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

Tag: lion

The Talking Cave

This is again, a story from the Panchatantra. This is one of the stories told by the character Rakthaksha to his friends in the story Crows and owls.

Long long ago in the forests of Central India there lived a lion by name Kharanakara. He was very old and lately had not been able to hunt swiftly due to his old age and therefore remained hungry often. One day, as usual, he did not get any prey and he was angrily prowling about in the forests when he saw a cave.

“Ha, there is a cave. There should certainly be some animal in it. I shall go in and kill and eat the animal” Kharanakara thought to himself as he went into the cave.

Alas! There was no animal inside. It disappointed Kharanakara that there was no prey inside. However, he said to himself, “This cave must be the resting place of some animal and that animal will certainly come back at sunset. So, I shall wait here and kill it when it comes!” So thinking, he went to a dark corner and sat there waiting for the owner of the cave to return.

The cave was actually being occupied by a jackal by name Dadhipuchcha. Dadipuchcha had gone out in the day time and usually returned during sunset. That day also he was returning home by sunset when he suddenly noticed the pug marks of a lion leading to his cave. “Wait wait! What are these marks? Surely they are the marks made by the huge paws of a lion” he muttered to himself and walked towards the cave. Suddenly, he noticed that the marks were leading into the cave and no marks were coming out of the cave. He realised then, that the lion should be waiting inside and that he would be minced to pieces once he went in. He was in a fix and did not know what to do.

Suddenly, a brilliant idea struck him. He called out to the cave in a loud voice. “Hello Cave! Hope your day was fine. Can I come in please?”

Kharanakara who was inside was hearing the voice of Dadhipuchcha and was puzzled. “Strange! How can a cave talk?” he thought to himself.

Dadhipuchcha called out again, “Are you angry with me, cave? Why are you not replying to me?”

Kharanakara now started believing that the cave would answer. He waited. Dadhipuchcha again called out “O Cave! Do you not remember our agreement made on the day I moved in? Did I not tell you that the day you did not talk to me, I will move to another cave. Every day you have been answering me endearingly. What happened today my dear cave? Okay, if you will not answer now also, I will go away in search of another cave, Bye bye”

Kharanakara believed earnestly that the cave was not answering because he was inside and he being the King of the forest, the cave was also naturally frightened. Unwilling to let off his prey, Kharanakara decided to answer on behalf of the cave. “Come in dear!” he said in the sweetest voice he could put on. “Come in. I am waiting for you! How can I be angry with such a sweet being like you? Come in fast!”

The moment Dadhipuchcha heard the voice, his fears were confirmed that the lion was indeed inside waiting for him to go in and get killed. He took a last look at the cave and ran away as fast as he could and thus saved himself.

Therefore, one who anticipates a danger and acts to avert it survives and one who does not comes to grief.

 

Blind Luck

This is a folk tale from the North of India.

Long long ago, there lived an old man near the city of Varanasi. His wife had died young and he had two sons. The elder one, Sonu, was blind at birth and the younger one Monu was a happy go lucky fellow hardly caring to educate himself or do any work.  Sonu, though blind had been bestowed with a rare power and that was to understand the language of the birds and animals. He would listen to their language and come to know of the happenings around him.

The old man had some wealth and so they were living peacefully. However, the man fell ill after some time and was lying in his death bed.

He called both his sons near him and said to Monu, “Monu, please do not leave the side of your elder brother ever. Even if you have to beg and eat, please take your brother with you and share the food. Please promise me this…” Monu kept his palm on his father’s palm and promised and the old man fell dead. After the rituals for the man had been performed, both the brothers sustained on the little wealth that had been saved by their father. After some time, the wealth was over and Monu started selling the assets one by one and finally sold the house also and spent the money.

Finally, they had to resort to begging. As his father had told him, he did not leave his blind brother and took him along wherever he went. The people of the city pitied the brothers in the beginning but slowly started to think that Monu being a healthy fellow could go for a job but had resorted to begging and they refused to give them food. Monu started feeling that his brother was a burden as he could not find food for himself and kept on thinking on why he should stick to the promise made by him to his father. So, one day, he decided that he would leave his blind brother in the forest. He told his brother that they were going for a walk and took him deep inside the forest and told him to stay there till he brought him fruits. He also bound one hand of his brother to a tree saying that since it was a new place, it would be difficult to locate him when he came back with fruits, if he went astray.

