye fell upon the Hunter, the Deer, the Boar and the Snake, all lying dead together. "Aha!" said Howl-o'Nights, "what luck! Good fortune can come, I see, as well as ill fortune. Now let me think: the man will make fine pickings for a month; the Deer and the Boar, between them, will last me two months more; the Snake will do for to-morrow; and, as I am unusually hungry, I will treat myself now to this bit of strong-smelling bow-string."

So saying, the Jackal began to gnaw the sinew of which the bow-string was made. Presently, the string snapped apart, and the bow sprang back and pierced the heart of greedy Howl-o'Nights.

(Hitopadeça. Book I. Fable 6. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN the Forest of Brahma there lived an Elephant whose name was White-Front. The Jackals all knew him, and said among themselves: "If that big brute would only die there would be four months' food, and plenty out of his carcass." At this, an old Jackal stood up and pledged himself to find some way to bring about the death of the Elephant. Accordingly, he sought out White-Front and drawing near, greeted him reverentially:

"Your Holiness," he said, "Do me the honour of casting your eyes upon me."

"Who are you, and what do you want?" asked the Elephant.

"I am only a Jackal," answered the other. "But the beasts of the forests have decided that it is not wise to live without a King. Accordingly, they have met in full council, and have sent me to inform your Majesty that they have chosen you as Lord of the Forest. We beg that your Majesty will at once come to the council as a sign that you consent to be our Lord."

So saying the Jackal led the way at a rapid pace, and was closely followed by White-Front, who was eager to begin his reign. Presently the Jackal brought him to a deep swamp, into which he plunged heavily before he could stop himself.

"Good Master Jackal," cried the Elephant, "What am I to do? I am up to my shoulders in this quagmire!"

"Perhaps," replied the Jackal with an impudent laugh, "your Majesty will condescend to take hold of the tip of my tail with your trunk, and let me pull you out!"

Then White-Front knew that he had been deceived. He sank deeper and deeper in the slime, and made many a meal for the Jackals.

(Hitopadeça. Book 1. Fable 8. Adapted from translation of Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN South Behar there was an open plot of ground on which a temple was being built. One of the carpenters at work upon the temple had partly sawed a long beam of wood in two, and after wedging it open had gone away, leaving the Wedge sticking in the saw-cut. Presently a large troop of Monkeys came frolicking through the trees, and upon reaching the clearing began to sport among the timbers of the half-finished temple. One of these Monkeys, unconscious of approaching fate, got astride of the half-sawed beam and grasping the Wedge, swung himself down into the cleft, so that his tail and legs dangled between the two halves of the beam. Not content with this, in the spirit of mischief natural to all Monkeys, he began to tug at the Wedge, until at last it yielded and slipped out, whereupon the wood closed in upon him and jammed him fast. So perished the Monkey, miserably crushed, the victim of his inquisitive meddling.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable I. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


THERE once lived in Benares a Washerman named Carpurapataka, who kept an Ass and a Dog in his courtyard, the former tethered, and the latter running at large. One day the Washerman, who had been lately married, was spending the morning in the company of his wife, when a thief entered the house and began to carry out his valuables. Seeing what the thief was doing, the Ass was much disturbed.

"Friend Dog," he said, "this is your business. Why do you not bark loudly and rouse our master?"

"Friend Ass," replied the Dog, "leave me to guard this place in my own way. I can do it quite well if I choose. But the truth is that our master has felt so safe lately that he quite forgets me, and I no longer get regularly fed. Masters are all like that. And a little scare will help to make him remember me."

"You wretched cur!" exclaimed the Ass, "what sort of a servant would stop for pay when there is work to be done?"

"You out-and-out Ass," returned the Dog, "what sort of a master would grudge the pay after the work is done?"

"You are a mean-spirited beast," retorted the Ass, "to neglect your duty. Well, I at least will do my best to warn him!"

So saying, the Ass put forth his very loudest braying. The Washerman, disturbed by the noise, hurried out, and missing the thief, who had taken flight, turned in a rage upon the Ass and beat it soundly with a cudgel.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable 2. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


FAR away in the North, on a mountain called Thousand-Crags, there lived a Lion named Mighty-Heart. This Lion was much troubled by a little Mouse that ran out of its hole and nibbled the Lion's mane while he lay asleep in his den. The Lion would wake up very angry when he found that the ends of his magnificent mane were all ragged and torn; but the little Mouse had run back into its hole and he could never catch it. After much thinking the Lion went down to a village where he found a Cat named Curd-Ear, which, with a great deal of trouble, and many promises, he persuaded to go back home with him. He fed the Cat like a Princess on all kinds of dainty food, while he himself slept peacefully without fear that his mane would be nibbled—for now the Mouse never dared to venture out of its hole. Whenever the Lion even heard the faint scratching of the Mouse in its hole, he always took that as a signal for giving the Cat an especially fine dinner. But one day, the unhappy Mouse, who was nearly starved, found courage to creep timidly out from his hole, when he was at once pounced upon by Curd-Ear, and killed. After that the Lion no longer heard the scratching of the Mouse, and so quite forgot to give the Cat any more dinners.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable 3. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


A THIEF had stolen a Bell from the city of Brahmaputra, and was making off with it into the mountains, when he was killed by a Tiger. The Bell lay in the jungle until some Monkeys picked it up, and amused themselves by ringing it all the time. The townspeople found the bones of the man, and heard the sound of the Bell all about the hills; so they gave out that there was a terrible devil in those hills, named Swing-Ear, whose ears rang like bells as he swung them about, and whose great pleasure was to eat up men. The people were so afraid of this devil that they were all leaving the town, when an old peasant woman came to see the Rajah, or ruler of the town, and said to him:

"Your Highness, if you will pay me for it I can settle this devil, Swing-Ear."

"Can you really?" exclaimed the Rajah.

"I think I can," repeated the woman.

"Then you shall be paid at once," said the Rajah.

The old peasant woman accepted the money, and set out for the hills, taking some fruit with her of the kind the Monkeys like. When she had reached the hills, she scattered the fruit up and down in the woods, and then hid herself and sat down to watch. Very soon the Monkeys found the fruit, and started to eat it, first putting down their Bell. The old woman softly stole up, seized the Bell, and took it back to town, where she was ever afterwards held in great honour.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable 4. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)



A PAIR of Crows had built their nest in the branches of a certain hollow tree. In the hollow lived a big black Snake, which had often climbed up the tree to the nest and eaten the baby Crows. One day, when there was a new nest full of little Crows, the mother bird said to her mate:

"Husband, we ought to have left this tree; we shall never raise any little ones so long as the black Snake lives here!"

"My dear," replied the father Crow, "you need not be afraid, I have put up with that wicked black Snake until I am tired. Now I am going to put an end to him."

"But how can put put an end to a big black Snake like that?" asked the mother bird.

"My dear," replied her mate, "have no fear, but help me with the plan that I have made. The King's son comes here every day to bathe in the stream. When he takes off his gold anklet and lays it on the stone, you must fly down, take it in your beak, and drop it into the hollow of the tree."

Shortly afterward the King's son came, as usual, to bathe. After he had taken off his clothes and ornaments, the Hen-Crow flew down, as her mate had told her, seized the anklet in her beak, and dropped it into the hollow of the tree. Presently, when the King's son came out of the water, he missed his golden anklet, and his servants began hunting for it everywhere. When they searched in the hollow of the tree they found not only the golden anklet, but also the big black Snake, which they immediately killed.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable 7. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN the Mandara mountain there once lived a Lion named Fierce-Heart, who was continually killing and devouring the other wild animals. Matters at last became so bad that all the beasts of field and woods held a public meeting, and drew up a respectful remonstrance to the Lion in these words:

"Wherefore should your majesty thus make carnage of us all? If it please you, we ourselves will every day furnish one animal for your majesty's dinner."

