The Donkey and The Washerman - Panchatantra Stories

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In a certain town, there lived a washerman named Shuddhapat. He had only one donkey. The donkey had become very lean. Because of lack of grass and other things to eat.

One day, while the washerman was wandering in the jungle, he came across a dead tiger.

He thought to himself, ‘Oh, this is a piece of good luck. I know what I’ll do. I’ll put this tiger’s skin on my donkey and let him loose in the barely fields at night time. The framers will think it’s a tiger and for fear of him, they won’t come out.’

The washerman did this and from that time onward, the donkey would eat the barley to his heart’s content during the night time, and early in the morning, the washerman would lead him back to the stall.

With the passage of time, the donkey grew so fat that the washerman had to strain himself to drag the donkey back into the stall.

One night, whilst the donkey was feeding in the barley fields, he heard a female donkey braying in the distance. He couldn’t help braying in return. 

Immediately the farmers realized that it was only a donkey dressed up in a tiger’s skin.

They rushed out, caught hold of him and killed him immediately with sticks.

Moral of The Story “And so,” continued the monkey, “that’s why I said, ‘The donkey, who was dressed up in a tiger’s skin, was frightening to look at, but he got killed because he betrayed’.” In meantime, a water-dweller approached them and said to the crocodile, “Your wife was deprived of your love and has starved herself to death.”

When the crocodile heard this, he became dumbfounded.

He said to the monkey, “Oh, what a calamity has befallen me! What an unfortunate fellow I am, for they say - He who has neither mother, nor a sweet speaking wife in the house, should go to the jungle, for to him, jungle and home are alike.”

“My friend,” continued the crocodile, “forgive me for I have been treacherous towards you and now, as I have lost my wife, I shall go into the fire and burn myself.”

When the monkey heard this, he smiled and said, “Foolish crocodile! Right from the beginning, I realized that you were a slave to your wife and a hen-pecked husband. And now I have proof. How stupid you are! You grieve when you should be rejoicing. The death of someone like that should be celebrated:

The crocodile said, “Friend, what you say is quite true. But what shall I do now? Two calamities have befallen me. The loss of my wife the loss of your friendship. This is what happens when fate is hostile. As the female jackal said to the woman, ‘Naked woman! You are twice as clever as I am but you have now neither your lover nor your husband.

So what are you staring at?

How was that? asked the monkey. And the crocodile told this story. THE FARMER’S WIFE

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