Sonu, being a simpleton, believed in what his brother said and waited under the tree, his one hand bound to the trunk of the tree. He kept on expecting his brother to come and he was feeling very hungry. Time passed but there was no sign of Monu. Slowly, it dawned on Sonu that his brother had betrayed him. He could sense that it was nearing evening. He could hear the shrill calls of the birds returning to their nests and could also hear the far off growls of the wild animals.

As he thought of his fate in the dark unknown forest, he was terrified. Further, he could not even run away because his hand was bound to the tree. After a few moments, he remembered that he had a small knife in his cummerbund. With the free hand, he pulled out the knife and cut off the ropes. Suddenly, he could hear the growls of the animals nearer and in sheer desperation, climbed up the tree to a safe height and sat on a branch.

As the sun set, many animals converged under the tree on which he was sitting. Amongst them were a lion, a cheetah and a bear. Though Sonu could not see them, being able to understand the language of the animals and birds, it was interesting for him to hear their conversation. Soon it was pitch dark.

“Hey cheetah!” said the lion, “Tell us some new secret you know!”

“Hmmm…… Well, do you know that this very tree under which we are standing is a magical tree?”

Sonu now pricked up his ears as the conversation continued.

The cheetah continued, “Do any one of you know that the pulp from the bark of this tree, if put into the eyes, can cure a blind man?” “Oh, is it?” asked the lion. Sonu, astonished at what he had heard just then, scratched the bark of the branch on which he was sitting with the knife he had and found that a pulpy substance oozed out. He applied the substance in his eyes and lo and behold! He could see even in the pitch dark of the night. He looked down to see a cheetah, a bear, a lion and various other animals and was amazed at his newfound sense.

The bear now spoke, “Hey, I know a secret too!” “What?” asked the others. “Did you know that the princess of this kingdom is always ill? And nobody knows why. But I know…” The animals looked amused as the bear continued. “There is a small black cat curled up underneath the princess’s bed and not even the princess or her maids or security guards know about it. The cat carries the evil spell of a witch. If the cat is removed from underneath her bed, the princess will be okay immediately. But the poor king not knowing this is asking doctors from all over the country to treat her…Ha ha ha…., now Lion, you tell us the secret you know”. Sonu listened with awe.

The Lion gave a growl and started his secret. “Hey buddies, do you know, there is a village by name Soonapur at the end of this forest and true to its name, the village has become very scarcely populated due to a strange happening there” Sonu and the animals listened with great interest. The lion continued, lowering his voice. Sonu had to strain to listen to what the lion was saying. “All the children in Soonapur die as soon as they are born and all the elders in the city are suffering from a strange illness for the past two months. Their spinal cords have become twisted all of a sudden and they are becoming hunchbacks. None of them know why this is happening and they are at a loss to know what to do to stop this happening.” The lion stopped and all the animals stared at him, expecting him to continue. The Lion continued, “There is an old Peepul tree near an abandoned temple in the village and there lives a black cobra in a hole in the tree. If anyone feeds milk to the cobra in a black pot early exactly at mid day, it will drink it and leave the tree. Then the spell of the village will be lifted”

Sonu had listened with total concentration and was extremely excited. Soon the voices were lowered and the animals slept under the tree. At day break, the animals got up and went their ways. Sonu enjoyed the brightness of the light which he was seeing for the first time in his life. He savoured the beauty of the forest, its trees, waterholes and all and slowly walked in some direction. Luckily he spotted the village Soonapur soon. He was surprised that what the lion had said was true. He enquired with the people about the tragedy and was pained to hear their story. He consoled them and promised that he would put an end to their tragedy by that evening. He got a black pot from one of the villagers and some milk and went in search of the abandoned temple. He found the tree and the hole before midday and placed the pot with milk in front and prayed with folded hands. After a while, a black cobra slid down from the hole and drank the milk and glided into the thick vegetation swiftly.

The next minute the people of Soonapur felt a tingle in their spines and were surprised to find their backs becoming straight. Sonu was returning from the temple, when all the people rushed out and showered him with lot of money and gifts. Sonu told them to wait until he went on another mission and promised that he would be back soon.

He walked on and on and by the night, reached the capital city. Though it was very late, he reached the palace and asked for an audience with the king. The gatekeepers refused but seeing his insistence, they went and reported the matter to the king. The king called and asked Sonu about his mission and Sonu claimed that he could cure the illness of the Princess. The King was furious as he thought Sonu was a joker and said, “Look here, I have tried the services of the best doctors in this country and it has been of no avail. If you have come here to play any kind of joke, beware! This sword of mine is very sharp and can chop your head in a second”. Sonu was least flustered by the king’s words. “Your Highness, said he, I am confident that your daughter will be up by tomorrow noon, and when I cure her, will you give what I want?