The Lion replied: "If such an arrangement suits you better, all right. I am satisfied." So from that time on one beast was daily allotted to the Lion and daily devoured by him. At last came the day when it was the turn of an old Hare to supply the royal dinner. This old Hare, as he went on his way to give himself up, reflected as follows:

"At the worst I can but die, so I may as well take my own time in going to my death."

Now it happened that Fierce-Heart, the Lion, was unusually hungry; and seeing the Hare approaching quite slowly, he roared out angrily, "How dare you keep me waiting like this?"

"Sire," answered the old Hare, "the blame is not mine. I was delayed on the road by another Lion who made me swear that I would come back and give myself up to him, as soon as I had explained to your majesty."

"Come!" cried Fierce-Heart, in a mighty rage, "show me instantly where this insolent villain of a Lion lives!"

Accordingly, the Hare led the way until he came to a very deep well, whereat he stopped and said: "Let my Lord, the King, come hither and behold his rival."

The Lion approached, and looking down into the well beheld his own image reflected in the water. Whereupon, with an angry roar, he flung himself into the well, and perished.

(Hitopadeça. Book II. Fable 8. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


NEAR the bank of the Nerbudda River there stood a wide branching Silk-cotton-tree in which a large colony of Weaver Birds had built their hanging nests, and lived snugly in them, no matter how bad the weather. It was the rainy season, and the heavens were overspread with heavy clouds like sheets of blue-black indigo, and there was a steady and tremendous down-pour of water. The birds looked out from their nests and saw some Monkeys shivering and half-dead with the cold, standing under the tree.

"Twit-twit! Twit-twit!" they began to chirp. "Listen to us, you Monkeys. We birds build warm, cosy nests with no help but our beaks. Why can't you do as much, with your nimble hands and feet, instead of sitting in the drenching rain?"

On hearing this the Monkeys were quite angry.

"O-ho!" they said. "The birds in their snug nests are making fun of us, but just wait until the rain is over!" Accordingly, as soon as the weather had cleared the Monkeys climbed the Silk-cotton-tree and broke all the Weaver Birds' eggs and destroyed their nests.

(Hitopadeça. Book III. Fable 1. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN the city of Hastinapura there once dwelt a Washerman named Vilasa. This Washerman had a Jackass which had grown so weak from carrying too heavy loads, that he looked as though he would soon die. His master covered the sick animal with a Tiger's skin, and turned him loose in a corn field, which lay along the edge of a jungle. The owners of the field, from time to time, caught a glimpse of the Ass from a distance; but thinking that he was a Tiger which had wandered out of the jungle, they ran away. But one day, the watchman who guarded the field disguised himself with a covering of grey cloth; and armed with a bow and arrow, crept into one end of the field on his hands and knees. The Ass, now once more fat and lively from the strength given him by daily feeding upon the corn, said to himself:

"That grey thing over there looks to me like one of my own kind, perhaps a young female Ass. I will go over and get acquainted." Hereupon, he galloped eagerly toward the watchman, lifting up his voice as he went. The braying told the watchman that, instead of a Tiger, this was nothing but a Jackass, and in his disgust at having had his trouble for nothing, he drew his bow and shot him through the heart.

(Hitopadeça. Book III. Fable 2. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ONCE upon a time a Jackal was prowling about the outskirts of a town, when he slipped and fell into a tank of blue dye.

Finding that he could not get out, he lay down in the tank and pretended to be dead. Pretty soon the dyer came back, and finding what looked like a dead Jackal, carried him into the woods and there threw him away. Left to himself, the Jackal found that his natural colour had been changed to a splendid blue.

"Really," he said to himself, "I am now of the most magnificent colour. Why should I not use it to my own advantage?" With this idea in mind, he called the other Jackals together and thus addressed them:

"Good people, the Goddess of the Wood, with her own divine hand, and with all the magic herbs of the forest, has annointed me your new King. Behold the colour of royalty! From now on you may do nothing without my Kingly permission."

The Jackals, dazzled by the royal colour, could do nothing else than kneel at his feet and promise obedience. Thus began the reign of the Blue Jackal, which presently extended to the Lions and the Tigers. When attended by such high-born subjects as these, he allowed himself to despise the Jackals, and kept them at a distance as though he were ashamed of them. This made the Jackals very angry. But one of them, who was a wise old beast, comforted them as follows:

"Leave the impudent fellow to me, for I have a plan to ruin him. These Lions and Tigers think he is a King because he has been dyed blue. What we must do is to show him to them in his true colours. When the evening-time comes we must all close about him and set up a great cry together. When he hears us he is sure to join in just as he used to do. And when he joins in the Tigers will know that he is nothing but a Jackal, and will fall upon him and destroy him."

Everything happened just as their wise old counsellor had foretold; and the Dyed Jackal met the fate deserved by those who desert their own party.

(Hitopadeça. Book III. Fable 7. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


NEAR a mountain named Eagle-Cliff, there once grew a fig tree in which a flock of Herons had their nests. In a hollow at the foot of the tree there lived a Serpent, who was all the time eating up the baby Herons. Loud were the cries of the father and mother birds, until one day an old Heron gave them his advice:

"You must bring some fishes from the pool and lay them, one by one, in a line from the hole over yonder where a Mongoose lives, down to the hollow where the Serpent has his home. When the Mongoose comes to get the fishes he will find the Serpent, and when he finds the Serpent he will kill him."

The advice seemed good, so the Herons flew down to the pool and quickly brought many fishes which they laid in a long line all the way from the hole of the Mongoose down to the hollow where the Serpent lived. Pretty soon the Mongoose came to get the fishes, and at last he found the Serpent. But while he was killing it the Mongoose heard the cries of the young Herons. So after that he climbed up the tree, day after day, until he had eaten up all the young Herons that the Snake had left.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 4. Adapted from translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN the forest of the Sage Gautama there once dwelt a Hermit, named Mighty-at-Prayer. Once as he sat at his frugal meal, a young Mouse, dropped from the beak of a Crow, fell beside him. The Hermit took up the Mouse tenderly and fed it with rice grains. Some time later the Hermit saw a Cat chasing his new little friend, intending to devour it; whereupon, using his saintly power, he changed the Mouse itself into a large, vigorous cat. The Cat, however, soon found itself a good deal troubled by Dogs, whereupon, the Saint again changed it, this time into a Dog. As they dwelt in the forest the Dog was always in danger from prowling Tigers; accordingly, his protector once more changed him, into a Tiger—all the time thinking of him and treating him as nothing more or less than a Mouse. Even the country folk as they passed by would say: "That a Tiger? Not he! He is nothing but a Mouse that the Saint has transformed." The Mouse hearing this, constantly, became angry and said to himself, "So long as my master lives this shameful story of my origin will be remembered."

With this thought in mind he was about to take the Saint's life, when the latter, who had the power of reading people's thoughts, turned the ungrateful beast back into his original shape.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 5. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ONCE upon a time there lived in a pool called Lily- Water, an old Crane. As he stood one day in the shallows, with a most discouraged look, and a drooping bill, a Crab noticed him and called out: "Friend Crane! Have you given up eating, that you stand there all day?" "No, friend Crab," replied the old Crane, "I love my dinner of fish as well as ever. But I have heard the fishermen saying that they are going to catch every fish that swims in these waters—so what I am to live on, I am sure I don't know. I must make up my mind to die."

All the fishes heard what the Crane said, and they said to one another, "This is a matter in which we are as much interested as the Crane. We had better ask his advice." Accordingly, they went to him and said:

"Good Crane, what can be done to save us?"

"There is only one way to save yourselves," replied the Crane, "and that is to go away. I will carry you, one by one, to another pool, if you want me to."

"Oh, please do, good Crane," said the trembling fishes.

