Amarasakti was the king of Mahilaropyam, a town in South India. He had three witless sons. They were the reason of King’s worry because he could not hand over his kingdom in hands of witless boys in the future.
One of his ministers advices him of Vishnu Sharman. He was a great scholar and had hundreds of disciples.
King calls Vishnu Sharman to his court and pleaded him to train his kids. Vishnu promised king that he would turn his three boys into scholars in six months and if he is unable to do so the change his name.
After that king handed over his sons to Vishnu Sharman. From then, Vishnu taught them the five strategies (Panchtantra). As promised, the sons turned to be scholars in the period of six months. From then Panchtantra became popular all over the world as a guide for solving problems.
Pancha means ﬁve and tantra means systems or parts.
The five strategies are:
First Strategy: The Gaining of friends
Second Strategy: Discord among Friends
Third Strategy: Of Crows and Owls
Fourth Strategy: Loss of Gains
Fifth Strategy: Imprudence
The Four Friends And The Hunter
Once upon a time, there lived 3 friends- a deer, mouse and a crow. One day a turtle came to them and asked to become their friend. The crow welcomed him and asked about his safety. He said “there are many hunters who visit here regularly. In such cases we 3 friends would easily escape but what about you?” Turtle replied,” that’s why I want to be your friend.” In the meantime, a hunter came. The deer ran away, the crow flew and the mouse ran to a hole. But unfortunately, the turtle got trapped and the hunter took him up for his feast.
The 3 friends got worried and planned to free him from the hunter’s snare. Crow flew high in the sky and spotted the hunter at the bank of a river. Deer ran away and lay on his path as if dead. The hunter got happy and put the turtle on the ground. He moved towards the deer. Suddenly the deer sprang up to life and darted away to the jungle. Seeing this, the hunter returned and saw the snare was damaged and there was no turtle. He was now compelled to believe that some evil power was now at play. He got frightened and ran away from the jungle and never returned. Now the 4 friends lived happily in the jungle.
MORAL: Unity can save us even in the most trying times.
The Marriage of The Mouse
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful village along the banks of the Ganges, where a Guru used to live. Once, while he was taking a bath in Ganga, an eagle was flying over him carrying mice dropped it mistakenly into the hands of Guruji. The Guru transformed the mice into a girl because he had no children of his own. As time passed, the girl grew older and was in the age of marriage. He used his superpower and called Surya dev to marry his daughter but the girl refused to say there is too much heat in the face, she cannot bear it. Surya Devi advised to call Badal Dev, On arrival of Badal Dev The girl made the same again she said he is too humid and black. On the words of Badal Dev, Guruji called Vayu dev but the girl did the same saying he is too fast, Vayu Dev advised to call Parvat dev but the girl refused again. Parvat dev advised guruji to call Chuha Dev saying he is more powerful than him. Finally, on the arrival of Chuha dev, girl agreed to marry. Guruji transformed the girl again into mice to have their marriage.
MORAL: Ingrained traits are difficult to change.
The Lion And The Woodcutter
Once there was a lion live with his friend’s jackal and crow, he hunts the whole day and after eating he gives the remaining food to his friends, his friends were very happy with him. In the nearby village there lived a woodcutter he was a good friend of the lion as he usually visits the forest, One day he invited lion to his home for food his wife offered cooked and delicious food to the lion, From that day the lion stopped hunting and started eating cooked food in woodcutter’s house this change made lions friends leftover hungry and they decided to keep an eye on the lion, They followed him and saw him eating the meal at woodcutter’s house they decided to meet the lion but on seeing them woodcutter and his wife climbed up a tree.
The lion was surprised by this reaction. The woodcutter said, “Hey Lion, you are our friend. But since the crow and the jackal are cunning, I am protecting myself by staying out of reach from them.”
MORAL: Beware of cunning people.
Bear And The Two Friends
Sonu and Golu were two friends. Golu was timid while Sonu was a brave boy. Once they decided to go to fair. To reach there, they had to cross a Jungle. Golu was afraid to go but Sonu encouraged him to come with him. While they both were crossing the jungle, Sonu kept on singing so that Golu doesn’t get more afraid. After a while, they heard a roaring sound from their back. Both Sonu and Golu started to shiver with fear. Sonu realized that it was a beer; therefore he climbed a tree nearby him. Golu had no idea about what to do. Suddenly an idea struck his mind; Golu lay down on the ground and stopped breathing for some time. Bear came across Golu, smelled him, and that Golu had died therefore not breathing. Bear went away from there. Sonu came down the tree and approached Golu. Sonu asked Golu, “I heard the bear saying something in your ears. What did he say to you?” Golu replied, “Bear has asked me to stay careful and stay away from selfish friends like you.” Sonu turned sad. Therefore, Golu said that since he was his best friend, therefore, he will forgive him. Golu also made sure that Sonu should not repeat the same mistake again. Both the friends went together towards the village.