“Yes” said the king totally sure that the boy would be the prey to his sword the next day.

The next day, Sonu went to the chamber where the princess lay. The chamber was the highest room in the king’s fort and out of the window in the chamber; one could see the deep river gushing with fury miles and miles below. He asked all the security men and maids to leave and they all obeyed as it was the king’s order that Sonu should be given what he wanted, to cure the princess. Sonu went in and closed the doors. He opened the window and peered underneath the bed of the princess. The princess was in deep sleep. There was a tiny black cat curled up under the bed. In a moment, he picked it and flung it down into the river through the window.

After a while, the princess jumped up from bed. “Why was I sleeping so long? I am hungry” she said as Sonu opened the door to the curious onlookers which included the king. The princess ran up to the king and hugged him. “Papa, why did I sleep so long?” she asked in her sweet voice. The king saw that she was perfectly okay and was overwhelmed with joy. Even without Sonu asking for it, he offered the princess hand in wedding to him and overnight Sonu became a Prince, the son in law of the king.

He spent happy days and went back to Soonapur and met the people, who were very happy and showered him with gifts. As he was going back to the palace, he saw a beggar in tattered robes and the beggar was sobbing. Sonu recognised that it was Monu and went up to him and talked to him. Monu was extremely surprised at the blind luck which had befallen his brother. He was ashamed when Sonu was still affectionate to him even as he had ditched him in the jungle. He asked for forgiveness and Sonu, a good person he was forgave him readily and gave him money to start a new business and Monu turned a new leaf and they all lived happily ever after.

 

The Blue Jackal

This is a story from the Panchatantra.

Long ago, there lived in the jungles of central India, a jackal by name Chandaraka. One day, Chandaraka did not get any prey in the jungle. Hunger drove him to the outskirts of the jungle and he entered the town.

Being new to the town, he was wandering aimlessly in search of some food, when a pack of dogs spotted him. They had not seen a jackal and so started chasing him. He ran and ran all over the town panting for breath and finally managed to enter the compound of a dyer. The dyer had kept a vat of indigo dye for his next batch of clothes and Chandaraka, in his hurry, tripped and fell over into the vat.

Startled and shaken to the core, Chandaraka managed to get out of the vat spluttering and spitting the blue dye. The dogs that had come chasing him saw this dreadful figure in blue and started running fast with their tails between their legs. “What is this? Why are the dogs running away from me?” thought Chandaraka to himself.

He looked at himself. He was totally blue from head to tail! He was ashamed and did not know what to do next. Slinking by the bushes, he slowly went back into the jungle. Another shock awaited him there. All the big animals like the lion, tiger and elephant stared at him at awe and started running away from him.

Just then Chandaraka got an excellent idea.

He called out to the animals, “Hey lion, tiger, elephant and all others! Here, I have come from the heavens to rule over you! Do not be afraid, I am your king”. The animals cautiously and curiously looked at him as he continued, “I am Kakadruma, your guardian and king, sent by the heavenly beings. I will take care of all of you as long as you all serve me faithfully”

The animals were confused and decided to submit themselves to this mysterious blue creature. Kakadruma said in a stern voice, “The lion will be my bodyguard, the tiger will be my Prime Minister and the elephant will be my door keeper! But all the jackals of this forest are banished from this moment. All jackals should get out of the jungle by tomorrow or all of you will earn my wrath!”

He was banishing the jackals as he feared they would find him out. Once the jackals were gone, it was totally a royal treatment for Chandaraka aka Kakadruma. The lion brought him food everyday and after he had his fill, he distributed the rest to the others. The elephant accompanied him, everywhere he went, clearing the way for him and he really enjoyed life.

As they say, ‘All Good Things Come to an End’, one fine day, a new pack of jackals came into this forest from the neighbouring forest. They were blissfully unaware of the ‘King’ and his orders and had had a good meal and while passing the King’s resting place, were howling away with joy.

Our ‘King’, who had, all these days controlled his instinct, could control it no more. He started to howl away in a high pitch and that was it! The giveaway startled all the animals as they realised how they had been fooled into believing that this blue creature was from the Heavens whereas he was no more than a jackal. The next minute, all of them pounced on him and that was the end of Chandaraka.

Morals:

  • You can never hide your true colours for long.
  • Truth always comes out in the end.