The Crane, accordingly, carried them away, one by one, and after eating them came back each time and said that he had placed each fish safely in the other pool. Last of all, the Crab asked him to carry her; and the Crane, thinking how good the Crab's tender flesh would taste, took her up with great apparent respect. But when they reached the spot to which the Crane had carried the fishes, the Crab saw that the ground was covered with fish bones, and knew what fate was in store for her. So twisting around she fastened her claws upon the throat of the Crane, and tore it so that he quickly perished.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 6. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


ONCE upon a time in the city of Varna, there lived a Brahman whose name was Deva Sarman. At the Equinoctial Feast of the Dussara he received the gift of a dish of flour, which he took with him to a Potter's shed; and there he lay down in the shade, staff in hand, among the pots. As he thus reclined, he began to meditate after the following fashion:

"I can sell this flour for at least ten Cowrie-shells, and with them I can purchase some of these pots and sell them at a profit. With all that money I can buy a stock of betel-nuts and body-cloths and make a new profit by selling them; and so I can go on buying and trading until I get a Lakh of Rupees—what's to prevent me? Then I shall marry four young wives—at least, one of them shall be both young and beautiful, and she shall be my favourite. Of course the other three will be jealous; but if they quarrel and talk too much and make themselves troublesome, I shall beat them like this—and this—and this—" And so saying, he flourished his staff with such vigour that he not only smashed his own meal-dish, but also broke several of the Potter's jars. The Potter, rushing in, caught him by the throat and threw him out of the shed, and so ended the Brahman's dreams of a Lakh of Rupees.

Who, e'er he makes a gain has spent it.
Like the Pot-breaker, will repent it.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 7. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


A CERTAIN Brahman, or holy priest, who lived in the forest of Gautama, had gone to buy a goat for a sacrifice, and was returning home with it hanging across his shoulders when he was seen by three rogues.

"If we could only get that goat," said the three rogues to one another, "it would be a fine trick!" So they made their plans and ran on ahead of the Brahman through the woods, and seated themselves at the foot of three different trees by the side of the road, that the Brahman was following.

Presently the Brahman came up with the first of the three rogues, who said to him: "Master, why are you carrying that dog on your shoulders?"

"Dog!" said the Brahman, "it is no dog, but a goat for sacrifice." And he continued on his way home. A mile or two further he came upon the second rogue, who called out. "Master, what are you doing with that dog that you carry on your shoulder?"

The Brahman laid the goat down on the ground, looked it all over, took it up again upon his shoulder and walked on with his mind in a whirl. Presently he came upon the third rogue who called out to him, "Master, why are you carrying that dog on your shoulder?" On hearing this question for the third time the Brahman threw down the goat, washed himself clean in the river, and went home without his sacrifice. But the three rogues seized the goat, cooked it, and had a fine dinner.

Never believe a rogue, although you hate a lie.
Or, like the Brahman, you'll be sorry by-and-by.

(Hitopadeça, Book IV. Fable 9. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


A CAMEL who had strayed from a Caravan, wandered into a forest in which there dwelt a Lion named Fierce-Fangs. Three of the Lion's Courtiers, the Tiger, the Jackal and the Crow, met the Camel and at once conducted him into the presence of their King. The Camel, when questioned, was able to give a satisfactory account of himself, and the Lion took him into his royal service, under the name of Crop-Ear. Now it happened that the rainy season was very severe, and the Lion became too ill to go hunting. Consequently, there was much difficulty in obtaining sufficient food for the Court. Accordingly, the Courtiers agreed among themselves to persuade the Lion to kill the Camel. "For what interest have we," they asked, "in this Browser of thistles?"

"What indeed!" observed the Tiger. "But will the King kill him, think you, after giving his promise of protection?"

"When he finds himself starving, he will consent," said the Crow. "Know you not the saying:

Hunger hears not, cares not, spares not; no boon from the starving beg;
When the Snake is pinched with craving, verily she eats her egg."

Accordingly, they presented themselves before the Lion.

"Hast brought me food, fellow?" growled the King.

"None, may it please your Majesty," said the Crow.

"Must we starve then?" asked the Lion.

"Not unless you reject the food that is before you. Sire," rejoined the Crow.

"Before me? What do you mean?"

"I mean," replied the Crow (and hereupon he whispered softly in the Lion's ear), "Crop-Ear, the Camel!"

"Never!" said the Lion, and he stooped and touched the ground, and afterwards both his ears as he spoke, "I have given the Camel my pledge for safety, and how should I slay him?"

"Nay, Sire, I said not slay" replied the Crow. "But it may be that he will offer himself for food. To that your Majesty would surely not object?"

"I am parlous hungry," murmured the King.

Thereupon the Crow departed to find the Camel; and having summoned all the Court into the presence of the King, under some pretence or other, he spoke as follows:

"Sire, all our efforts have come to nothing; we can find no food and see Thee, our Lord and Master, pining away. Take me, therefore, your Majesty, and break your fast upon me."

"Good Crow," said the Lion, "I had liefer die than do so."

"Will your Majesty deign to make a repast off of me?" asked the Jackal.

"Not on any account," replied the Lion.

"Condescend, my Lord," said the Tiger, "to appease your noble hunger with my poor flesh!"

"Impossible!" responded the Lion.

Thereupon, Crop-Ear, not to be behind in what seemed quite safe, made offer of his own carcase, and barely had time for regret, since his offer was accepted before he had finished speaking. The Tiger instantly sprang upon his flank, and all the rest promptly joined in the feast.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 10. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN a deserted garden there once lived an old Serpent, named Slow-Coil. He was so very old that he could no longer catch mice or other animals for food. As he lay, one day, by the edge of a pond, a certain Frog saw him there and asked him:

"Are you so old, Serpent, that you no longer care to eat?"

"Leave me, kind sir," replied the subtle reptile; "The troubles of a poor wretch like me cannot interest your noble mind."

"Let me at least hear them," said the Frog somewhat flattered.

"You must know then, kind sir," began the Serpent, "that twenty years ago, in Brahmapootra, I bit the son of Kaundinya, a holy Brahman, from which cruel bite he died. Seeing his boy dead, Kaundinya, in his sorrow and despair cursed me with the curse that I should be a carrier of Frogs. So here I am, waiting to do as the Brahman's curse compels me."

The Frog, after hearing all this, went and told it to Web-Foot, the Frog King, who quickly came to take a ride on the Serpent. He was carried so carefully, and was so delighted with his ride, that after that he used the Serpent all the time. But one day, seeing that the Serpent moved very slowly, he asked what was the matter.

"Please, your Majesty," explained the Serpent, "your slave has nothing to eat."

"Eat a few of my Frogs," said the King, "I give you leave."

"I thank your Majesty," answered the Serpent, and at once he began to eat the Frogs. Before long he had emptied the pond of all the King's Frogs, and finished by eating the King himself.

(Hitopadeça. Book IV. Fable 11. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold.)


IN a certain forest there dwelt a pair of Sparrows whose nest was in a Tamala tree. One day an Elephant, made crazy by the heat of summer, came rushing through the forest, and seizing the branch on which the Sparrows had their nest, tore it off, breaking all the eggs and nearly killing the father and mother birds. The mother Sparrow, mourning for her eggs, poured forth her lamentations, and refused to be comforted. Her friend the Woodpecker heard her sorrowful complaint, and pitying her, came to see what she could do to help her.

"If you are really my friend," said the Sparrow, "and wish to console me, you will help me to find some way to destroy this wicked Elephant, who has robbed me of my little ones."

"I have a friend," said the Woodpecker, "a fly named Bumble-Bumble. Let us go and ask him what we can do to destroy this wicked, cruel Elephant." So the Woodpecker and the Sparrow went to find the Fly. When they found him, the Woodpecker said:

"Dear Bumble-Bumble, my friend the Sparrow has been cruelly wronged by a wicked Elephant, who has destroyed her nest, and broken all her eggs. I want you to tell us how we shall kill this Elephant."

"I have a friend," said the Fly, "a Frog called Thunder-Throat. We will ask him to advise us what to do."

So they all three went to find Thunder-Throat, and told him the whole story.

