The Brahmin and The Thief - Panchatantra Stories

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In a certain town, there was a learned Brahmin who, as a result of his deeds in his previous life, had become a thief.

One day, four other Brahmins, from a distant part of the country, came to that same town and started selling their wares.

When the Brahmin-thief saw them selling these things, he thought to himself, ‘How can I rob these people?’

“When he had thought about it, he approached them and started quoting very eloquently from the Noble Books. As they say, ‘A harlot pretends to be shy, Salty water is always colder, a hypocrite always asserts his straightforwardness, and a crook is a charming talker.’

“In this way, the Brahmin-thief won their confidence and became their servant.

Whilst he was in service with them, the Brahmins sold all their possessions and purchased costly jewels.

In his very presence, they cut open their thighs, put all the jewels inside and then rubbed in ointment to heal the wounds.

Afterward, they began to make preparations to return to their own place.

When the Brahmin thief saw this, he got very worried and thought to himself, ‘Oh dear, haven’t been able to rob them yet, so what I’ll do is travel with them, poison them on the way and collect all the jewels.’

With this plan in his mind, he went to the Brahmins, weeping pitifully.

‘Friends,’ he told them, ‘you will soon be going away and leaving me here all alone. My heart has become so attached to yours with bonds of love, that the mere thought of separation from you, throws me into despair. Please take pity on me and take me with you.’

“The Brahmins felt moved by his acts and took him with them.

On the way, the five of them came to a town called palipura, belonging to the Kirata tribe.

As they entered the town, the crows began to scream out to the inhabitants.

‘Oh! Quick, quick! The rich are coming! Kill them and take their treasure!’

When the Kirata hunters heard the crows screaming, they rushed upon the five Brahmins, beat them up searching them, and removing their clothes. But they found nothing.

Then they said, ‘to Brahmins! Never have the crows proved to be wrong! You have got the treasure somewhere! Give it to us or we’ll kill you, take off your skin and search every part of your body, until we find the treasure!’

When the Brahmin thief heard this, he thought to himself, ‘If the Kirata hunters kill the Brahmins, search their bodies and take out the jewels, they will naturally kill me too. I am going to die either way, so what I’ll do is, offer them my body first, let them kill me and see that there are no jewels hidden in my body and so save the lives of these four Brahmins, and their jewels too. As they say, “My child! Why are you afraid of God of Death? He won’t save you because you are frightened! Perhaps today, perhaps after a thousand years, death will certainly catch up with you.” “Having made this firm resolution, the Brahmin-thief said to the Kirata hunters, ‘All right then, kill me first and search me!’

“Accordingly, the Kirata hunters killed him and searched his body, but they found nothing and the four Brahmins were allowed to continue their journey.

Moral of The Story “And therefore,” continued Karatak, “that’s why I said, A shrewd enemy is far preferable to a foolish benefactor, a foolish monkey killed the king but a shrewd thief saved the lives of the Brahmins.”

Whilst Damanak and Karatak were talking, Pingalak and sanjivak started fighting. Sanjivak’s body was torn to pieces by Pingalak’s strong claws and he fell to the ground, dead:

When Pingalak saw him dead, he thought of his good qualities. He repented killing the bullock and said to himself, “I have committed a great sin in killing Sanjivak. For there is no greater sin that treachery. It is said-He who betrays a trusting friend, shall remain in hell for as long as the sun and moon continue to shine.”

Pingalak was thus bewailing Sanjivak’s death, Damanak approached him in jubilant mood, and said.

“Master, you have killed a treacherous grass-eater, and now you are crying! Such behavior is not proper for a king-only weaklings behave like that. They say, ‘The wise do not dwell on the dead or the living.’’

Pingalak was pacified by Damanak. He appointed Damanak as minister and ruled over his Jungle kingdom.

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