Karataka and Damanaka

This story is one from the Panchatantra which appears in the chapter “Loss of friends” or “Mitra Bheda” as it was called in Sanskrit. There is a lot for our politicians in particular to learn from this story which is why maybe Vishnu Sharman who taught three princes worldly wisdom told this story.

Once there was a merchant by name Vardhman, who was in the habit of taking his wares to the nearby city for selling the same.  He used to take a route through the forest. On one of his usual trips, one of the bulls of his cart by name Sanjeevaka injured his fore leg very badly  and could walk no further. The  heartless merchant unyoked the bull and converted his cart into a one bullock cart and proceeded on his way, leaving poor Sanjeevaka  to fend for himself in the treacherous  forest.

Sanjeevaka was very sad but he had enough fresh fodder around, something which was not available in the city or even villages and so he ate and drank to his content and was free of the burden of work and his leg healed by itself in a few days. He was now a free bird and he started enjoying the forest life in fact!

Now, there was a lion by name Pingalaka who was living in a den near the place where Sanjeevaka was living. Pingalaka had two jackals by names Karataka and Damanaka who were once his ministers. He had dismissed them as they had tried to cheat him earlier. But they were desperate to get back their posts as they could get free meat every day when the  Pingalaka hunted.

One day, Pingalaka  went to the lake nearby to drink water. Just as he bent down to take a sip, he heard a loud noise ” Hrrrmph!”. It startled him. He was at a loss to find out what the noise was. Filled with fear and keeping his tail between his legs  he ran back to his den. Unfortunately for him, Damanaka was around and saw the “King of the jungle” running like a coward. “Come on Karataka”, he said to his brother, “See the King , running like a coward? Come let us find out what frightened him!” he said with a mean grin. Karataka, was on the other hand not much interested in being nosey and advised Damanaka against it. But Damanaka persisted and went to Pingalaka and asked him about the incident.

Pingalaka was hugely embarrassed. Here was a jackal who saw him run away, Chee Chee! He did not know what to say and finally told him what happened. He felt ashamed of himself. Damanaka was smiling to himself. Now that he knew what happened, he could strike a deal favourable for himself!!

He thought for a while and addressed Pingalaka, “Oh Lord of the jungle, I am at your service ever. I shall find out who made the terrifying noise and bring him to you as your servant!” Saying thus , he went in the direction from where the noise came.

He wandered for sometime and shortly he saw Sanjeevaka and knew that it was Sanjeevaka’s noise that the Lion had heard. He chuckled to himself. “After all, it is a bull”, he thought, “Our King is afraid of a mere bull!!!”. So thinking he approached Sanjeevaka and enquired all about him and how he happened to be roaming about in the forest. When Sanjeevaka told him his story, Damanaka said in a whispering voice ” Good that you have not been seen by our King Pingalaka! If his eyes light on you, consider yourself as dead!”. The bull was frightened and asked Damanaka what should be done.

Damanaka said, “Do not worry. I shall take you to our King tomorrow. I shall speak to him today and see that you are not hurt in any manner. Bye bye” and went his way. He straightaway went to Pingalaka, who was anxiously waiting to know what happened. Damanaka saw the king and said” My Lord, the noise you heard yesterday was made by a huge bull. He is so strong and looks very dangerous. For your sake, I risked my life and went and met him. It seems he is the vehicle of Lord Shiva! But do you think I would have let you down? Huh, I told him that you are the King of the jungle and the vehicle of Goddess Durga. He has agreed to be your servant and will come and see you tomorrow.”

Pingalaka was relieved and was quite happy that Damanaka had helped him. The next day, Sanjeevaka came to see Pingalaka. Pingalaka received him with caution and Sanjeevaka was equally cautious about the lion. But the mutual respect and fear slowly turned into good friendship and they both started spending lot of time together much to the ire of the jackals. Pingalaka was much inspired by Sanjeevaka’s goodness and he almost became very saintly. He just hunted small animals enough for himself and only when he was really hungry.

Karataka and Damanaka  were thoroughly disappointed by this turn of events. They were hoping to get back their ministerial posts and have free meal every day but contrary to their expectation, the events happening were totally opposite. Both of them were quite worried about their future. They knew that as long as Sanjeevaka was around, things would never change. Earlier, they had hoped that Pingalaka would spend much of his time with Sanjeevaka and they could manage the affairs of the kingdom, including the sharing of the meat hunted by Pingalaka. But here was Pingalaka, who had even stopped hunting!