MORAL: To error is human but to forgive is divine.
The Louse And The Bed Bug
There was a louse that lived in the bedroom of a mighty king. Every night when the king went to sleep, the lice came out of her hide, suck his blood, and quietly came back to her.
One night a bed bug came to King’s bedroom. When the louse saw him, she told the bug to leave the room as was her territory. The bug requested louse that he was a guest and was not going to cause any harm. After listening to this, louse softened a little and said, “Fine, you can stay here for tonight but you are not allowed to suck King’s blood.” For this, the bug said, “I’m your guest so you should offer me some food.”
Louse agreed to this but also warned the bug that he should bite the king in such a way that he dies not feel any pain.
After some time, the king came to his bedroom and fell asleep. The greedy bedbug bites the king hard to suck his blood. Bug enjoyed the taste of King’s blood so he kept on biting him till the king felt itching sensation.
King woke up and asked his servants to kill the bedbug immediately. The Bug was clever so hide in such a way that nobody could find him. As the servants looked through the bedsheets, they did not find the bug but the louse instead. Louse was found before she could hide. She was killed immediately by the servants. Hence, Louse lost her life because of the bedbug.
MORAL: Never trust strangers.
Beware of Mean Friends
Long ago in a jungle, lived a lion. He had three selfish friends, a crow, a jackal, and a wolf. They were friendly with the lion just because he was the king of the forest. The three were always present for the service of the lion just for their selfish ends. As the lion used to hunt animals and the leftover was eaten by those three. One day, the three friends saw a camel in the forest. They were surprised to see a lion in the forest and thought that his meat is going to be tasty. The camel was trying to get out of the jungle but could not succeed to find his way out. The three friends went to the lion and informed him about the camel they saw in the forest. They requested Lion to kill the camel as his body was full of flesh. But the lion disagreed; he said that the camel should give shelter in our forest as he came here for his safety. Lion asked them to bring the camel to him.
Those three were not happy with the lion’s decision but they had no other option but to follow the lion’s order. They went to the camel and told him that their king wanted to have dinner with him. They even ensured the camel for his safety. The camel was frightened and thought that he was going to be killed by the lion. Camel went to the lion’s den. There the lion was very pleased to see him. Lion asked camel not to worry and said that now you are my fourth friend. Camel was astonished and happy. He lived happily with crow, jackal, and wolf.
One day when the lion was hunting for food with his friends, he had a fierce fight with a huge elephant. The fight turned so bad that the lion’s three friends ran away. The lion was badly injured. Though he killed the elephant but he got many wounds on his body. The lion was incapable to hunt now because of injury. For days he did not get anything to eat. His friends too starved as they were dependent on the lion’s prey totally. While they were starving, the camel graced happily. One day the three friends approached the lion and asked him to kill the camel as the lion was turning weaker day by day. Lion disagreed with them and replied that the camel is his guest and he won’t kill him.
But the jackal, wolf, and crow had evil eyes on the camel. They went to the camel and told him that the king (lion) is wounded and hungry for many days. As our king cannot hunt now, it is our duty to sacrifice our life for him. Camel felt pity for the lion. The innocent camel agreed to their proposal of sacrificing life for the lion.
The four went before the lion and one by one offered the lion to eat them. Firstly the crow said, “you can eat me get rid of your hunger.” Then Jackal said, “My friend crow, you are too small to satisfy the hunger. King should eat me instead.” After this, the Wolf said, “No you two are very small, so I offer myself for this noble task. Kill me and eat me.” But the Lion did not eat any of them.
Camel was also watching all this. Therefore he came forward and said, “A friend in need is a friend indeed. Please eat me and get rid of your hunger.” This time Lion had no feeling of guilt to eat camel’s flesh as he had himself come forward. The lion immediately pounced on the camel and tore him into pieces. By this, Lion and his friends got plenty of meat for days.
MORAL: One has to be careful from people who are friendly to them just for their evil desires.
