The Frogs and The Snake - Panchatantra Stories

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Somewhere in a well, there lived a king of frogs, named Gangadatt. He was tormented by the nagging of his relatives, so he climbed up the water wheel and slipped out, thinking to himself, ‘How can I have revenge on them.

“While he was thinking this, the frog king saw a snake going into his hole.”

He thought to himself, I know what I will do. I will take this snake down into the well and get all my relatives eaten up. It’s true what they say, “A wise man should uproot his strong enemies by putting them against each other and getting them to destroy each other. A thorn is taken out by another thorn and then, they are both thrown away. Thus pain is turned into joy.”

“Thinking thus, the frog king went and stood outside the entrance of the snake’s hole and called, come out! my friend come out!

When the snake heard this, he thought to himself, ‘I am sure that is not one of my own kith and kin calling me, for he speaks differently from us. And anyway, I have no friends whatsoever. So, I’ll stay right inside my hole until I find out who he is, He called out from inside, ‘Who is it?’

The frog king replied, ‘I am Gangadatt, the king of frogs, and I have come to make friends with you.’

‘Well!’ said the snake. That is very hard to believe! Can grass and fire ever be friends? ‘So why are you talking such nonsense!’

‘What you say is true,’ said Gangadatt. ‘You are indeed my natural enemy. But I am being tormented to death and I have come to you for your help. I want you to eat my enemies.’

‘Tell me,’ said the snake, who is tormenting you?’

‘It’s my relatives!’ replied Gangadatt.

‘Well,’ said the snake; where do you live? In a well, a pond, or a lake?’

‘In a well, built of layers of stone!’s replied Gangadatt. ‘I have no legs,’ ‘how can I get into the well? And even if I could, where could I sit and eat your relatives? Go away!’ ‘Please!’ said Gangadatt’ in most humble way, ‘I will show you how to get into the well comfortably and inside, at the edge of the water level, there is a very nice hole where you can sit and eat them. Come with me.’

On this the snake thought to himself, I have grown old and can’t even catch a mouse without great difficulty. Now this fellow, an enemy of his own species, is showing me a way therefore. I shall go and live there.

The snake said aloud, ‘Gangadatt, if this is really true, then lead the way and I shall follow you.’ Gangadatt replied, ‘I shall take you by an easy route and show you the hiding place, but you must spare my own friends. Eat only those ones whom I point out to you.’

‘We are friends now,’ said the snake, ‘so don’t be afraid. I shall do exactly as you’ve told me.’ With these words, the snake came out, embraced the frog king and started along with him. When they reached the well, the frog king led the snake down by way of the water-wheel and took him to the hole.

He made the snake comfortable and then pointed out to his those relatives who were not on good terms with him.

One by one, the snake ate them up. “After a time these frogs had been exhausted, the snake said to the frog king, ‘Please, give me some food! After all, it was you who brought me here, so you are responsible to feed me.’

‘Friend, said the frog king, you have done me a friendly service. Now go home the way you came down the water wheel.’

‘Gangadatt!’ said the snake. ‘That’s ‘not fair! The hole where I used to live, must have been occupied by someone else by now. How can I go there No, I will stay here. Go on giving me your relatives one by one. If you don’t, I will eat up every one of you!’

‘When the frog king heard this, he was overwhelmed with grief and he thought to himself, ‘What a stupid thing I have done in bringing the snake here. If I oppose him, he will eat us all. It’s true what they say, “There is no doubt about it - Making friends with a stronger enemy. Amounts to eating a poisonous pill.” ‘So everyday, I will allow him to eat a friend. A wise man placates him by offering him a little and thus, for a time, keeps him at bay, just as the ocean placates the subaqueous Are by offering it a small quantity of water, from time to time.” The frog king came to a decision and he began to offer the snake one frog one frog everyday.

The snake ate what was offered to him and also began to eat without the knowledge of the frog king the other frogs as well.

One day, the snake also ate up Jamnadatt, the son of Gangadatt, along with some others.

“When Gangadatt came to know this, he began to wail in a loud voice.

Then his wife said to him, ‘What is the good of crying now? You are the cause of the destruction of your own kith and kin. Who will rescue us? You had better work out a plan to escape or else to kill the snake.’

Now, in due course, all the frogs were finished off. Only Ganga Datt was left.

Then Priyadarshan said to the frog king, ‘Gangadatt, I am hungry! There are no frogs left. Please get me something to eat, for after all, you brought me here.’

‘My friend,’ replied Gangadatt, ‘as long as I am here, you have no need to worry on any account. Now, if you allow me to leave this well and go to another one, I shall win the confidence of other group and bring them here.’

‘You have been like a brother to me!’ said the snake. ‘I shall never eat you. Now, if you carry out what you have promised.’

Gangadatt offered prayers to innumerable gods and left the well.

The snake waited anxiously for his return, but all in vain.

After a long time Priyadarshan said to a female lizard living near by, ‘Madam, please give me a little help. You have known Gangadatt for a long time. Would you find him for me in one of the other wells and give him a message? Tell him, “If the other frogs aren’t coming, at least you return quickly. And tell him - If I harm you, I lose all the merits I have earned in my life so far!

The lizard found Gangadatt in one of the other wells and said, ‘Gangadatt! Your friend Priyadarshan is anxiously waiting for your return, he won’t harm you. He has staked all his good deeds as a guarantee for your safety. So come along, don’t be afraid.’

But, Gangadatt replied, what sin will a starving man not commit? Weak people become cruel. Madam! Please tell Priyadarshan that Gangadatt will never again return to the well.’ So the wicked water-dweller, continued the monkey, “like Gangadatt, I too shall never go to your home again.”

When the crocodile heard this, he said, “My friend! It is not proper for you to behave like this. Please come so that I can free myself from the sin of ingratitude, or else I shall begin a fast and starve myself to death under this very tree.”

“You fool!” replied the monkey. “Do you think that I am as stupid as Lambakaran who, even when he sensed danger, still allowed himself to be killed?

“How was that?” asked the crocodile. On this monkey told this story. THE LION AND THE DONKEY

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