Karataka said, “Damanaka, I think we have to do something about this. We cannot let this go on much longer.” Then, he whispered something into Damanaka’s ears and Damanaka went to the place where Sanjeevaka was living. Karataka, in the meanwhile, went to see the lion. He noticed that Pingalaka was in a good mood and started his talk. “O Lord, King of the Jungle, I, the humble Karataka has come to greet you. I am deeply pained to see your health deteriorating. You have become so thin, while your friend Sanjeevaka is growing stronger day by day”. Pinagalaka was quick to tell Karataka not to raise the topic of his friendship with Sanjeevaka. “He is an extremely honest and faithful bull”, he said.

Karataka immediately said “Oh my Lord, I am not speaking anything ill on him. I am just warning you that your friend seems to be becoming stronger feeding on the lush grass growing in your territory and I …. feel that he wants to vanquish you and become the King. Please do not get angry O King. It was just in good intention I told you…. Please be careful O Lord, especially when you see the bull bending his head showing his horns…. because that means a bull is going to attack…” Saying thus, he slunk away. The seed of suspicion was sown and that was enough . Pingalaka’s mind was poisoned and his thoughts kept coming back on the possible attack by Sanjeevaka.

By this time Damanaka had gone and met Sanjeevaka and said, “Sanjeevaka, though you have chosen to not be friends with us, I have come to tell you something for your own good.” He paused while Sanjeevaka looked puzzled and then continued, “The King has become terribly weak these days and not able to hunt as he used to earlier… I think he is thinking of killing you, my dear friend, as you are the easiest target,so be very careful!” Sanjeevaka was thoroughly shocked while Damanaka continued, “When you go to meet Pingalaka next, please be wary and always be ready to strike. Show your horns so that Pingalaka does not dare  to attack you”. Damanaka also left the scene having done his role. Sanjeevaka was thoroughly confused and now started to doubt Pingalaka.

The next day when he went to see Pingalaka, he remembered Damanaka’s words. Pingalaka was sitting on a cliff, his mind full of doubts about Sanjeevaka’s intention. He was staring angrily at Sanjeevaka from the cliff when Sanjeevaka also, full of misgivings in his mind, bent his head a little, showing his horns. Pingalaka did not waste a moment. From the cliff, he pounced on Sanjeevaka and caught his neck and in a few moments Sanjeevaka was dead. Alas, it was a hasty decision, but that was what Karataka and Damanaka had wanted to happen.

It is said that in later days Pingalaka repented for his action, but it was too late…

Always be friendly with your neighbours

Long long ago in the forest of Swetharanya, there lived a two hawks. They had recently migrated to this forest from another forest as  humans had begun to inhabit that forest in which they lived earlier. Here, they had built their nest on a tall tree by the side of the river Swetha Pushkarini. There were a couple of eggs in their nest which were about to hatch any time.

The hawks were very happy in the new forest which was free of humans and in due course their eggs hatched into cute little chicks.

From the day they had come into Swetharanya, Shyeni, the female hawk was insisting that they should find out who their neighbours were and be friendly with them. The male hawk Shyena , on the other hand was not so particular and was also lazy and did not bother. However , due to the persistence of Shyeni, he finally went to seek his neighbours. In a burrow in another tree lived a Kingfisher by name Suchitraka. He was very happy when Shyena met him and they both became good friends.

Now, there was a lion by name Jatila in a cave near the river. Shyena met the lion and introduced himself and became good friends with him too. Finally he found that there was this tortoise by name Dadru living in a bush just below the tree where he had his nest. And so, because of the hawks’ efforts, Suchitraka, Jatila and Dadru became friends with Shyeni and Shyena.

They used to meet everyday and exchange courtesies. Life was going on smoothly until one day……

It was a new moon night and the forest was pitch dark. It posed no problem for the hawks and their friends as they could see well in the nights also. It was just after midnight, when Shyeni thought she heard some rustling near the tree. She peered out of the nest and was shocked to see two human figures groping their way through the dark. Shyeni and Shyena could fly away but what about their chicks? They were yet to grow wings fully and were very vulnerable. Shyeni was worried.

When the men came near the clearing under the tree, they stopped. “Hmm.. it seems we have lost our way.. All because of you “, grunted one fellow who was giant like. “Don’t blame me for everything . It was You who wanted to come with me?” retorted the other who was of a smaller built. “Ok Ok” said the bigger man, “I am feeling hungry. Get me something to eat. I was a fool to come fishing with you in the river. We didn’t catch even one fish and you let the net get washed away by the current. Now, go and get some food to eat.. Fast!” he ordered.

