The Birds (Dove) and The Mouse - Panchatantra Stories

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In the south of India, there was a city called Mahilaropyam. Not far from the city, there stood a very big tree. All kinds of birds are its fruits and many travelers rested under its shade.

On the branches of the tree, there lived a crow, his name was Laghupatank.

One day, as he was flying towards the city in search of food, his eyes fell upon a black hunter, creeping towards that very tree.

When Laghupatanak saw this, he was scared, thinking to himself, “Heavens! This wicked hunter is going to our tree! The birds who are living there will certainly suffer to some harm.”

So, the crow flew back to the tree and said, “friends! There’s wicked hunter coming and he has brought a net and rice grains with him. Don’t touch the rice! Treat it like poison.”

Meanwhile, the hunter had reached the tree.

He spread out his net, scattered the rice on the ground underneath and hid himself nearby.

As the birds had been warned in advance by Laghupatank, they did not touch the rice and avoided being caught in the hunter’s net.

One Chitragreev, the king of the doves, happened to be flying in the neighborhood at that time. He and his retinue were looking for food. They came to this tree and saw the ripe grains of rice.

Laghupatanak warned them in the same way, not to touch it, but they took no notice of him, and Chitragreev and his entire court were caught in the net. “This is what happens, when fate is hostile, and its nobody’s fault - When disaster is imminent, a man’s mind is in turmoil, even his wits fail him.”

When the hunter saw that he had caught the doves, he was overjoyed and went up to the tree.

Seeing him coming, chitragreev said to his retinue, “Don’t be afraid, ‘He who holds on to his courage, in the face of disaster, will, with the help of his intelligence, ultimately surmount all his difficulties.’

“And so, let us all unite, lift the net together and fly off with it, for they say—Small things united become strong - Even delicate threads of cotton, woven together, are very hard to break.’

The doves followed Chitragreev’s plan. When the hunter saw them flying away with his net, he ran after them, saying to himself, “These doves have united and are flying away with my net, but should they quarrel on the way, they will all fall to the ground.”

Laghupatanak was so curious to know what would happen that he forgot all about his food and followed the doves.

When Chitragreev saw the hunter disappearing out of sight, he said to the doves, “Friends, the wicked hunter is not following us anymore, so we can all fly to Mahilaropyam with our minds easy. Now, I have a friend living there, a mouse, by name of Hiranyak. He will certainly bite through these meshes and set us free. ‘When calamity befalls a man, Only a true friend will help him; Others offer only lip-sympathy.”

The doves agreed to Chitragreev’s suggestion. Now the hole, Where Hiranyaka was living, had innumerable entries and exits. For the mouse, it was an excellent stronghold - he lived there quite fearlessly. When Chitragreev reached the hole, he called loudly, “Hey Friend Hiranyak! Come out quickly! I am in distress. But the mouse did not come out, instead, he asked from inside, “Who are you? What do you want from me? Tell me, what is your problem?”

“My dear friend!” replied the king of doves. “I am Chitragreev, the king of doves! Please come out quickly, it’s very urgent.”

When Hiranyak recognized his friend’s voice, he came out immediately, beaming with delight, but when he saw the king of doves and his retinue, all caught in the net, Atonishly he asked, “What is this?”

“Hiranyak, why ask me?” replied the king of doves. “You know me well enough to know that it’s my love of food that has got me into this state.”

“No, my dear friend,” said the mouse, “it’s the will of fate. ‘When destiny so decides, However high the birds soar in the sky, they see the mutton, but not the trap, and however deep the fish swim in the water, they are caught in the fisherman’s net. God of Death stretches his hand in every direction, and seizes both the wicked and the just, He makes no distinction.”

Hiranyak began to free the king of the doves. But Chitragreev stopped him and said, “Don’t do that! Free my followers first and me afterward.”

“Good heavens, no!” said Hiranyak impatiently. “The master comes first and then the servant!”

“My dear friend,” replied Chitragreev, “don’t talk like that! All these trapped doves left their homes and families to follow me. The least I can do is show them this much consideration. It is said, “When a king shows respect to his servants, they will never forsake him in times of distress.” “Besides, your teeth might break while you’re biting my meshes through or the hunter may arrive. In both cases, I shall be the only one free and my followers will still be prisoners.

When Hiranyak heard this, he was very happy and said, “My friend, I too know a king’s duties very well. I just wanted to test you. So, I shall free your followers first and, for this noble action, they will always continue to respect you as their king.”

Then Hiranyak bit through all the meshes of the net and set the doves free.

Then he said to Chitragreev, “Now, should you ever get into a similar situation again, you can come to me.” Chitragreev thanked the mouse heartily, took his leave and flew off with his court. Hiranyak also went back into his hole.

Laghupatank, the crow, had seen all that had taken place and he saw amazed. “How talented the mouse is!” he thought. “He actually succeeded in freeing the doves! Now, if I was caught in a trap one day, Hranyak could free me too. So I shall make friends with him.

So the crow flew down to the mouse’s hole.

Imitating Chitragreev’s voice, he called, “Hiranyak! Please come out!”

When the mouse heard this voice, he thought to himself, “Is there still a dove left in the net, calling for my help?”

However, he did not come out, but called from inside, “Who is it?”

“It’s a crow called Laghupatanak,” replied the crow.

“Then, be off with you!” cried the mouse.

