The Singing Donkey - Panchatantra Stories

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There lived a donkey, by the name of Uddhata. He belonged to a washerman. During the daytime, he carried the washerman’s heavy loads, whilst at night, he was allowed to wander as he liked; across the fields.

But every morning, the donkey would return to the washerman on time - he was afraid that if he failed to do so the washerman would keep him tied up all night. One night, while the donkey was wandering about in the fields, he met a jackal and got friendly with him.

The donkey being fat, could break down the hedges, and he and the jackal used to get into the cucumber fields. Whilst the donkey was gorging himself on the cucumbers, the jackal would eat poultry from the nearby farm. Then, in the morning, they would return to their respective homes.

One night, the donkey was standing in the middle of the cucumber fields, when he suddenly said to the jackal, ‘Nephew, look! Look at the full moon and the beautiful cloudless night! I feel like singing. Tell me, what shall I sing?’

Uncle, replied the jackal, ‘you have come to steal and you’ll only be asking for trouble if you sing. Thieves should always stay quiet. Your singing isn’t all that pleasant. It sounds as though somebody is blowing a conch! And you can be heard a long way off. At present farmers are sleeping. If you wake them, they’ll come out and beat us. So, eat some of these nectareous cucumbers and give up the idea of singing.’

“The donkey said, ‘My dear nephew, you’re a wild animal. You don’t appreciate the value of music.

That’s very true, uncle, said the jackal, but you don’t know how to sing. You only know how to bray.

‘Go on!’ said the donkey. ‘You say that I don’t know how to sing, but I know all the systems underlying musical composition. Listen—

‘Uncle,’ said the jackal, ‘if you’re so determined to sing, I’ll stay outside the hedge and be on the lookout for the farmers. Then, you can sing.

And the jackal hid himself behind the hedge. When the farmers heard the donkey braying, they clenched their teeth angrily and ran to the spot, with ticks in their hands.

When they saw the donkey, they beat him so hard that he fell to the ground. After this they tied a wooden mortar in his neck. After great difficulty, the donkey came out of the field.

The jackal saw him and said with a smile ‘Uncle! What a song! I asked you not to sing, but you refused to listen.

Moral of The Story “And so,” continued Suvaranasiddhi, “that’s why I said, that you shouldn’t have turned a deaf ear to a friend’s advice.”

“That’s true,” said Chakradhara, it is said—He who neither has commonsense, nor listens to what his friends tell him, is sure to be destroyed, like Mantharak.

“How was that?” asked Suvaranasiddhi. Chakradhara told this story. THE STORY OF THE WEAVER

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