By now Shyena was also awake and was wondering what to do if the chicks woke up and started making noise. The very next moment, what he dreaded happened. The chicks were disturbed by the sound of the men and started making screeching noises. The men were first frightened but then knew that it was the sound of young birds. “Aha.. ” said the bigger fellow, “I can see the nest on the top most branch. Now, you fool, go and collect some twigs and we shall make a fire and eat roasted chicks…” he ordered the smaller fellow. The smaller fellow got up mumbling something and ambled into the bushes peering in the dark for twigs and slowly brought some. “Faster, you fool, now rub some stones and make fire, fast.. and go and get some more twigs….” said the bigger fellow and the other one obeyed him.

Soon, a fire had started to blaze and the bigger fellow now tried to climb up the tall tree. Shyeni was panicking and told Shyena to go and call their friends. Shyena also, not knowing what to do went straight  to Suchitraka and called out to him . “Suchitraka, Suchitraka, my friend, Please come and help me!” he cried out, “My chicks are in danger!”. Suchitraka woke up with a start and flew out fast to see the blazing fire and the man trying to climb the tree. The tree had its branches high up and so the man was struggling to get a foothold and go up.

Suchitraka thought for a moment and like a flash of lightning dived into the nearby river, came out like an arrow from the quiver and went over the fire and flapped his wings hard. The water droplets fell on the fire and the fire made a fizzling sound. The man who was trying to climb the tree, turned around, but Suchitraka had vanished for another round of water spraying. He did this act again and again. The fire was now struggling to burn  due to the continuous spraying of water and  was almost extinguished and the enraged men saw the bird  and came running at Suchitraka waving a cloth.

Suchitraka was terribly tired of this exercise and flew into his burrow and dropped down due to exertion. The bigger man then said, “Don’t worry, I shall climb the tree and kill the chicks and we can go home and have a good breakfast” and continued his efforts to climb the tree.

Now Shyena was worried. What could he do next? In the meanwhile, Dadru, hearing the commotion had come out of the bushes. In a flash he understood what was going on. He pulled himself up and walked as fast as he could near the smaller man and the man almost tripped on Dadru in the dark. But he found that it was a tortoise and shouted to his comrade , “Hey , don’t take the trouble of getting the chicks. Here is a tortoise. It’s a long time since we had tortoise meat. Lets’s take him home. Come on”

The bigger man sneered at him and said “You Budhdhoo, how do you propose to take a tortoise home? Lead it like a doggie Huh? We do not have any weapons . Go , Go and get some creepers from over there and we shall make a rope to tie and carry him    . Go fast,  you dud!, else the tortoise will go away !” The smaller man retorted with a grunt and went to bring some creepers. Dadru consciously moved very very slowly and the men thought they could catch it. The man returned with many creepers and they started making a rope.

Shyena and Shyeni were very worried now. They could not afford to lose Dadru for the sake of their chicks. Shyeni said to Shyena , “Go , go quickly and call Jatila!!” Shyena flew fast and called Jatila from his den. Jatila sprang up and came running . The men had caught Dadru and were about to tie him up when from their back they hear a roar “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….”  Terrified, they turned around and to their  horror found a big huge lion staring at them menacingly as he  roared again. The roar was deafening and the next moment, the men forgot Dadru, the chicks and all and started running for their lives.

They ran out of the forest never to be seen again. And the hawks thanked the three friends for saving them and their friendship bonds were further strengthened.

Shyena looked at Shyeni thankfully as it was at her insistence that he became friendly with their neighbours.

Moral: Always maintain a good relationship with your neighbours.

The lion, monkey, snake and the merchant

Once upon a time, in an ancient city of India, lived a simpleton by name ‘Dharmabuddhi’. He was a very kind-hearted soul who helped anybody in need be it man or animal, expecting nothing in return. He was not a very rich person and lived a very frugal life.

One day, Dharmabuddhi was going to visit his friend in the next village. As he was passing by an open well in the nearby woods, he heard sounds of a lion grunting, a monkey screeching, a snake hissing and a man yelling for help. He peered into the well and saw all of them in distress. True to his nature, He pulled a long log of wood and pushed it into the well. The animals climbed out one by one but the man was not able to climb out without Dharmabuddhi’s help. When Dharmabuddhi tried to pull out the man, all the animals told Dharmabuddhi not to help the man get out. But Dharmabuddhi ignored them and rescued the man. What a mistake that was. All of them thanked Dharmabuddhi profusely and asked him to call them in times of distress. The lion told Dharmabuddhi to visit him in the deep jungle while the snake told Dharmabuddhi to think of him if Dharmabuddhi wanted help. The monkey told him to visit the mango tree which was located on the outskirts of the jungle and the merchant who so happened to be a gold merchant told Dharmabuddhi to visit him in the next town after passing the deep jungle. All of them  returned to their respective homes.