"Not even an Elephant," said Thunder-Throat, "can protect himself against a number of justly angry enemies, if they act together. I have a plan which we must follow carefully. You, Bumble-Bumble, must go at mid-day and buzz so softly in the Elephant's ear that it will sound to him like the sweetest music, and he will close his eyes with pleasure. Then the Woodpecker must peck out the Elephant's eyes. When he is blind, and tormented with thirst, he will hear me and my brothers croaking loudly on the edge of a precipice. Thinking that we are in a pond he will dash forward over the precipice, and be killed."

It was all done just as Thunder-Throat had planned. The Fly buzzed sweetly; the Elephant closed his eyes in pleasure; he was blinded by the Woodpecker; and as he dashed about, wild with pain and thirst, he followed the voice of the Frogs, fell over the precipice, and was dashed to pieces.

Moral. In union there is strength.

(Panchatantra. Vol. I. Chapter 16.)


ONCE on the bank of the River Ganges, a certain Holy Man, named Yajnavalkya, was bathing and purifying himself, when a Mouse, escaping from the beak of a Falcon, dropped into the palm of his hand. When the Holy Man saw the Mouse, he placed it upon a fig leaf, bathed himself once more, and performed other acts of purification, and by the force of his austerity and holiness succeeded in changing the Mouse into a little Girl. Upon returning home, Yajnavalkya gave the little Girl to his Wife, who had no children of her own, and said to her:

"Dear Wife, take this little Girl and bring her up with tender care, as though she were in truth our own daughter." So the Girl was brought up lovingly and with watchful care, until she had reached a marriageable age. When Yajnavalkya's Wife saw that the Girl was old enough to marry, she said to her husband:

"Dear husband, do you not see that it is high time that our daughter was given in marriage?"

"That is well said," answered Yajnavalkya, "and I shall give her to a husband worthy of her, and to none other. But it is the right of every young Girl to choose her own husband. If it is pleasing to her, I will call the venerable Sun, and give her to him in marriage."

"There can be no harm in that; do so by all means," answered the Wife.

So the Holy Man summoned the Sun by the help of mystic formulas; and the Sun at once appeared.

"Venerable Sir, why do you summon me?" he asked.

Yajnavalkya replied: "Here is my daughter. If she will choose you, it is my wish that you should marry her." Then turning to his daughter, he said: "My daughter, this is the venerable Sun, who lights the Three Worlds, will you choose him?"

"My father," replied the Girl, "The Sun is too ardent; I do not want him. Call some one else greater than he."

When the Holy Man heard these words of his daughter, he said to the Sun, "Venerable Sun, is there any other who is greater than thou?"

The Sun replied, "The Cloud is more powerful than I; for when covered by him, I become invisible."

Then Yajnavalkya summoned the Cloud, and said to his daughter:

"My child, I will give you in marriage to this one, if he pleases you.

"No," replied the Girl, "he is too black and cold, give me to some one greater than he."

Then the Holy Man said: "Oh, Cloud, is there any other superior to thee?"

The Cloud replied, "The Wind is superior to me. When beaten by the Wind, I scatter into a thousand pieces."

When Yajnavalkya heard this, he summoned the Wind, and said:

"My daughter, here is the Wind, who seems in all ways to be the proper husband for you."

"My father," she replied, "the Wind is too variable. Summon some one else more powerful than the Wind."

The Holy Man asked, "Oh, Wind, is there any one who is greater than thou?"

The Wind replied, "The Mountain is greater than I; for, strong as I am, the Mountain can stop and hold me back."

Then Yajnavalkya summoned the Mountain, and said: "My daughter, if the Mountain pleases you I will give you to him in marriage."

"Father," answered the Girl, "the Mountain is too harsh and rough. I pray you, give me to some one else."

The Holy Man said to the Mountain, "Oh, King of the Mountains, is there any one greater than thou?"

The Mountain replied, "The Rats are more powerful than I; for, by the force of their constant gnawing they pierce holes in me, and tear my body asunder."

Accordingly, Yajnavalkya summoned a Rat, showed him to his daughter, and said, "My daughter, I will give you to this King of the Rats; do you choose him as a husband?"

When the Girl saw the Rat she thought to herself, "Here at last is one of my own species;" and, trembling with joy, she said: "Father, change me once again into a Mouse, and give me to the Rat, that I may perform the household duties ordained for one of my own species."

Accordingly, the Holy Man, by virtue of his great austerity and holiness, uttered the proper charms and incantations, changed the Girl once more into a Mouse, and gave her to the Rat in marriage.

(Panchatantra. Vol. III. Chapter 13.)


IN a certain part of a forest there lived a Lion named Pointed-Claws. One day this Lion roamed hither and thither, his stomach lean with hunger, without meeting a single animal. But at the hour of sunset he came upon a great cave in the mountains, and entered it, thinking to himself, "Surely some animal must possess this Cave, and will return to it at night. So I will hide myself and wait."

Presently, the possessor of the cave, who was a Jackal named Curd-Tail, returned home, and discovered the line of Lion's foot-prints leading into the Cave, but none coming out again. "Alas! I am a dead Jackal!" he said to himself. "There must surely be a Lion hidden in this Cave. What shall I do? How shall I find out whether a Lion is there or not?"

After a little reflection, the Jackal took his stand at the mouth of the Cave, and began to call out:

"Hello, Cave! Hello, Cave!"

Then after a brief silence he began again, "Say, Cave, have you forgotten our agreement that whenever I came home I was always to call out to you before entering, and that you were to answer? If you don't call back to me, off I go to another Cave, which will answer me."

When the Lion heard this he thought, "Evidently this Cave is in the habit of answering the Jackal when he comes home. But tonight it says nothing because of its fear of me. I will myself call to the Jackal, so that he will think that it is the Cave speaking, and will come in, and I shall have my dinner."

Thus thinking, the Lion called to the Jackal. The Cave was filled with the echoes of his roaring, and sent terror to the hearts of all the forest animals far and wide. The Jackal fled in all haste, saying to himself:

"He who acts with circumspection is happy: he who acts without circumspection will regret it. I have grown old in the forest, but never yet have I seen or heard a talking Cave."

(Panchatantra. Vol. III. Chapter 15.)


IN a certain spot near the Sea grew a great Jambon Tree, always full of fruit. And in this tree dwelt a Monkey, called Red-Chin. One day a Crocodile, named Fierce-Jaws, came up out of the water, and seeing the Monkey in the Jambon Tree, fell to talking to him, and soon they became good friends. After this the Crocodile often came to spend the day with the Monkey, under the shadow of the Jambon Tree, and the hours passed happily in pleasant talk. When the Crocodile returned home, he always gave his Wife such part of the fruit of the Jambon Tree as was left from his luncheon. But one day the Crocodile's Wife asked:

"My Lord, where do you find this kind of fruit, which has the taste of ambrosia?"

"My dear," answered Fierce-Jaws, "I have a dear friend, a Monkey named Red-Chin, who gives me this fruit because of his affection for me."

Then said the Crocodile's Wife, "Whoever eats always of such fruit as this must have a heart of ambrosia. If you want to keep me for your wife, get me the Monkey's heart, so that I may eat it and thus preserve myself from old age and death."

"My dear," answered the Crocodile, "do not ask this of me, for the Monkey has become to me like a second brother."

Then the Crocodile's wife said: "Never before have you refused me anything! This Monkey you talk of must be some other Crocodile's Wife!—Or, if not, what is a Monkey to you? If you do not bring me his heart to eat, I will starve myself, and the blame of my death will rest on you!"

Much troubled, the Crocodile took his way back to the Monkey. The latter seeing him approaching so late and so sadly, called down to him:

"Friend Fierce-Jaw, why so late, and why so sad?"

"Friend Red-Chin," replied the Crocodile, "My Wife has been saying hard things to me. She says that I spend all my days with you, and never bring you back to our house. If I fail to bring you back to-day, she vows that she will never look upon me again."

