The Frog and The Serpent - Panchatantra Stories

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Near mountain, Varuna there an old snake, by the name of Mandavishy. One day, the thought to himself, ‘I am getting too old to hunt for food. How could I manage to maintain myself without having to work hard for it?’ On deeply thinking he hit upon a plan.

He went to a pound that, was full of frogs and began to behave as though he was a hermit, who had renounced the world.

A frog came out of the water and asked him, ‘Why aren’t you moving about in search of food as usual?’

‘Ah,’ replied the snake, I no longer have any desire for food. I’ll explain to you. Last night, when I was wandering about in search of food, I saw a frog. When I tried to catch him, He got frightened and jumped in amongst a group of Brahmins, who were reciting the holy books, and vanished. I could not reach him there, so I sat waiting for him to come out. Meanwhile, my eyes fell on a Brahmin’s son and I bit him. He died on the spot. His father was heartbroken and he cursed me that from today on, you shall serve the frogs and they will use you to ride on. You will live off whatever they are pleased to offer you.” ‘And so,’ said the snake, ‘I have come to serve you!’ 

“When the frog heard the snake’s story, he went and told it to the others.

Finally, the king of frogs came to know the story. He thought it very strange and visited the snake himself in the company of his ministers, in order to ascertain the facts. After the snake had assured him that his life would be safe, the king climbed on his back. Other frogs also took their turns, according to age. And those who did not find any place on the snake’s back,
hopped after him.

To please the frogs, the. snake exhibited to them various type crawling.

On this king of the forges was delighted and he said, ‘I have never had so much pleasure riding an elephant, a horse, a carriage or a human being, as by riding on you!’

The next day, the snake started crawling slowly on purpose. When the king noticed this, he asked him, ‘Friend, why aren’t you crawling as you usually do?’

‘I’ve had nothing to eat!’ replied the snake, I am too weak to crawl properly.’

The Frog king replied, ‘All right then, you can eat small frogs.’

When the snake heard this; he pretended to be surprised and said, ‘Well, well! this is exactly the second part of the Brahmin’s curse come true, for he said that I should have to live on whatever the frogs were pleased to offer me.

“After that, the snake began to eat small frogs daily and, in a short time, he became very strong.”

“The snake thought to himself with a smile, ‘I have beguiled them enough to allow me to eat the small frogs, but how long will this supply last?”

The frog king, was so completely taken in by the snake’s talk that he did not understand his real motive. “After a few days, a big black snake came to the same place.”

He was flabbergasted to see the frogs riding on Mandavishy and he said to him, ‘Mandavishy, these frogs are our food! Why are you carrying them on your back?

“I agree with you; said Mandavishy ‘but I am playing it cool and waiting patiently’.”
He explains to him everything. “One day, Mandavishy said with a laugh, ‘Eating all these frogs, I have discovered different tastes’.”

The king, of frog, hearing this, was dumb-founded and said to the snake, ‘My good fellow, what kind of talk
is that!’

To cover up his trick, the snake replied, ‘Oh, nothing at all.’ And then, with his clever talk, he succeeded in putting the frog king at ease.

In due course, the snake started eating even the larger frogs and in the end, he ate the frog king himself and all the frogs were utterly wiped out. “And so,” continued Sthirajeevi, that’s why I said, ‘A fellow who is cunning, puts up with his enemy. Even under demanding conditions. Unperturbed, both by honor and insult, he bides his time, In order ultimately, to achieve his objective. Thus, a black snake allowed frogs to ride on his back and eventually he ate them all up.’ “Your Majesty, just as through cunning, Mandavishy ate up the entire population of the frogs, in the same way, the owls. As they say, ‘A forest fire burns down the trees. But the roots lie safe underneath; Whilst a cold frosty wind destroys the very roots.’ ”

“Yes, indeed” replied the king. “But it pleases me most that you have completely uprooted our enemies, the owls.” “You have indeed proved your worth, for they say, ‘Inferior people give up a task for fear of destruction. Ordinary people give up a task only half-finished because of obstruction, But superior people will never give up anything. However many difficulties may beset them?”

“You are right, in what you say,” said Sthirajeevi, “but, to do it, you need not only bravery but skill as well. The clever man achieves his ends with maximum attention to detail.”

“But, Your Majesty! Now that all our enemies have been destroyed, I would advise you to devote your attention solely to the welfare of your subjects.” “And so, Your Majesty,” said Sthirajeevi, “know this and rule justly over your kingdom. Then you will find happiness.”

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