PanchatantraStories21-31
21. The Singing Donkey as told by a three-striped squirrel
Greetings from the cucumber garden, where I, a three-striped squirrel, often scamper about. Let me share a tale I witnessed, involving a donkey and a jackal.
Once upon a time, in the quiet of night, there lived an old and weak donkey. One night, he chanced upon a jackal. They became friends, finding solace in each other's company, and began to wander the area together, seeking food.
One evening, they discovered this very cucumber garden where I often find my own treats. Night after night, they sneaked in and feasted on the juicy cucumbers, filling their bellies and enjoying the bounty.
One particular night, after gorging on the cucumbers, the donkey felt an unusual urge. "I feel like singing," he announced to the jackal.
The jackal, always cautious, pleaded, "Please don't sing. The farmer who owns this garden will hear your loud braying and come after us. Remember, we are thieves here."
But the donkey, stubborn and in a mood for music, ignored his friend's wise counsel. The jackal, sensing the impending danger, swiftly darted out of the garden, leaving the donkey to his fate.
As the donkey began to sing, his loud braying echoed through the garden. The noise soon reached the farmer's ears, waking him from his sleep. Angrily, the farmer rushed to the garden and, finding the singing donkey, beat him black and blue for stealing the cucumbers.
From my perch on a high branch, I watched the scene unfold, a lesson in heeding wise advice. In this garden, it seems, discretion is indeed the better part of valor.
22. Bad Company. The story as reported by an Eagle.
As I soared high above the field, my keen eyes spotted a scene unfolding below. The farmer had spread grains out to dry, but this was no ordinary day. I watched intently, my wings steady against the wind, as the story played out beneath me.
Once, there was a farmer who was plagued by a group of pesky crows. These crows would swoop down daily and devour his hard-earned crops, leaving him frustrated and disheartened. In an attempt to deter them, he erected scarecrows in his field. But these clever crows tore the scarecrows apart, rendering his efforts useless.
Determined to put an end to their mischief, the farmer devised a cunning plan. He laid a net trap across the field and scattered grains over it. It was a bait too tempting for the crows to resist. As expected, the crows descended upon the grains and soon found themselves ensnared in the net.
Caught and helpless, the crows pleaded for mercy. But the farmer, his patience worn thin, was unforgiving. "I won’t leave any of you alive," he declared, his voice cold with resolve.
As he prepared to deal with the trapped crows, a soft, pitiable cry reached his ears. Peering closely at the net, the farmer noticed a pigeon caught alongside the crows. He looked at the pigeon with a mix of surprise and disappointment.
“What were you doing in the company of these evil crows?” he asked. “Now, you too will die because you were in bad company."
And so, both the crows and the unfortunate pigeon met their end, becoming dinner for the farmer’s dogs. Watching from above, I knew the truth of the matter: bad company always brings harm. The farmer’s lesson was harsh, but it was a reminder that whom we associate with can seal our fate.

23. The Dog Who Went Abroad
As narrated by a bloodsucking flea on the dog.
I am a flea making a parasitic existence on a dog. Naturally, I went where he went. I knew his story, which I narrate here.
Chitranga was my host in rain or shine. One year, a severe famine hit the town and Chitranga starved because he could not find anything to eat.
So, he ran away to a faraway land. Naturally, I took a ride on him. Luckily for me , I was not hungry. There was no shortage of food in this
new land. He wandered into the backyard of a house where he ate to his heart’s content.
One day, some of the local territorial dogs spotted him. At once, they recognised that he was a stranger in their land. Growling, they attacked him and he was badly wounded.
After Chitranga managed to escape, he thought, “I better leave this place. There may be a famine in my own land, but at least the dogs there know me and don’t attack me.”

24. The Wicked mediator
A three-striped squirrel living in atree was a witness to the episode and reports the story as follows.
A sparrow made a home in the hollow of a big tree, which was my home too. One day, he left the tree in search of food and did not return for several days. Meanwhile, a hare came and started living in the sparrow’s home. When the sparrow returned, he asked the hare to leave but he refused.
The sparrow said, “Let us go to a judge and we will do as he says." Meanwhile, a wicked cat came to know about their dispute and met the sparrow and the hare. They tried to tell the cat their problem. The cat said, "I am old and cannot see or hear very well. Come closer and narrate your story."
When the gullible poor sparrow and hare came within the reach of the cat, she killed both of them and ate them up! If you fight, you become weak and others can take advantage of you.
Luckily, I the squirell was away quiet a distance from the killer cat, watching this tragic episode.