"Friend Fierce-Jaw," said the Monkey, "your Wife is in the right. But I make my home in the forest and you make yours in the midst of the waters. How could I go there with you? Instead, bring your Wife here, so that I may receive her blessing."

"Friend Red-Chin," said the Crocodile, "our home is on a very agreeable island, even though it is in the midst of the Sea. Mount upon my back, and you shall journey thither pleasantly and without danger."

The Monkey replied, "Dear friend, if that is so let us hasten. I will at once mount upon your back."

Presently, the Monkey, riding upon the back of the Crocodile, found himself surrounded by bottomless water, and his heart was filled with fear. "Brother," he said, "go carefully, carefully, for my body is washed by the waves."

When the Crocodile heard this he said to himself, "Now that we have reached deep water the Monkey is in my power; seated upon my back, he cannot escape me by the width of a single sesame seed. I will tell him my true purpose, so that he may have a chance to call upon his Gods for help." Thereupon he said to the Monkey:

"Friend Red-Chin, I want to tell you that I have taken advantage of your confidence to bring you out here, in order to kill you by my Wife's commands. Call upon your patron Saints to save you."

"Brother," said the Monkey, "what harm have I done to your Wife or to you, that you should wish to kill me?"

"You have done nothing," replied the Crocodile, "but my Wife wants to eat your heart, because it is steeped in the juice of the ambrosial fruits on which you feed. That is the sole reason for what I have done."

Hearing this the Monkey, who was quick-witted, rejoined:

"My dear friend, why did you not tell me this before we started? I always keep my heart hidden in the hollow of the Jambon Tree. Of course I will give it to your Wife, but what a pity you brought me away without it."

When the Crocodile heard this he cried out joyfully:

"My dear fellow, I will take you back at once to the Jambon Tree and you can give me your heart to take to my Wife and keep her from starving herself."

The Monkey, who had said at least a hundred silent prayers, did not wait until they reached dry land, but took a long flying leap to shore. Then swinging himself up to safety in the tree, he congratulated himself that he was still alive.

"Hurry up," called out the Crocodile, "and give me your heart for my Wife to eat."

"Shame on you, false friend!" replied the Monkey. "Is there any one in the world with two hearts? Take yourself off and never come back! For anybody who is fool enough to make friends with a traitor is deserving of death."

(Panchatantra. Vol. IV. Chapter 1.)


IN a certain Well there once dwelt a King of Frogs, named Gangadatta. One day, being much harassed by his Heirs, he climbed into the bucket and by help of the wheel ascended little by little from the Well. And all the while he was thinking, "How shall I punish these troublesome Heirs of mine?" While he was still meditating, he saw a Black Serpent, named Priyadarsana, just entering his hole. No sooner did Gangadatta see the Serpent than he thought, "If I take this Black Serpent back to my Well, I shall be able to destroy all my Heirs."

So thinking, Gangadatta went to the mouth of the hole and called to the Serpent, "Come here, Priyadarsana, come here!" When the Serpent heard himself called, he said to himself, "Whoever calls me is certainly not one of my species, for this is not the voice of a Serpent. I have no ties of friendship with any other creature in the world. So I am going to stick close to my stronghold, until I see who it can be that is calling me."

Accordingly the Serpent called out, from deep within the hole, "Hello! Who is there?"

The Frog replied, "I am King of the Frogs, named Gangadatta, and I have come to form a friendship with you."

When the Serpent heard this, he said, "How am I to believe that? For when does Grass make friends with Fire?"

"I know that it seems impossible," answered Gangadatta, "for you are our natural enemy. But I have come to you for help, because my Heirs make my life a burden to me."

"Where do you live?" asked the Serpent. "Is it in a pond, a lake, a swamp or a well? Show me your home."

The Frog replied, "I live in a deep well, walled all around with stones."

"I am a reptile," said the Serpent, "and dwell in the soft earth. Consequently, I could not enter through the stone walls of your Well. Or if I did enter it, there is no place where I could hide and lie in wait, to kill your Heirs. So you may as well go your way alone."

"Not so," said Gangadatta. "Come with me. For I will show you an easy way into the well. Half-way down, near the water level, is a convenient hole, where you may he in wait and amuse yourself by killing my Heirs."

When the Serpent heard this, he thought to himself, "I am already approaching old age. Sometimes by hook or by crook, I catch a Rat; and sometimes I don't catch him. So the prospect of a good living held out to me by this Destroyer of his own Family fills me with joy. So I shall go home with him and feast upon Frogs." Thus thinking, Priyadarsana said to the King of the Frogs, "I have decided to go with you, Gangadatta; let us get started at once."

"So be it, Priyadarsana," answered Gangadatta. "I will take you by an easy way and show you the hole in the well. But first you must promise me that you will spare my own faithful Followers. You are to eat only those Frogs that I point out to you."

"My dear fellow," said the Serpent, "from now on you are my friend. Consequently you have nothing to fear. I will eat your Heirs according to your orders." So speaking, he glided from his hole, embraced Gangadatta, and set off in his company.

When they arrived beside the well, Gangadatta himself took the Serpent down into his home by aid of the wheel and bucket. Then, when his new friend was safely hidden in the hole, Gangadatta pointed out his Heirs; and day by day Priyadarsana ate them, until he had eaten every one. But when there were no more Heirs left, the Serpent said:

"My dear friend, no more of your enemies are left, and I am still hungry. Give me, therefore, some other food, since you brought me here."

Gangadatta replied, "You have acted like a true friend. But now, I pray you, go your way, by means of the wheel and bucket."

"Listen, Gangadatta," said the Serpent, "what you say is not kind. How can I go back? The hole which was once my fortress is no doubt long since occupied by another. Evidently I must remain here, and you must give me, one at a time, the Frogs that are your companions and followers. Otherwise, I shall eat them all at once."

When Gangadatta heard this his heart was troubled, and he said to himself, "I have done a terrible thing by bringing the Serpent here."

Accordingly, Gangadatta continued to feed the Serpent with one Frog at a time; and the Serpent, after eating his one Frog, often ate a second one secretly when Gangadatta was absent. Consequently, in the course of time, the whole company of Frogs was devoured, and there remained only Gangadatta himself. Then Priyadarsana said to him:

"My dear Gangadatta I am still hungry. All the other Frogs are destroyed down to the last one. You alone remain. Give me, I pray you, something to eat, since it was you who brought me here."

"My friend," said Gangadatta, "so long as I live you shall have no cause for anxiety. At your bidding I will go forth and will win the confidence of Frogs in other wells, and bring them back with me."

"Until now," replied the Serpent, "I have felt that I must not eat you, for you have been like a brother to me. Do this one thing more, and henceforth you will be like my own father. By all means, Gangadatta, do as you suggest."

At the Serpent's bidding Gangadatta hopped briskly into the bucket, and ascended from the Well. For many days Priyadarsana eagerly watched for his return. But when a long time had passed, and Gangadatta had not come back, the Serpent said to an Iguana who lived in a nearby hole: "Dear friend, do me a little service. Since you have known Gangadatta for a long time, go and find him in whatever pond he is now living, and say to him from me, 'Come back, Gangadatta, even if you come alone, even if the other Frogs won't come with you. I cannot live here longer without you; and if I have ever done you an unkindness, I dedicate my life to atoning for it.'"

Accordingly, the Iguana quickly sought out Gangadatta and said to him, "My dear Gangadatta, your friend, Priyadarsana is ceaselessly watching the Road of your Return. Come back, he begs, at once, and in return for any ill that he may have done you he pledges the good offices of his remaining years. Return with your heart free of fear."

When Gangadatta heard this he said, "What wickedness will not hunger commit? Men, lean with want, are without pity. Dear friend, say to Priyadarsana that Gangadatta will not return to the Well."

(Panchatantra. Vol. IV. Chapter 2.)