One day, Dharmabuddhi heard from one of his friends that there were better job opportunities in the neighbouring town. So, he set off to the neighbouring town in search of a job. He had to pass through the forest to get to the town. After walking for a while, Dharmabuddhi got tired and sat down under a tree to rest. The tree happened to be in a lion’s territory.

Suddenly there was a deafening roar and Dharmabuddhi sat rooted to the ground. He slowly turned around and what did he see? He saw a lion sitting right behind him. To his surprise, the lion did not attack him. The lion looked familiar to Dharmabuddhi. Aha! This was the lion that Dharmabuddhi saved!! The lion had recognized Dharmabuddhi instantly. It allowed Dharmabuddhi to hug him and it dropped a gold  necklace which it was having in its mouth at Dharmabuddhi’s feet.  Dharmabuddhi picked the glittering gold necklace up, thanked the lion and continued his journey. He thought he would sell this necklace to the gold merchant who he had rescued earlier and who was living there.

He had walked for a while when suddenly a gang of robbers pounced on him and took away his only radiant hope of feeding his family, the gold necklace. Helpless Dharmabuddhi sat under a mango tree thinking of what he would do now. Luck had favoured him so much in the last few minutes and now  his hopes were just washed away by the awful robbers. The monkey whom Dharmabuddhi had saved lived on this very tree. The monkey had witnessed what happened to  Dharmabuddhi and was determined to help him. He gathered some juicy mangoes and threw it near Dharmabuddhi. Surprised Dharmabuddhi looked up and saw the monkey smiling at him. Dharmabuddhi immediately recognized his old friend and asked him to also have some of the juicy mangoes. The monkey, who didn’t want to disappoint Dharmabuddhi climbed down and had two of the juicy mangoes he had given him. Sleepy after eating these mangoes, Dharmabuddhi  laid down and slept. The monkey, waiting for this moment jumped from tree to tree to find  robbers. Soon he found the robbers who so happened to be also sleeping under a tree. The monkey slowly and stealthily climbed down from the tree and found the  necklace. He grabbed it and  returned to his mango tree to find Dharmabuddhi. Dharmabuddhi had just woken up from his sleep and was searching for the monkey to bid him goodbye. The monkey landed near Dharmabuddhi and gave him the  necklace. Overjoyed by his friends’ faithfulness, he hugged the monkey and set off for the  town yet again.

After he reached the next town, he went in search of the merchant. Finally, Dharmabuddhi found the  merchant. The merchant welcomed Dharmabuddhi to his house and asked what Dharmabuddhi’s problem was. Dharmabuddhi told the merchant that had a gold necklace to be sold and also told him that the lion gave him the necklace. The wicked merchant recognized that this necklace belonged to the prince of this town who was killed while he was hunting. The merchant very well knew that Dharmabuddhi would not have committed this crime but he thought of the reward the king would give him of finding the “murderer”. He told Dharmabuddhi to stay at his house for the night as Dharmabuddhi would be ‘tired’ and the naive Dharmabuddhi agreed.

The merchant woke up early next morning and set off to the palace to inform the king that he had found the ‘murderer’. The depressed king, without holding any trial, put Dharmabuddhi in prison. Desolate Dharmabuddhi now realized that he should have listened to his friends’ advice and not helped the merchant. He realized that after all he had one more friend left, the snake. He thought desperately of the snake and suddenly he heard a hiss from the tiny window of the prison. Immediately, he saw a slim green snake slither into the prison cell from the window. Dharmabuddhi could not believe his eyes. This snake was the snake he had saved! The snake now spoke. “hisssssssss… dear Dharmabuddhi hissssssss why did you believe the cunning merchant………… you can’t do anything about it now………………. but i can………… I have brought  a herb which can cure my venomousssssssss ssssssssnake bite………… I will now bite the queen and nobody can sssssssssave her…………. except you……………. pour this herb juice in her mouth…….and she will be sssssssaved…………….the king will be overjoyed…….and release you……….good luck……………. ” The snake dropped a herb in front of Dharmabuddhi and  slithered out of the window. Soon it entered the  queen’s chamber and bit her. The queen instantly fell unconsious. The king now even more depressed announced that he would grant anyone anything they wish if they saved the queen. He summoned doctors from distant towns and villages but nobody could help.