The Lion And The Clever Hare
Once upon a time, in a dense forest, lived a notorious lion. He hunted all the animals that came before him. He used to prey not only for food but also for his entertainment. Hence, day by day, number of animals in that forest started reducing. All the animals were worried. One day, they all gathered under a tree for a meeting. They were all afraid of the lion worried about their existence in the future. In the meeting, they decided that every day we will send one member of our family to the lion’s den so that lion does not roam about in search of prey. By doing this the rest of the animals can at least roam freely in the jungle, as the lion would not come out of his den and maybe one-day lion will even stop hunting animals for his entertainment.
All the animals agreed to it and decided to go to the lion’s den to propose him for this agreement. Lion agreed to the proposal of other animals. He made the announcement that his prey should reach his den every day at 10 am without any delay.
From that day, daily one animal used to go to lion’s den in order to sacrifice his own life. Months passed like this. One day it was the turn of a Hare. The hare got up in the morning, he was really worried, and he wanted to save himself from the lion. While thinking so, he started to move towards lion’s den. On his way to the den, he felt thirsty. In order to satisfy his thirst, hare went near a well. As he looked into the well, he saw his shadow in the water; he got an idea from this!
Hare went to Lion’s den shouting, “Save me, help me.” Lion asked, “what happened, who his bordering you?” Hare replied, “We five were coming to you but in our way, suddenly a lion came and ate my four friends. Please help me!”
Lion turned angry that how can another lion roam in the forest and eat my food. He asked hare to come with him and tell where that another lion is! Hare took the lion to that well. As the lion peeped into the well for another lion, he saw his own shadow. Lion was so stupid that he thought that it is another lion. Lion was full of anger; he continued to roar and jumped into the well. Now as the lion did not know to swim, he drowned.
In this was hare was able to save his life from the lion. Hearing about the death of the lion, all the animals started to celebrate.
MORAL: Mental strength is greater than physical strength.
The Cunning Judge
Once upon a time, there lived a sparrow. She had a beautiful nest on a tree. Every day she went to the field to full of grains, eat grains, and return to her nest.
But one day, due to heavy rain, Sparrow could not return to her nest. The rain continued for the whole night and the next morning when she returned to her nest. She was shocked to see a rabbit occupying her nest. She asked the rabbit to leave the nest immediately as it belonged to her. But the rabbit did not leave. Rabbit said, “Trees, rivers and lakes do not belong to anybody. They belong to you as long as you occupy them. Once you left the place and someone else occupies it. Then it does not belong to you.” Sparrow did not agree with the rabbit. She wanted to seek advice from a wise person in order to resolve the dispute.
There was a cat sitting near that tree. The cat carefully watched the fight between the rabbit and the sparrow. She wanted to take the advantage of the situation. Therefore, the cat started to act like a priest. She took a holy bath in the river, sat like a priest, and pretended to be a divine person.
Sparrow and the rabbit approached the cat in order to solve the dispute. Cat took advantage of the situation and pounced upon both of them. She ate both sparrow and the rabbit.
MORAL: Fight over small matters might sometimes lead to big disasters.
The Stork And The Crab
Once upon a time, there was a stork that lived in the pond. He used to eat all the fishes which passed by him, ate them and lived happily. Years passed and stork turned old. Now he could not catch fishes therefore he decided to play a trick on fishes.
He stopped eating fishes and sat with a sad face. A crab noticed this thing and asked the stork the reason of his sadness. Stork told him, “I got the news that people are going to cover this pond with the mud. All of us will die. I’m old and weak. I can’t see poor fishes dying.” Listening to this, the fishes became alert. Stork proposed them, “There is a big pond nearby. I can take you all one by one to that big pond.” Everyone agreed to this.
Stork took the fishes one by one to a big rock instead of a pond. There he ate those fishes. This continued for long and now it was crab’s turn. Crab sat on the stork neck to go to the big pond. But, he did not find any pond in the way but skeletons of fishes all around. Crab understood everything. Therefore with all his strength, he dug his claws in stork’s neck and killed him.
MORAL: Never trust your enemies.
The Birds And The Monkeys
One chilly winter evening, there was a group of monkey feeling cold. A glowing worm passed by them. Those stupid monkeys thought that it was a spark of fire. They caught it and put in between dried twigs and leaves so that leaves catch fire and they can feel warm.
Monkeys started blowing air into the dried leaves so that it catches fire quickly. A bird saw this; she told monkeys that they wasting their time as it were a glow worm not a spark of fire. But monkeys did not listen to the bird and continued to blow air into the leaves. Bird, again and again, tried to stop monkeys. This made the money angry and they killed the bird.
MORAL: Don’t try to teach those who cannot be taught.
The Bull And The Lion
Once upon a time there was a merchant named Vardhmanaka. One day he was going to Mathura on Bullock cart with his two bullocks, Sanjeevaka and Nandaka namely.