IN a certain part of a forest there dwelt a pair of Lions. One day the Lioness had two Whelps. After this the Lion spent all his time hunting other animals and bringing them to the Lioness for food. But a day came on which he caught nothing. While he was still roaming hither and thither through the forest, the sun set. On his way home, empty-handed, he found and caught a little Jackal. Seeing how very young it was, he did not kill it, but took it carefully between his teeth and brought it home alive to his mate. When he arrived home the Lioness said, "Dear Husband, have you brought us something to eat?"

"My dear," replied the Lion, "excepting for this little Jackal, I have not found a single animal all day, and considering how young it is, I could not bear to kill it, especially as it is one of our near relations. However, eat him yourself, for you need the food. Tomorrow I may have better luck."

"My dear," said the Lioness, "you remembered how young the Jackal is and would not eat him, how do you expect me to kill him to satisfy my own appetite? I cannot do that; instead, I shall adopt him as my third son." Thus saying, she adopted the little Jackal, and nursed him along with her own two Whelps. Thus the three little animals, mutually ignorant of the difference of their breed, passed the days of their infancy in the same manner of life and the same sports and plays. But one day a wild Elephant passed that way, roaming here and there in the forest. Upon seeing this Elephant the two young Lions bristled with anger and prepared to attack him. But the little Jackal said, "Be careful, that is an Elephant, an enemy of our race! We must not attempt to stand and face him."

So speaking, the Jackal turned and fled back to his home; and the two little Lions were disheartened at seeing the fright of their older brother. But when they also had returned home, they told the parent Lions with much laughter how frightened their older brother had been and how, upon seeing an Elephant from far off, he had promptly fled. When the little Jackal heard them laughing, he was seized with great anger; his lower lip trembled, his eyes grew red, he frowned fiercely and threatened the two Whelps with insulting words. Hereupon the Lioness led him aside and rebuked him. "My child, you must never speak like that, remember that they are your little brothers." But the Jackal was still very angry, and asked, "Am I inferior to them in courage, in beauty, in diligence, or in cleverness, that they should dare to mock me? It is evident that I shall have to kill them!"

Upon hearing this the Lioness, who was really fond of the little Jackal, and wanted him to live, laughed softly, and replied:

"You are brave and wise and handsome according to your own kind, my son. But the breed from which you sprang does not kill Elephants. Listen, my child, you are really the son of a Jackal. I nourished you out of compassion together with my own two Whelps. Therefore, while my two sons are still too young to know that you are a Jackal, go away quickly and stay with your own species. Otherwise they will kill you, and you will travel upon the Road of Death."

When the Jackal heaid this his heart was overcome with fear. He stole away very softly and went to live henceforth with his own species.

(Panchatantra. Vol. IV. Chapter 5.)


IN a certain Pond there once dwelt two Fishes named respectively, Satabuddhi, or Hundred-Wits, and Sahasrabuddhi, or Thousand-Wits. These two Fishes formed a close friendship with a Frog named Ekabuddhi, or Single-Wit; and they formed a habit of meeting on the shore of the Pond for pleasant talks and discussions, after which the two Fishes would return to the water. One day, when the three had thus come together to converse, some Fishermen, with fishing nets in hand, passed by and stopped for a moment just at sunset. When the Fishermen saw the Pond they said to one another:

"This Pond seems well stocked with fish, and there is very little water in it. Let us come back again to-morrow." Having thus spoken they continued on their way toward home.

When the three friends heard this speech, which came upon them like a thunder-clap, they held council together. The Frog said, "Listen, dear Hundred- Wits and Thousand-Wits! What is best for us to do? Shall we run away or shall we stay?"

Upon hearing this, Thousand-Wits laughed, and said, "Dear Single-Wit! Do not let yourself be frightened at overhearing a few chance words! It is not likely that the Fishermen will ever come back at all. But if they do come, then thanks to my many wits, I will save you and myself too, for I know all of the water-ways in the depths of the Pond."

When Hundred-Wits heard this, he said, "Ah! What Thousand Wits says is quite true. There is much reason in the old saying that where there is no road for wind or sunshine, there quick wit will easily find a path. So it would be foolish to leave our place of birth just because we overheard a few idle words. There is no need of seeking a new home. I also will protect you, friend Single-Wit, by the strength of my intelligence."

"My dear friends," answered the Frog, "I have only a single wit, as you know, and it advises me to flee. So I shall set out this very night with my wife for another Pond."

Accordingly, as soon as night had come the Frog set out as he had said, in search of his new home.

The next day the Fishermen came early in the morning like Messengers of Fate, and covered the Pond with nets. All swimming creatures in the Pond, the Fish, the Turtles, the Frogs and Crabs and other animals were caught and dragged out. Hundred-Wits and Thousand-Wits fled hither and thither with their wives and families, and for some time they escaped capture, thanks to their knowledge of the many water-ways. But at last they too fell into the net and were killed. In the afternoon the contented Fishermen started back towards their homes. One of them carried Hundred-Wits upon his head, because he was heavy; another carried Thousand- Wits by a rope thrust through his gills. As they passed along the road, the Frog, Single-Wit, who had come up on the shore of his new Pond, said to his wife, "Look, look, my dear! There is Hundred-Wits carried on the head of the Fisherman, and there is Thousand-Wits hanging by a rope; but I, Single-Wit, can still sport at my pleasure in the crystal-clear water."

(Panchatantra. Vol. V. Chapter 6.)


IN a certain spot by the seashore there once dwelt a Bird named Bharanda, which had only a single stomach, but two Beaks. As he wandered along the margin of the sea he found a fruit of ambrosial flavour which the waves had tossed upon the shore. Eating it he said, "Ah! I have eaten many fruits of ambrosial sweetness which the waves of the sea have flung up; but truly the taste of this fruit surpasses them all. May it not be the fruit of the yellow sandal-wood of Paradise, or some other celestial fruit fallen by chance into the ocean? Assuredly it has given me a rare and wonderful pleasure of the tongue."

As he spoke thus, the second Beak said: "If it is so good as all that, give me a share of your ambrosial fruit, that I too may experience a rare pleasure of the tongue!"

At this, the first Beak laughed and said, "We have only one stomach between us, and whichever eats, the hunger of both will be appeased. Accordingly, why eat separately? Let us rather save what is left and give pleasure to our dear mate, Bharandi, who is waiting at home?"

So saying, the first Beak carried home what was left of the fruit and gave it to Bharandi to eat. And when she had tasted it she was filled with joy, and gave payment with many thanks and caresses.

From that day forth the other Beak became morose and full of resentment. At last, it chanced one day, upon the fruit of a certain poisonous tree. The resentful Beak had no sooner recognized the nature of this fruit than it said to the other Beak, "Miserable, treacherous creature! I have found without seeking it the fruit of a poisonous tree. I am going to eat it in order to punish your selfishness!"

The first Beak replied, "You poor fool! Don't do that, for if you do we shall both perish. Forgive my selfishness and I promise I will never be unfair to you again." But even while he still spoke the other Beak ate the poisonous fruit, and soon afterwards both Beaks were dead.

(Panchatantra. Vol. V. Chapter 14.)


IN a certain spot there once dwelt a Brahman named Brahmadatta, who was about to set forth for another village on some important business. His mother said to him:

"My son, why go on this long journey alone? Find some friend, I beg of you, to take as a companion on your way."

"Mother," replied the Brahman, "have no fear; the road is not dangerous. Besides, my business is so important that I must start to-day, even though I go alone."

When the Brahman's mother saw that he had made up his mind, she procured a Crab from a nearby pond and said to her son:

"My dear son, if you absolutely must go to-day this Crab will serve as a companion. Take good care of it, and go your way."

