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Tag: axe

A Tale From The Panchatantra – The Foolish Weaver

In one of the villages of southern India, there lived a weaver by name Mandharaka. Mandharaka was not very rich as he had no helpers and had to weave cloth by himself and with limited resources, he could not earn much money.

One day, while he was weaving a cloth, the weaving frame suddenly broke. The frame was made of wood and in those days, one had to make the frame himself. So Mandharaka set out to the forest which was near the seashore at the outskirts of the village. He surveyed the trees, taking time to choose a sturdy one. Finally he got a strong tree which was the best amongst all.

As he raised his axe to start cutting the tree, he heard a voice, “Halt!” Surprised, he looked up to see who had ordered him to halt. High up on one of the branches, he saw a Yaksha, a celestial being, sitting in a relaxed manner. The Yaksha smiled at Mandharaka and said, “Do not cut this tree, my friend.  I am a Yaksha and this is my place of dwelling. And I love this tree as it is facing the sea and I get a lot of cool breeze. Choose some other tree!”

Mandharaka was surprised, but he told the Yaksha, “I need this tree only for making my weaving frame as this is the sturdiest tree around here. If I do not make a frame, I cannot weave and my family will starve to death”. The Yaksha thought for a while and said, “Will you stop cutting the tree if I give you a boon?”  Mandharaka was confused and said, “I need some time. Can I consult my friends and wife and decide on the boon? I shall come back tomorrow”. “Okay, as you wish”, said the Yaksha. “You may come here tomorrow and I shall give you a boon”.

Mandharaka, started walking back home, in a totally confused state of mind as he did not know what boon to ask the Yaksha. He met his barber friend near the outskirts of the village and told him what had happened. “I am in a fix as to what boon to ask!” said Mandharaka. “What is the confusion about? “asked his friend, “Ask the Yaksha to make you a King and you can live your whole life in luxury. I shall be your Minister. Come, let’s go back and ask the Yaksha”

“Wait, wait,” said Mandharaka, “I shall have to consult my wife also.”

“Your wife??, Do not mistake me my friend, but women are not to be relied upon for taking such important  decisions. Women  know to choose good silks and jewellery, but not something like a boon, which is very very rare. Have you not heard the saying that a whole kingdom  can be destroyed by a woman ? So, I advise you not to consult your wife but take the decision yourself or listen to me”  said the friend.

Mandharaka was even more confused and said, “Friend, whatever you say, I shall have to ask my wife. I shall come tomorrow” So saying, he headed home.

He told his wife what had happened and also the boon suggested by  his friend. “ Throw his idea to the winds” said the wife. “What intelligence will a barber have? Do not be foolish to ask for a Kingdom. Do you not know how Rama suffered, or the Pandavas suffered in exile? Ruling a kingdom  means a lot of foes and enmity . Do you want to spend your life waging wars against brothers and cousins instead of leading a peaceful life huh??”

Poor Mandharaka felt that his head would split into a thousand pieces. “ Okay, at least tell me what I should ask and I shall do so” said he.

“ Ask the Yaksha to give you one more head and another pair of arms” said the wife. “With one head and two hands you can weave enough for our daily needs, and with the other head and pair of hands, you can weave extra cloth for earning extra money  for our luxuries”.

Without thinking any further, Mandharaka went back to the Yaksha, the next morning and asked him the boon suggested by the wife.

The Yaksha had no problem granting the boon and the next second, Mandharaka  had two heads and four arms. The moment he neared the village, he was spotted by some urchins who shouted, “Monster, Monster…..” and in a minute, he was surrounded by people with sticks and axes beating him and in a few minutes he lay dead.

This is what happens to a person who has no wits of his own, or does not listen to his clever friends and acts without prudence.

The Trees And The Animals

This is a story from the Jataka Tales which shows how all living things are interdependent on each other for their sustenance and wellbeing.

Long, long ago in a forest in North India, a group of trees were having a discussion. They were disgusted about the carcasses left by the wild animals after eating their fill . The animals used to bring their prey and eat it under the shade of the trees and rest there.

The Sal Tree was very disgruntled. “These animals make the whole place stinking and it is so disgusting”, he said, “They have no regard for us!” “Yes, what you say is true”, murmured the Jamun tree, “The smell is unbearable especially during rains”. The Neem tree chipped in, “Yeah, since we do not object, the animals do not care. It is high time we did something”. The other trees swayed in agreement.

The Peepul tree who was the oldest among the lot said in a deep voice, “Hey Young fellows, learn to adjust in life. After all, we are all dependant on each other. We give them shade and they protect us….” Even before the Peepul completed, the Sal said, “Hmmph.. protect us is it? They only know how to dirty the place. I am not allowing this anymore huh!” The Peepul, as wise as it was, kept quiet for no advice given without asking is valued.

The next day, as soon as a leopard came and sat under the Sal Tree, the tree shook violently, as if possessed. The leopard was shocked out of his wits and ran away. Over the next few days, the Sal Tree and his friends behaved in a similar manner, shooing away all the wild animals. After a few days, no animal came near these trees. The Peepul Tree was watching with a sigh.

A few months later, the Sal Tree was very proud to have shooed away all the wild animals and was very happy that there was no stink anymore. The very next day, a group of men came in to the forest with their axes. The Sal was shocked when the men came and started deciding on which tree to cut first. “Oh no”, cried the Sal. “Why did these people come here? Who will save us?” The other trees around the Sal were also panicking, when the old Peepul spoke, “You shooed away our saviours. Had you a little patience at that time, you would not repent now. Now that there are no wild animals, more of us will be cut up soon.”

But before the Sal could reply, the axe fell on his neck…

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