On their way, when they moving along river Yamuna, Sanjeevaka accidentally stepped into a swampy spot. He tried a lot to get himself out, even the merchant tried a lot but they could not do it. All their efforts were in vain. Merchant left Sanjeevaka in the swamp and left for Mathura with Nandaka.
Sanjeevaka became sad because all his life he served his master but his master left him in pain. Sanjeevaka was left alone. He had two options, either die or make efforts to get out of the swamp. Bull put all his power to get out of the swamp and finally succeeded as God helps those who help themselves. Now he did not want go back to the merchant so he roamed about in nearby forest, ate fresh grass and drank clean water. Soon he became healthy and started bellowing like a lion. His thunder-like bellowing sound could be heard from miles.
One day a lion named Pingalaka, king of the jungle, came to the river in order to drink water. There he heard the bellowing of the bull. Lion got frightened that there was another lion in the forest. Lion went back to his den as he was afraid. Lion had two jackal friends Damnaka and Kartaka. They saw that the lion has hesitated. They asked the lion the reason for hesitation. Though Lion did not want to tell them but after some time he told them about the bellowing sound he heard in near the river. Jackals promised Lion to bring that animal before him. Jackals found the bull and brought it in front of the lion.
Bull told that he was sent by Lord Shiva to roam about in the forest. The lion was impressed by the bull. They became friends. They started spending most of the time together chatting. Soon Lion stopped killing his prey and neglected his kingdom. This made the animals worried.
Damnaka made a plan to solve this problem. He went to lion and told, “Sanjeevaka is planning to kill you and take your kingdom.” Next day Damnaka went to Sanjeevaka and said, “King is planning to kill you and distribute your flesh to the animals of the forest.” This made the bull angry. He rushed bellowing with anger to the Lion. Bull attacked Lion and both of them got involved in fight. Sanjeevaka tried to kill the lion with his pointed horns.
Though both of them were strong but Lion killed the bull with his sharp claws.
The lion was not happy after killing Sanjeevaka because he was one of his friends. But, Danmaka convinced Lion that Sanjeevaka was a traitor. Later, Danmaka was made chief minister of the kingdom.
MORAL: Never befriend a natural enemy.
The Wolf And The Crane
Once upon a time, there lived a wolf in a forest, he used to bother others roaming here and there. He only thinks about himself that’s why other animals say he is selfish. Once he was roaming in search of food as he was very hungry. He saw a bullock’s body he went there, looked around, and started eating. Suddenly, he thought if somebody saw him then they will ask for their part then he should eat it as fast as he could. He started eating fast, a huge bone stuck in his throat, he started coughing roughly but bone didn’t come out he jumped up and down did everything but bone remains tucked, he got tried. He comes across the river drunk water and started to suffer. He decided to take the help of other animals, firstly he came to the rabbit and said Oo! Rabbit my friend help me a bone is stuck in my throat could you please take it out. Rabbit said I don’t know wolf I have a lot of work to do and went away. Wolf got very angry on a rabbit. No one in the forest helped the wolf some laughed and some rejected directly. He was in extreme pain laid on the ground and staring sky, his eyes started closing slowly, he saw a crane flying over him, he called the crane and said hey! Crane my old friend I need your help. Crane said firstly you are not my friend and why you need my help? He told her everything and asked for help otherwise he will die; Crane agreed to help but asked for a reward. He agreed and promised to give. Wolf opened his mouth and crane took out the bone so easily. Wolf was very happy and about to leave then Crane flew and came in front of him, she asked for her reward but the Wolf started laughing, he said my innocent friend you did not understand when you peeped in my mouth I would have easily bitten your throat but I did nothing I retained your life, this is your reward. Then Crane said you are a bad animal you will die alone, I should have left you in pain it was my mistake that I believed on you. Crane got mad and the wolf ran away. She told everyone about that incident. Wolf started living his old life. Everyone decided to throw wolf out of the forest but the wolf doesn’t go out and lived alone with no friends.
MORAL: Be careful of wicked people.
United We Stand
A pair of sparrows lived on one of its branches with their young ones. They had two beautiful and comfortable nestling. Every day they went to the fields, collected food for young ones, and cake back. One day when the sparrows went out in search of the food, a hungry elephant came there. The elephant broke one of the branches of the tree. The nest which was on that branch fell down and the young ones were killed.
Sparrows came back and saw their young ones dead. An elephant was resting near the try and this made everything crystal clear. They started to cry with sorrow. A woodpecker saw them crying and asked them for the reason of their sorrow.