“But I have something very important to say to you!” replied the crow. “Why won’t you come out and meet - “Why should I?” replied Hiranyak.

“But, my friend, said the crow, “I saw how you freed Chitragreev and I respect you for it. One day I might be caught in a net and you could free me too. So, I should like to make friends with you.”

“But you are a hunter and I am your prey,” replied the mouse. “How can I be your friend? Be off! How can anyone make friends with an enemy! “Friendship is only possible, between people who are equals, in strength, wealth and status.”

“Well,” replied the crow, “if you won’t make friends with me, I’ll starve myself to death, right here, at your door!”

“But how can I be your friend?” repeated Hiranyak. “You are my enemy!”

“But mouse,” said the crow, “until today, we have never had the opportunity to meet each other. How then can you possibly speak of enmity between us?”

“There are two types of enmity,” said the mouse. “The hereditary enmity that exists between certain species and the enmity that arises as a result of some quarrel!

“But this natural enmity is pointless,” said the crow. “Friendship or enmity should develop because there’s some reason for it. In our case, there is no reason whatsoever for us to be enemies. So make friends with me. “I swear to God, Hiranyak, that I will do you no harm!”

“Even so, I can’t trust you,” said the mouse. When Laghupatanak heard this clever reply from the mouse, he was amazed at Hiranyak’s knowledge and was at a loss for an answer.

Then he said to the mouse, “Oh, all right then, if you still don’t trust me, stay inside your home, but please talk to me a bit, speak about politics and moral stories.”

When the mouse heard this, he thought to himself, “This crow, Laghupatanak, seems to be very intelligent and perhaps he is even telling the truth. I think I will make friends with him.”

Then the mouse said, “All right them, my friend, I agree!”

And so, from that day onward, the two of them became good friends.

The crow would bring fruits and delicacies for the mouse and the mouse, in return, would save a few titbits for the crow. And they would entertain each other, telling stories.

In the course of time, the mouse trusted the crow so much that he would even sit under his wings and talk to him freely.

One day, the crow came to the mouse with tears in his eyes and said, “Oh Hiranyak, I feel absolutely fed up with this part of the country! I would like to fly off to some other place.”

“But, my dear fellow,” said the mouse, “why do you say that?”

“Listen, Hiranyak,” said Laghupatanak “there has been no rain here for a long time and, as a result, the people don’t have enough to eat. As they haven’t sufficient for themselves, they don’t feed now the crows anymore. So that is the reason, why I am fed up with this country. And I am shedding these tears because, if I leave and go somewhere else, I must also leave such a good friend as you are.”

“Where do you want to go?” asked the mouse.

“Well,” replied Laghupatanak, “further south, deep in the jungle, is a lake. A very dear friend of mine, a turtle, by the name of Mantharaka, lives there. He feeds me on bits of fish and I can pass my time very happily with him, discussing moral tales and talking philosophy. I can’t bear to stay here and see the destruction of my own people. As they say, ‘Blessed indeed are those, who do not see the destruction of their land and family due to drought and the ruination of crops.’ “So, I would prefer to leave and go somewhere else.”

Hearing this the mouse said I would like to come with you,’ “for, I too have experienced something dreadful here.”

“What do you mean?” said the crow. “Explain to me.”

“It’s a very long story,” said the mouse. “I’ll tell you about it, when we arrive at your friend’s place.”

“But,” said the crow, “I shall be flying in the air and you will be crawling on the land, so how can you accompany me?

“Well,” replied the mouse, “you can carry me on your back and take me. For me there is no other way of getting there.”

When the crow heard this, he said delightedly, “Well, if that’s the case, I’m a very lucky fellow, for I shall be able to enjoy your company over there too. Let’s go immediately. Get on my back and hold on tight, and I shall take you there without any difficulty.”

On this, the mouse seated himself firmly on the crow’s back and the crow started the journey to the lake. Flying slowly, the crow and the mouse finally arrived at the lake.

The turtle saw the crow and the mouse come flying down and he was astonished.
The crow saw what had happened and landed at the bottom of a tree.

The mouse jumped down to the ground and crept into a hole.

Then the crow seated himself on a branch of the tree and shouted, “Hey Mantharak! It’s your friend, laghupatanak, the crow!
When the turtle heard his voice, he recognized Laghupatanak and came out of the water. He was overcome with emotion and cried, “Laghupatanak! Welcome! Please forgive me for not recognizing you straightway, but it’s so long since I saw you.”

Then the crow flew down to meet the turtle.

They hugged each other delightedly and spent some time telling each other about their experiences.

The mouse too came out of the hole, bowed before mantharak and sat down. When the turtle saw the mouse, he turned to Laghupatanak and said, “My friend! Who is this mouse? You feed on mice, so why have you brought this one along with you, on your back! You must have some definite reason for it.”

“Mantharak,” replied the crow, “this mouse is a very dear friend of mine. His name is Hiranyak. He is even dearer to me than my own life. He is always gay but, at the moment, he is very sad and dejected.”

“Why?” asked Mantharak.

“I’ve already asked him about it,” said the crow, “but he said that it was a long story and so he would prefer to tell it here beside the lake.”

The crow then turned to the mouse and said, ‘‘Now my dear friend Hiranyak, tell me your story!”

Hiranyak told this story. THE SADHU AND THE MOUSE

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