A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: fish

The Cranes And The Serpent – The enemy of an enemy is not always a friend!!!

This is a story from the Hitopadesha. Hitopadesha as the name suggests is Hitha+Upadesha in Sanskrit which means, benevolent advice. This set of stories named as Hitopadesha is said to have been written in Sanskrit, by a person by name Narayana Pandit in the 12th century for a King by name Dhavalachandra.

It is understood that Emperor Akbar was very much impressed by these stories and had them translated by none other than Abul Fazl. Like Panchatantra, most of the characters are animals, birds and reptiles in these stories also.

This story tells us that an enemy’s enemy need not always be a friend. Further, when any action is proposed to be taken it is always better to be farsighted instead of looking for quick fix solutions.

Long long ago on the banks of river Airavati (present day River Ravi), there lived a couple of cranes on a fig tree.
Though the river ensured them plenty of fish, the cranes were very unhappy. The reason for their unhappiness was a serpent that lived in a burrow at the bottom of the tree. The serpent ate up the eggs of the cranes when they were laid or ate up the chicks if the chicks were lucky enough to be born.

After a long time, unable to bear this misery, the cranes sought the advice of an elderly crane for a solution for their problem. The elderly crane thought for a while and told them, “Listen, there lives a mongoose in a hole near the bushes not far away from here” and he showed them the bushes. “The mongoose is a natural enemy of the snake. So bring lot of fish from the river and lay a trail from the bushes to your tree in whose burrow the snake lives. The mongoose will surely kill the snake”.

The crane couple was very happy at this advice and the very next day the male crane brought lot of fish and laid a trail from the bushes to the bottom of their tree. As expected, that evening, the mongoose smelt the fish and eating up the fish, came till the bottom of the tree where the snake lived. Fortunately for the cranes, the snake was just the slithering out for his evening outing. The mongoose noticed the snake and immediately pounced on him and there ensued a deadly fight. After a while, the snake was killed.

The cranes cried out in joy on seeing the snake dead. Immediately,seeing their parents make so much noise, the chicks panicked and also made lot of noise from the nest.

That was it! The mongoose looked up and the next moment, much to the horror of the cranes, climbed up the tree and in a split second, had carried away the two chicks crushing them by their necks. The cries of the chicks had attracted the mongoose and now it knew that there was a nest on the tree.

The action of the cranes had been too hasty for they had not even thought that the mongoose also ate small chicks and could climb trees.

So……. The enemy of an enemy is not always a friend and no action should be taken in haste!!!

The Cunning Stork and the Wise Crab

This is a story from the Panchatantra.

In olden days, there lived a stork in a large pond in a village. The stork was very happy as he had plenty of fish to hunt about and also other varieties like frogs and crabs.

As the years went by, the stork became very weak and old and was no longer as agile as he used to be and the young fishes were very fast that he could not hunt like before and even had to starve on some days. The stork was worried and he racked his brains until he found a cunning plan to provide himself ample food. So, the next day, he went near the bank of the pond and simply stood on one leg putting on a very sad expression. He did not even attempt to catch the fish which went near him to tease him. The fish and other creatures were surprised and slowly the oldest frog went near the stork bravely and asked him why he was so sad and forlorn.The stork pretended not to hear and after continuous pestering by the frog said with a deep sigh,” Hmmmm, I do not have words to tell about the grief which is going to befall all of us. In the next month, the king has ordered this pond to be closed with mud and made into a field and the king is going to deepen a pond which is already there in the other corner of this village. I am so sad at the fate that will meet you fellows. Hmmmm….”

The word quickly spread to all the fish and frogs and crabs that their fate was going to be sealed in a few days. All the innocent creatures believed the stork and the next day, the frog went again to the stork and said “Brother Stork, how can we save ourselves from death?” The stork pretended to think for a long time. He hummed and hawed and finally said “I know the way to the other pond I told you about. If you want I can carry you in my beak in batches and leave you in the other pond. But I need rest in between as I am very old. I can carry you fellows every alternate day if it is Ok for you. ” The frog and fishes and crabs were relieved. How nice of the stork to help them like this in time of crisis. They readily agreed for this and every other day the stork would carry four or five fishes in his beak and leave the pond. When he came back for another batch he would say how the fish were so… happy in the new pond. What actually was happening was that the stork was carrying the fish to a rock and eating them up happily. This went on for some time and one day the big wise crab felt that it was his turn and so the stork also felt that  he wanted to eat crab meat for a change. He decided that he would eat the crab alone that day as he was big and fat and therefore told the crab to clutch to his neck with his claws. The crab did so and when they were half way through, the crab asked the stork on the whereabouts of the new pond. To his surprise the Stork laughed aloud and said ” New Pond?? What rubbish? No Pond, only dinner for me. See the rock down there. That is my dining table Ha ha Ha ha haa!!” The crab was shocked . What he saw on the rock were the bones of all the fishes the stork had carried all those days. The crab could see his fate and quickly he thought and what did he do? He tightened his clutch on the stork’s neck till the stork fell down dead. The crab traced his way back slowly to the pond and told the fishes and frogs of his adventure. They felt sorry for their friend fishes who were dead but nevertheless happy that they could live without a worry in the same pond.

They all lived happily ever after.

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