Site Map
Indian Fables
Section › 46 Set Search Previous Next

Reservations Contents  

  1. The Tortoise and the Geese
  2. The Pigeon and the Crow
  3. The Lion and the Crane
  4. He Could not Help Braying

The Tortoise and the Geese

A tortoise who lived in a tank, made friends with two geese who used to come and visit him there. They were happy for many years, but then there was a drought that lasted for months. The tanks and rivers started to dry up under the scorching sun. People and animals were starving.

The two geese decided to save themselves and fly to somewhere else. Then they figured out how to save their friend too, even though a tortoise cannot fly. The geese wanted to hold a stick in their beaks, and then the tortoise could hold the stick between his teeth. In this way the geese could fly him to a more fertile land while holding the two ends of the stick.

The geese flew off with the tortoise between them. They flew over hills, valleys, fields and plains, and a city. The people of the city saw them and clapped in wonderment too see two geese carrying a tortoise that way. But the shouting and clapping irritated the tortoise, so he opened his mouth to teach them not to shout and clap that much. But in so doing he lost his grip on the stick and fell down.

To be able to do a feat and really do it as long as it takes, all the way long, are two different things.

In doing something remarkable, one needs to keep one's focus intact.

It may not pay to censure anyone who really digs what you are doing.

Don't get too grumpy about what others are doing.

The Pigeon and the Crow

A pigeon lived in a nest-basket which a rich man's cook had hung up in the kitchen. A greedy crow, flying near, saw all sorts of delicate food lying about in the kitchen, and wanted it badly.

"How in the world can I get some?" thought he. At last he hit upon a plan. So when the pigeon went to search for food, the crow came to him.

"What do you want, crow? You and I don't feed on the same things."
      "Ah, but I like you! Let me be your chum, and let us feed together."

The pigeon agreed. The crow pretended to feed along with the pigeon, but ever so often be would turn back and eat a fat worm. When he had got a bellyful of them, he flied up and said:

"O, pigeon, how long your meal is! One ought to draw the line somewhere." Then they flew home.

The cook saw that his pigeon had brought a friend, and hung up another basket for him. A few days later much fish came to the rich man's kitchen. The crown wanted it so badly, groaning and making a great noise. Then said the pigeon to the crow:

"Come now, and get your breakfast!"

"I have indigestion!" said the crow.

"Nonsense. Crows never have indigestion," said the pigeon. "Don't behave in this way just for seeing some fish," said the understanding pigeon, and flew away.

The cook prepared all the dishes, and then stood at the kitchen door for a while.

"Now is my time!" thought the crow, and landed on a dish with some dainty food with a click. But the cook heard it and looked round. He caught the crow and plucked all the feathers out of his head and rubbed some hot spices all over the bird's body.

"That's for spoiling my master's dinner!" said he, and threw him into his basket. It hurt!

In time the pigeon came in and composed a verse,

"Who is this bird I see,
Lying where he has no right to be?
To this the crow answered:
I am nothing but a harried crow.
I could only go for food with glee,
For that I'm plucked, as you can see.
And the pigeon said: "Well, you'll come to grief another time too, because of something in your nature. Remember:
If people make a dish of meat,
It's not for little birds to eat."
Then the pigeon flew away, thinking, "I can't live with this creature any longer." And the crow lay groaning till he died.

The Lion and the Crane

When a lion was eating some meat, a bone stuck in his throat. The throat became swollen, he could not take food, and in consequence he suffered terribly. A crane that was perched on a tree looking for food, saw him suffering like that and asked,

"What is the matter?"

The lion told him.

"I could free you from that bone, but I don't dare to enter your mouth for fear you might eat me."

"Don't be afraid. I will not eat you; only save my life."

"Very well," said the crane, and made the lion lie down on his left side. But the crane thought to himself, "Who knows what this fellow will do?" and placed a small stick upright between the two lion jaws so that the lion could not close his mouth. Then the crane put his head inside the lion's mouth and struck one end of the bone with his beak. The bone dropped and fell out. As soon as he had made the bone fall, he got out of the lion's mouth, striking the stick with his beak so that it fell out, and then settled on a branch.

The lion got well, and one day was eating a buffalo he had killed. The crane, thinking 'I will speak with him," settled on a branch just over him, and said:

I have done a great service to you
To the best of my ability.
What return shall I get from you?
The lion answered:
As I feed on blood and always hunt for prey,
It is much that you are still alive today.
The crane slowly understood: "This lion does not much good. He is not doing as he would be done by either. There is no gratitude in him, and to serve him seems useless. His friendship is not won by the clearest good deed. Better softly withdraw from him." And then the crane flew away.

He Could not Help Braying

A hawker used to go from place to place with goods carried by a donkey. Now at each place he came to, when he took the pack down from the donkey's back, he used to clothe him in a lion's skin and turn him loose in the rice and barley fields. And when the watchmen in the fields saw the donkey, they dared not go near him, for they thought it was a lion.

One day the hawker stopped in a village he had not been to before; and while he was getting his own breakfast cooked, he dressed the donkey in the lion's skin and turned him loose in a barley-field. The watchmen in the field dared not go up to him, as expected, but then they went home and told of the animal in the middle of their fields. All the villagers came out with weapons in their hands; and blowing horns and beating drums they went near the field and shouted. The donkey brayed with terror.

Then a villager observed,

"This is not a lion roaring! Dressed in a lion's skin, it is a donkey!"

When the villagers knew the animal was a donkey, they beat him till his bones broke; carrying off the lion's skin, and went away. The hawker came to the spot and saw that his donkey had fallen into so bad a plight, and said,

"By braying he came to ruin."

Contents


Indian fables, Literature  

Indian fables, To top Section Set Next

Indian fables. USER'S GUIDE: [Link]
© 2003–2017, Tormod Kinnes, MPhil. [Email]  ᴥ  Disclaimer: [Link]