Out of respect for his mother the Brahman took the Crab, placed it in a parcel of camphor, dropped the parcel into the bag with his money, and set off in haste. But presently, as he walked on and on, he began to suffer from the heat. Coming to a tree by the wayside he stretched himself comfortably in its shade and fell asleep. Presently a black Snake glided from its hole in the tree and rapidly approached the Brahman. But as it drew near, its senses were overcome by the fumes of the camphor. Forgetful of the Brahman, it flung itself upon his purse, and crazed with eagerness swallowed the whole package of camphor. The Crab, which the Serpent gobbled down with the rest of the package, stuck fast in his throat and killed him. When the Brahman awoke and looked about him, there by the roadside lay the dead black Serpent which had torn open his purse and eaten his packet of camphor. And near the Serpent sat the Crab the Brahman's mother had given him. When the Brahman saw these things he said to himself, "Ah, my mother spoke truly when she said that one should take a travelling companion, and never travel long distances alone. And because I followed her advice in a spirit of obedience and faith I was saved, even by a Crab, from the death which the black Serpent would have inflicted."

(Panchatantra. Vol. V. Chapter 15.)


MANY a man, starting with a modest capital, has ended by acquiring great wealth. But I built up my large fortune by starting with nothing at all. Listen, and you shall hear how I did it.

My father died before I was born; and my mother's wicked relations robbed her of all she possessed. So in fear of her life she fled from them and took refuge at the home of one of my father's friends. There I was born, to become later the protector and mainstay of my excellent mother. Meanwhile she supported our lives by the pittance earned through hardest drudgery; and, poor as we were, she found a teacher who consented to instruct me in the simple rudiments of reading, writing and keeping accounts. Then one day my mother said to me, "My son, your father before you was a merchant, and the time has come for you also to engage in trade. The richest merchant now living in our city is the money changer, Visakhila, and I hear that it is his habit to make loans to the poor sons of good families to start them in business. Go to him and ask him for such a loan."

Straightway I went to Visakhila, the money changer, and found him angrily denouncing another merchant's son, to whom he had loaned money: "See that dead Mouse upon the ground," he said scornfully, "a clever man could start with even such poor capital as that and make a fortune. But, however much money I loan you I barely get back the interest on it, and I greatly doubt whether you have not already lost the principal."

Hereupon I impetuously turned to Visakhila and said, "I will accept the dead Mouse as capital to start me in business!"

With these words, I picked up the Mouse, wrote out a receipt, and went my way, leaving the money changer convulsed with laughter.

I sold the Mouse to another merchant as cat's meat, for two handfuls of peas. I ground the peas and taking with me a pitcher of water, I hastened from the city and seated myself under the shade of a spreading tree. Many weary wood-cutters passed by, carrying their wood to market, and to each one I politely offered a drink of cool water and a portion of the peas. Every wood-cutter gratefully gave me in payment a couple of sticks of wood; and at the end of the day I took these sticks and sold them in the market. Then for a small part of the price I received for the wood I bought a new supply of peas; and so on the second day I obtained more sticks from the woodcutters. In the course of a few days I had amassed quite a little capital and was able to buy from the wood-cutters all the wood that they could cut in three days. It happened soon afterwards that because of the heavy rains there was a great scarcity of wood in the market, and I was able to sell all that I had bought for several hundred panas. With this money I set up a shop, and as I am a shrewd business man I soon became wealthy.

Then I went to a goldsmith and had him make me a Mouse of solid gold. This Mouse I presented to Visakhila as payment of the loan; and he soon after gave me his daughter in marriage. Because of this story I am known to the world as Mushika, the Mouse. So it was that without any capital to build on, I amassed a fortune.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book I, Chapter 6; adapted from the German of F. Brockhaus.)


THERE was once a Merchant's Son who had spent all his father's wealth, and had nothing left except a pair of Iron Scales. Now these Scales were worth much, for they were made of a thousand palas of iron. So when the Merchant's Son decided to journey to a distant land he left the Scales for safe-keeping in the care of another merchant. When the young man returned from his long journey, he demanded back from the merchant the Scales he had deposited with him. The merchant answered, "I cannot give them back, they have been eaten by the Mice." And he repeated, "What I tell you is quite true; the iron of which the Scales were made was especially sweet iron, so the Mice ate it." This he said with an outward show of regret, while laughing in his heart. The young man made no reply, except to ask if he might have some food; and the other, being well pleased with himself, cordially gave him some. Having eaten, the young man went down to the river to bathe, taking with him the little son of his friend the merchant, who was a mere child, and whom he persuaded to come with him by the gift of a dish of sweets. After he had bathed, the young man left the boy in charge of another friend, and then returned to the merchant's house. The merchant asked him, "Where is that little son of mine?" The young man replied, "A Kite swooped down from the air and carried him off." The merchant flew into a great rage and said, "You have kidnapped my son!" And he took the young man to the King's judgment hall. Here the owner of the Scales repeated his story of the Kite which swooped down from the sky and carried off the merchant's son. The officers of the court said, "This is impossible. How could a Kite carry off a boy?" The young man replied, "In a country where large Iron Scales can be eaten by Mice, a Kite might carry off an Elephant, to say nothing of a boy." When the officers of the court heard this, they were curious to hear the story of the Iron Scales; and when they had heard it they made the dishonest merchant return the Scales to their owner, while he on his part returned the merchant's son.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 60.)


ONCE upon a time a troop of Monkeys were wandering through a wood. The weather was cold, and when in the twilight they came upon a Firefly they mistook it for the embers of a real fire. Accordingly, they placed dry grass and leaves around the Firefly, hoping to warm themselves; and one of the Monkeys fanned it with his breath, trying to kindle it into a blaze. A little Bird, named Suchimukha, was perched above in a tree; and when he saw the Monkeys wasting their time and efforts, he called down to them, "That is not a real fire, it is only a Firefly. Do not waste your breath."

Although the Monkey heard what Suchimukha said, he paid no attention but continued to blow steadily. So the Bird flew down from the tree, and once more began to advise and argue with the Monkey. Presently the latter became angry and picking up a stone flung it at Suchimukha and killed him.

It is foolish to waste good advice on those who do not choose to listen.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 60.)


A CERTAIN merchant said one day to his Servant, "I am obliged to go home for a short time. Take good care of the Door of my shop until I come back."

Having said this the merchant went his way, and the Servant, removing the shop Door placed it on his shoulder and went off to see some actors who were performing nearby. Later, as the Servant was returning, his master met him and scolded him roundly. But the Servant answered, "What have I done amiss? I have taken the best of care of this shop Door, just as you told me to."

It is folly to heed only the words of an order, without trying to understand its meaning.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 62.)


IN the course of a long journey the Camel of a certain merchant fell by the wayside exhausted by its heavy load. The merchant said to his Servants, "I must go and buy another Camel to carry half of this Camel's load. While I'm gone you must remain here, and if the sky clouds over you must be very careful that no rain touches the leather of these Trunks, for they are filled with costly clothing."

Having given these orders, the merchant went off, leaving the Servants watching beside the Camel. Suddenly a storm-cloud came up and a heavy Rain descended. Hereupon the foolish Servants said to one another, "Our master told us to take good care that no Rain should touch the leather of these Trunks." Accordingly they took counsel together, and being unable to think of a better way of protecting the leather, they dragged the clothing out of the Trunks and wrapped it around them. The result was that all the clothing was ruined by the Rain. When the merchant returned he flew into a great rage and said to his Servants, "You idiots! See the harm you have done! Why, my whole stock of clothes is spoiled by the Rain!"

The Servants answered, "What fault have we committed? You told us to keep the Rain off the leather of the Trunk."

The master said, "I told you that if the leather got wet, the clothes would be spoiled. I told you this, in order to save the clothes and not the leather."

Then the master placed the load on another Camel, and when they reached home he took from his Servants' wages the whole price of the clothes.

Those who lack understanding ruin their own interests as well as those of others.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 62.)