The mother sparrow told the whole story and expressed her desire to take revenge from the elephant. She wanted to kill him. Woodpecker agreed to this because in the future the elephant could also kill his children like this. He said, “let’s to the honey bee, she is very intelligent. She will suggest the trick to take revenge from the elephant.”
They went to the honey bee. Honey bee suggested the idea. She said, “I will go and sing in an elephant’s ear. The elephant will be happy with my melodious voice and start listening carefully to me. After this woodpecker would come and poke his long beak into the elephant’s eye. Thus would make him blind. Then I’ll suggest the elephant to come with me to a magical tree. That tree’s leaf extract will cure his eyes. When the elephant will move towards the tree with blind eyes. I’ll take him to the pit where he will fall down and die.”
Everything went according to the plan. Both honey bee and woodpecker played their role perfectly. Elephant fell into the pit of which he could not come out and died.
MORAL: United we stand divided we fall.
Camel With a Bell
Once there was a cart-maker, he was moving with his wife through a jungle. There they saw a female camel experiencing labor pain. Cart-maker and his wife stopped the journey in order to help the female camel. The wife started nursing the camel in her delivery. From then, the car-maker’s family took care of the camel and her baby.
They tied a bell in the neck of a baby camel. So that whenever baby moved, the bell in its neck jingled. Cart maker sold camel’s milk and made money. Soon he brought one more camel and then one more. Like this, he became the owner of the number of camels.
Whenever the group of camels goes to graze in the jungle, the young baby camel used to trail behind them. This made other camels worried. They asked baby camel not to trail behind but the baby never listened.
One day when they went to the forest for grazing a lion heard the jingling sound of the bell. He followed the sound and saw a caravan of camels and a young camel that was trailing behind them. All the other animals filled their stomach and went back to the home. But the young camel was still straying around. The lion that was hiding behind the bushes pounced over the young camel, killed him, and ate him.
MORAL: Take heed of good advice.
The Monkey’s Revenge
Once upon a time, there was a king named Chandra. He had a huge garden in his palace. The garden was of fruitful trees. In the garden lived many birds and monkeys. There was a goat in the palace with which the king’s children played. The goat was very healthy and full of hair like wool. Being glutton that goat always went into the royal kitchen and ate lots of vegetables over there. The royal cook did not like the goat and used to beat her badly.
One day the chief of the monkeys thought that if any day, the royal cook gets angry and gets hairy goat on fire then goat may run into the stable to get off the fire. This may cause the hay to catch fire and horses may get burnt. He thought that if this happens then the only way to treat those horses will be fat of freshly killed monkey.
Chief monkey brought his views before all the monkeys. He said, “It is not safe for us to live here. Let’s move to the forest.” None of the monkeys listened to him therefore the chief had to go to the forest all alone.
One day, the royal cook got angry and got that hairy goat on fire. She ran towards the stable, hay caught fire, and horses were burnt. King called vaidya to his palace. Vaidya said, “The only way to treat their horses is the fat of freshly killed monkey.” King gave the order to slaughter the monkeys and thousands of monkeys were killed.
Chief monkey got to hear this news in the forest. He wanted to take revenge from the king. One day, the monkey went to a pond to drink water. There he saw footprints towards the pond but none was of coming back from pond. Suddenly, a big giant came out of the pond. He had a beautiful necklace in his neck. The giant said, “I am happy that you did not drink the water. You seem to be clever. If anyone drinks water from this pond, I kill him. I am happy that you did not. You can ask me for a boon.”
Monkey got the idea, he said, “Dear giant, I want to take revenge from the king. He slaughtered my brothers.” Giant said that he would kill the king and all his men. The monkey said, “I will bring the king and his men to you but before that can you please give me your necklace.” The giant happily gave him the necklace.
Monkey wore the necklace and went to King Chandra’s palace. He told the kind, “your majesty! I have come to know about a pond which is full of gold and necklaces like the one I’m wearing. You should come to the pond with your men and family and take a bath in that pond.” King got excited and went to the pond with his family and all servants.
When the king was going inside the pond, monkey stopped him. The monkey said, “you are the king, you deserve the best necklace so let them go inside first.” King agreed to this. King’s family and men went into the pond and did not come back. King started shouting on the monkey with anger.
The monkey said, “you foolish king, all your family members, and men have been killed by the giant. This was revenge. You killed my brothers and killed your family members. I saved your life just because you were once my master.” King turned sad and returned to his kingdom with his heart filled with grief.
MORAL: Tit for Tat.