25. The Flea and the Poor Bug
The bat, a regular visitor to the king’s chamber, reports this story as he witnessed it.
Once upon a time, in the folds of a king’s luxurious bed linen, there lived a diligent bedbug. His tiny world revolved around the soft fabric, and he took pride in his role as the guardian of the royal bed.
One sunny morning, a curious flea drifted into the bedroom. With a glimmer in its eyes, the flea approached the bedbug. “Greetings,” it said, “I’ve never tasted royal blood. Would you be willing to share some with me today?”
The bedbug, engrossed in his work, paused. “Patience,” he replied. “I have duties to fulfill. Once I’ve completed my task, you may indulge.”
The flea agreed, but impatience gnawed at its tiny heart. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the king entered his chamber. The flea couldn’t resist—the scent of royal blood beckoned it. It feasted greedily, savoring the forbidden nectar.
Alas, the king felt the sting. He leaped from his bed, alarmed by the sudden pain. “What lies upon my sheets?” he demanded, summoning his servants.
The flea, sensing danger, darted into a shadowy corner. But fate was cruel. The servants discovered the bedbug, innocent yet unfortunate. Mistaking him for the culprit, they squashed him without hesitation.
And so, the diligent bedbug met an untimely end, while the cunning flea escaped, leaving behind a tale of blood, betrayal, and mistaken identity. I the bat could have feasted on the flea. But I let him live because I was stuffed to my gills.

26. The Foolish Cats
A grazing cow saw two cats fighting over a Bread Stick and narrated the story as it unfolded.
I saw a bread stick lying on the road, accidentally dropped by a crow. Two cats saw the bread stick and ran to it to claim it. Both arrived at the spot and fought to claim it as its find.
The first cat tired of fighting suggested they seek a mediator to break the bread into two equal parts and to settle the dispute. They saw a monkey sitting on the roadside and invited him to be the mediator. The monkey agreed.
The monkey wanted to divide the bread into two equal parts and bit the bread. One was larger than the other. He bit the larger bread. This went on until the monkey ate all the bread and nothing was left for feline claimants.
Now both cats lost the bread and the mediator ate it.

27. The Greedy Jackal
A bronco (wild horse) witnessed this episode and narrated this story. A hunter by happenstance saw a fat boar coming towards him. He shot an arrow and hit the boar. But it kept on coming to him and attacked him. Soon thereafter, the hunter died from the wounds inflicted by the boar. The boar also died thereafter. The dead hunter and the dead boar were lying close to each other. A hungry jackal with a lolling tongue saw the two dead lying close together side by side. He thought it was his luckiest day for he had had enough meat for a long time.
He thought first he would eat the gut of the bow first and the rest later. As he began chewing on the gut-string of the bow, it snapped and with a great force killed the jackal.
I (the wild horse) never saw three die this fast in a brief period. I realized the jackal’s greed killed it.

28. The Tale of the Three Fish
Three fish lived in a pond. All the three were very good friends. One day, some fishermen passed by the pond. One of the fishermen said, ‘This pond seems to be full of fish. Let us come at dawn tomorrow and catch some of them."
But the fish had overheard them, the wisest one of the three fish said, "We must move out of this pond tonight.”
The second fish agreed. But, the third fish laughed loudly at the suggestion and said, “Why should we leave this pond, the ancient home of our forefathers? We cannot escape death even if we go elsewhere." Unable to convince him, the other two fish left the pond. The next day, the fishermen took a big catch of fish in the pond. And the third fish was one of them.

29. The Curious monkey and the Uledge
Once upon a time, a merchant decide to build a temple and hired workers.
One day, when the workers left for lunch, a group of monkeys landed at the temple site. They began playing with everything that they saw.
One of the monkeys saw a partly sawed log of wood lying in a corner. It had a wedge fixed in its center, so that it did not close up. Curious to know what the wedge was meant for, the monkey began furiously tugging at the wedge.
He heaved and tugged at it with all his might. At last, the wedge came off. but not before trapping the legs of the monkey in the rift of the log. The monkey could never extricate his legs out of the closed wood. Finally, the trapped monkey was caught and released by the workers.
It is not wise to poke one's nose into affairs that are not one’s concern.

30.. The heartless Crows
Once, a poor little mynah lost the way to her nest and it was getting dark. So, she stopped on a tree. There were many crows perched on this tree, who shouted, “Get off our tree!”
The mynah pleaded, “It might rain. Let me stay for a while."
But the crows wouldn’t listen.
At last, the mynah flew to another tree where she found a cavity to rest in comfortably. And one day, there was this huge hailstorm and heavy rain. Many crows were hurt and some even died. When the weather calmed down, the mynah came out and started to fly home.
Just then, one of the crows asked the mynah, "How come you are not hurt?”
“God helps humble creatures and lets arrogant ones like you suffer," the mynah replied and flew away.

31. The mongoose and the Brahmin’s Son
A brahmin’s wife gave birth to a boy. The same day, a female mongoose gave birth to a baby and died. The brahmin’s wife brought up the baby mongoose like he was her own son.
One day, the wife went to fetch some water from the well. And the brahmin too went out to the market. While the baby was sleeping a snake came and slithered towards the baby. Sensing danger, the mongoose killed the snake. To show his bravery, the mongoose stood outside the house. The brahmin’s wife arrived and saw the
mongoose covered in blood. She assumed that the mongoose had killed her son. Angry, she threw the pot of water on the mongoose and killed him.
She ran inside. There, she found that her baby was safe and the snake’s body lying nearby. She was very sorry to have killed the faithful mongoose.