A CERTAIN Snake had two Heads, one in the usual place and the other at the tip of his tail. But while the Head that he had in the usual place was provided with a pair of good eyes, the Head at the end of his tail was blind. Now there was a constant quarrel between these two Heads, for each of them claimed to be the more powerful Head, and to have mastery over the other. Now, it was the custom of the Snake as he roamed around, to go with his real Head foremost. But on one occasion the Head at the end of the Snake's tail seized hold of a wooden stake with its jaws, and by holding on firmly prevented the Snake from going further. This convinced the Snake that the Head in his tail must be more powerful than the other Head, since it had got the best of the struggle. Accordingly, from this time on, the Snake roamed about with his blind Head foremost; and so presently he fell into a pit full of burning rubbish, being unable to see where he was going, and was thus burned to death.

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 63.)


THERE was once a Brahman named Devasarman, who lived with his wife in a certain village. In the course of time a son was born to them, and the Brahman, though very poor, felt that he had in this son a treasure of great price. One day the Brahman's wife went down to the river to bathe, while Devasarman remained in the house, taking care of the child. Presently a messenger came from the King's palace to summon the Brahman, whose sole means of support depended upon the fees paid him for his priestly services. Pleased at the prospect of a fee, Devasarman hurried off to the palace, leaving a Mongoose, which he himself had brought up from birth, to stand guard over the child. After he had gone a Snake suddenly appeared and crawled directly towards the spot where the infant lay; but the Mongoose, upon seeing the Snake, instantly sprang upon it and killed it out of devotion to his master. When the Mongoose saw Devasarman returning, while he was still far off, it ran joyously out to meet him, with its jaws still red with the blood of the Snake. When Devasarman beheld the Mongoose in this condition, he was seized with a terrible fear that it had killed his little son, and in his excitement and anger he struck the Mongoose a fatal blow with a stone. But when he entered the house, and saw the Snake lying dead on the floor, and the child alone, but alive and well, he repented bitterly of what he had done. And when his wife returned and was told what had happened, she reproached him for his rash haste, saying:

"Why did you so inconsiderately kill the Mongoose when it had done you nothing but kindness?"

(Katha-Sarit-Sagara. Book X, Chapter 64.)


THERE were once two Oxen who were brothers and were owned by one master, for whom they did all the heavy draught-work. Now one of these Oxen was much smaller than his brother; and since they were both the same colour, they were known respectively by the names of Big Redcoat and Little Redcoat. Now it happened that the master's daughter was soon to be married; accordingly he began fattening a certain Pig, named Munika, for the wedding feast. When Little Redcoat saw the abundant food that was given to Munika, he complained to his brother: "All the loads for this household have been drawn by you and me, my Brother; but all that they give us in payment is sorry grass and straw to eat, yet here is this Pig, Munika, being fed on rice! Why should he be treated to such dainty fare?" Big Redcoat replied: "Do not be envious of the Pig, dear Brother, since the food that Munika eats is the food of death. The reason that he is being fattened is because he is to furnish the feast for the wedding of our master's daughter. Before long the wedding guests will arrive, and then you will see our friend Munika dragged out of his pen and chopped up and made into a savoury curry."

Not long afterwards the wedding guests arrived, as big Redcoat had predicted, and Munika was killed and made into all manner of savoury dishes. "Did you see what happened to Munika, dear Brother?" asked Big Redcoat. "Indeed I did," replied Little Redcoat. "It is better a hundred-fold to content ourselves with the food we get, even though it be only grass and straw, for it is a pledge that our lives will not be cut short."

(Munika Jataka, No. 30.)


ONCE upon a time a tribe of Monkeys made their home in the pleasure-garden of the King of Benares. On a certain holiday, when the drum was beaten to call the people together, the King's head gardener, hearing the drum, said to himself: "Even though it is a holiday, the garden must be watered. Accordingly, I will ask the Monkeys to water the garden for me, so that I can be off to enjoy myself, and keep holiday with the rest." So he called to the Monkeys and asked them to water the garden; and when the Monkeys had promised to water all the young trees faithfully, the gardener gave them the water-skins and the wooden watering-pot with which to perform their task. After the gardener had gone, the Monkeys took up the water-skins and the watering-pot and began to water the young trees. But the leader of the Monkeys stopped them: "Wait," said he, "we must be careful not to waste the water. Before you water them you must first pull up each tree and look at the size of the root. Then, you must give plenty of water to those which have long, deep roots, but only a little water to those that have short roots. For when this water is all gone, we shall have hard work to get any more."

"To be sure," said the other Monkeys, "that is what we must do." So they pulled up all the roots, just as their leader had told them to do,—and all the young trees died.

With every intention of doing good, the ignorant and foolish succeed only in doing harm.

(Aramadusaka Jataka, No. 51.)


ONCE upon a time there was a King of Benares who had four sons. One day these four sons sent for the King's charioteer and said to him:

"We want to see what a Judas Tree is like; show us one!"

"Very well, I will do so when I can," replied the charioteer. But he did not show the Judas Tree to all four of them at once. It was then early springtime, and he at once took the eldest son to the forest in his chariot, and showed him the Tree at a time when the buds were just sprouting from their stems. To the second son he showed the Tree when the leaves were full-grown and formed a mass of rich green; to the third he showed it at the time of blossoming, and to the fourth son when it was bearing fruit.

Some time after this had happened the four brothers chanced to be sitting together in company with others, when some one asked: "What sort of a Tree is the Judas Tree?" Then the first brother answered:

"Like a burnt stump!"

And the second cried, "Like a Banyan Tree!"

And the third cried, "Like a piece of red meat!"

And the fourth cried, "Like the Acacia!"

The four brothers were vexed at one another's answers, and ran to find their father. "My Lord," they asked him. "what sort of a Tree is the Judas Tree?"

"What sort of a Tree do you think it is?" the King asked in return. Accordingly they told him the answers that each one of them had given. Then the King said:

"It is evident from your answers that all four of you have seen the Judas Tree. Only, when the charioteer showed you the Tree you none of you asked him, 'what does this Tree look like at other seasons of the year?' You made no distinctions between seasons, and that is the source of your mistake."

(Kimsukopami Jataka, No. 248.)


ONCE upon a time two Otters whose names were Gambhiracari and Anutiracari, were standing on the bank of a river, on the lookout for fish. Presently Gambhiracari saw a large Rohita fish, and with one bound he dived into the water and caught it by the tail. It happened that this Rohita fish was very strong, and when it felt something grasping its tail, it dashed headlong down the river, dragging the Otter with it. He called out to the other Otter, "Friend Anutiracari, this great fish will be enough of a meal for us both, but it is so strong that it is dragging me away. Come and help me!"

The other Otter plunged in to his aid, and the two friends between them soon dragged out the Rohita fish, laid it on the bank of the river and killed it. But now they began to say to each other, "You divide the fish,"—"No, you divide it!"—"No, you!"— and soon they quarrelled and could not decide how the fish should be divided between them.

At that moment a Jackal, named Mayavi, happened to pass the spot. Upon seeing him, both the otters saluted him and said, "Oh, Lord of the grey grass-colour, this fish was caught by both of us together; but a dispute has arisen between us, because we cannot decide how to divide. Will you kindly make a fair division for us?"

After hearing their request, the Jackal replied, "I have decided many a difficult case and done it peacefully. I will settle yours with equal fairness." So saying, he cut off the head and tail of the Rohita fish, gave the head to Gambhiracari and the tail to Anutiracari, and seizing the whole body of the fish, he ran away with it before their eyes, remarking as he went, "The best belongs to me, in payment for my trouble as umpire!"

(Darbhapappha Jataka, No. 400.)


THERE was once a man who entered a field of Wheat and stole some of the ripe grain. The owner of the field had the thief arrested, and demanded why he had stolen the Wheat. The thief replied: "My Lord, I have not stolen any Wheat belonging to you. You planted only the Seeds, and what I took was the ripe Wheat. Why do you call me a thief?"

The two men went before a Judge and asked him: "Which of us is right and which is wrong?" The Judge answered: "The one who sowed the Seed is right, and he who did not sow the Seed is wrong. The Seed is the origin of the Wheat. How should he who did not sow have any right to the Wheat that grew from it?"

(From Les Avadanes. By Stanislas Julien.)