Dharmabuddhi also heard of the announcement of the king and he seized the chance. He asked the king to allow him to cure the queen. The frantic king allowed Dharmabuddhi to cure the queen. As the snake had said, Dharmabuddhi crushed this herb and poured it into the queen’s mouth. The queen immediately regained consciousness. The  king, overjoyed by Dharmabuddhi’s help asked him what he wanted. Dharmabuddhi immediately narrated his story of how he got the necklace and how he was cheated by the merchant. The king got very angry at the merchant and wanted to punish him.  Dharmabuddhi told the king not to. Dharmabuddhi said that it would be bad if we take revenge on people who do bad to us. Dharmabuddhi also told the king about his shortage of money. The king instantly gave Dharmabuddhi a bag of gold coins and told Dharmabuddhi to start a business in this very town.

Dharmabuddhi, thrilled by this gesture of the king shifted to this town with his family and lived happily ever after thanking his friends and visiting them whenever he could.

 

P.S: This story has been written by my daughter who has listened to this story many times in her childhood. I have only edited it.

The Foolish Camel

Once upon a time, in a town in central India, there was a rich merchant. Once, he found that he had acquired lot of camels and therefore wanted to sell some of them. The animal market was in a village at a distance from the town an one had to pass through a thick jungle to reach the village. The merchant started with his retinue of about four or five men and five camels which he wanted to sell.

The journey through the jungle was about four to five hours and on the way, one of the camels hit its foreleg on a boulder very badly. It could not walk. It sat on the grass. The merchant tried to make it get up but of no avail. It was getting dark and the merchant decided to leave the camel there as he could not risk his own life and therefore left the camel to fend for itself and went away with his team.

The poor camel was frightened of the dark but nevertheless had enough grass to feed on and also found some other plants which were actually medicinal plants. After eating the plants for two days, the camel to its surprise, found that his leg had healed. But he did not know where to go and started roaming aimlessly.

In the same jungle, there lived a jackal-crow duo who were both equally cunning and depended on an lion for their food. They used to flatter the lion all day and feed on the remains of the lion’s hunt. But slowly, the lion became weak with age and could not hunt as swiftly as he did earlier. The jackal-crow duo were wondering about the fate of their food at this rate. Just then, they sighted the camel and thought that it could be of some use to them. So they went and slowly befriended the camel with their sweet words and asked the camel to join their group.

The camel unwittingly joined the group as it was a town-bred camel and did not know the ways of the jungle. He also felt safe in their company as he knew that no other animal dare attack an animal in the company of a lion. Days passed and the lion was hunting prey once in 2 days and once in 3 days and sometimes only once a week. It was hard for the jackal and the crow to be without food for long periods. But the camel simply fed off the grass and was growing fatter by the day. He was happy that he had good friends and a carefree life.

It so happened that the lion could not hunt for the next 10 days. The jackal and crow were very hungry and did not know what to do. It was then that they plotted against the camel. With a plan in their mind, they called the camel along and went to see the lion. They talked to the lion about the dwindling food and their ‘concern’ about the lion’s health, which would deteriorate if there was no food.

Suddenly, the crow fell at the feet of the lion and said, “O King, I offer myself to thee. I pray that you eat this small body of mine and satisfy your hunger.” The jackal immediately followed. He pushed the crow aside with his paw and a disgusted look on his face. “What do you think you brat?!! Do you think the king can even satisfy his hunger for a day by eating your puny body??? Eat me, O king. I offer thee my flesh, bone and skin.” The lion was wondering as to what was happening. The camel too, thought that when both the jackal and crow were offering sacrifices, he should also do so to show his loyalty. Moreover, the lion would not eat his friends.

So he fell flat in front of the lion and said, “O king, you have given me asylum in this hostile jungle and what more is there to offer to you than my body?? How will your hunger be satiated by eating a skinny jackal? Therefore, please eat me, O king” and he closed his eyes. Little did he know that it would be the last time he would do so.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrraaaar.” There was a deafening roar and the next second, the camel’s neck had been torn apart. The lion and the cunning duo feasted on the camel till all that remained were the bones.

sdgbseth

 

Thus, the camel learnt the hard way that friends must always be chosen with care.

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