The Brahmin and Three Crook - Panchatantra Stories

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In a certain town, there lived a Brahmin, known as Mitra Sharma. One day, in the mouth of September, a gentle breeze was blowing and the sky was overcast with, clouds. The Brahmin set out for another village, to visit a certain devotee, so that he could beg a goat for a sacrifice. When he arrived there, he said to his devotee, ‘My son, on the coming of 15th of this month, I want to perform a sacrifice, so please make me a present of some fat animal.’

His devotee agreed and gave him a fat goat, and he started the return journey.

On his way home, he was seen by three crooks, who were almost starving. They said to one another, ‘If we could only lay hands on this fat goat, we wouldn’t have to suffer from hunger. So, let’s play a trick on the Brahmin and make him part this goat.’

The first crook disguised himself, went ahead of the Brahmin by roadside and stood in his path.

When the Brahmin approached, he cried, Hey! Why are you behaving so ridiculously? Why are you carrying this profane dog on your shoulders?

The Brahmin got excited and cried, ‘Are you blind. You call this sacrificial goat a dog?’

The crook replied, ‘Please don’t get cross. Have it your own way and do as you please.

When the Brahmin had gone a little further, the second crook accosted him and said, ‘Hey Brahmin! Shame on you, shame! Even if this dead calf was very dear to you, you shouldn’t carry him.

The Brahmin replied in great anger, Are you blind that you call this living goat a dead calf?

The crook replied, ‘Please don’t get cross. My mistake, for talking to you! Have it your own way and do as you like.’

When the Brahmin had gone still a little further, the third crook appeared on the scene and said, ‘Hey Brahmin! It’s highly improper for you to carry a donkey on your shoulders. Drop him quickly, before anyone sees you!’

After all this, the Brahmin thought that he must really be carrying a goblin, which was changing shape all the while. Thinking so he threw him off on the ground and, ran home.

The three crooks caught hold of the goat, killed him and ate him up to their heart’s content. Therefore I say that a tricky person can defeat a strong enemy. Now, I shall unfold my plan as to how we can outwit and destroy the enemy. Listen carefully.”

“Please tell me,” said Meghavaran, “I shall follow your advice.”

“Well,” said Sthirajeevi, “pretend that I am your enemy. Curse me with cruel words, spatter me with blood and throw me at the foot of this tree, so that the enemy spies are misled into thinking that it is you who have reduced me to this condition. Then, fly with your entire family and court to Rshyamukam Mountain. There entrench yourself until I can inspire confidence in the enemy. I shall make a thorough investigation of their stronghold and afterward, we shall burn the owls during the daytime, for it’s then that they are blind and will be unable to escape. Now, don’t be afraid of me and put obstacles in my way.”

“Very well then,” replied the king. Sthirajeevi started a sham quarrel with Meghavaran. When the crow king’s followers heard Sthirajeevi’s abusive language, they were ready to kill him, but Meghavaran restrained them and said, “Away! I’ll take care of this enemy agent personally.”

Then he pounced upon Sthirajeevi and began to peck him with his beak. He smeared him with the blood of a dead animal and left him lying at the foot of the tree. Then he flew away with his court.

The wife of the owl king happened to be spying at that time.

She reported all this to her husband. “Your enemy is in a state of panic. He has flown off with his court.”

When the owl king heard this, he waited for sunset and then set out with his retinue and the rest of the owls to look for the crows and kill them.

“Hurry up!” he cried. “It’s good luck to have a terrified enemy!”

And so, all the owls flew to that tree to be sure that the enemy had really left, and surrounded it from all sides.

When they failed to find the crows, Arimaradan, the king of the owls, perched himself on a branch of the tree. His court gathered round him and started flattering him on his success, but he said, “Enough! Find out which way the enemy went. We must overtake them and kill them.

Meanwhile, Sthirajeevi had hidden himself at a vantage point. He thought to himself, Now, whatever I have started, I must see through to the end, for they say, A wise man never begins; What he cannot bring to fruition, “I think now is the moment for my next move. I shall make them aware of my presence.”

And so, he began to caw feebly. Immediately, all the owls converged on him to kill him. “Stop!” cried the crow. “Listen to me! I am Sthirajeevi, the crow king Meghavaran’s minister. It is he who has reduced me to this plight. Communicate this to your master. And tell him that I have some particularly interesting information to give him.”

When the owl king heard this, he was surprised. He hurried to Sthirajeevi and said, Well, how did you come to be in this state! Tell me.”

“My Lord,” replied Sthirajeevi, “this is how it happened. Yesterday, when Meghavaran saw so many of his crows killed by you, he got very excited and was preparing to attack you. I advised Meghavaran to make peace with you, by offering presents. “But, Your Majesty, the other crows incited Meghavaran against me and they made my present condition. They did this because they suspected me of being on your side. Now I look to you for protection. What more is there for me to say? As soon as I am able to fly again, I shall lead you to where they are and you can kill them.”

When Arimardhan heard this, he took counsel with his five hereditary ministers. He said to Rakaksha “My friend, my enemy’s minister has fallen into my hands. What shall I do with him?”

“My Lord,” he replied, “what else can we do? Kill him at once without any hesitation. It is said, ‘Destory an enemy Before he becomes too powerful to—And now to kill him is easy. But if you don’t take advantage of this opportunity, you may not have such a chance again, even if you desire it. Don’t be taken in by his pretense of friendship. He is our enemy! As the cobra said-look at the funeral pyre then at my injured hood. Love, once shattered, can never be restored by a show of affection.”

“How was that?” Asked Arimaradan. On this Raktaksha told this. GOLDEN COINS

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