The Partridge uttered a merry laugh, and said: “Alack! alack! My walking gracefully is a thing implanted in me by nature, and thy style of going is equally a natural characteristic. My going is in one way, and thy mode of procedure is quite another. Leave off this fancy and relinquish this idea.”
The Crow replied: “Since I have plunged into this affair, no idle stories shall make me give it up; and until I grasp my wished-for object, I will not turn back from this road.”
So the unfortunate Crow for a long time ran after the Partridge, and having failed to learn his method of going, forgot his own too, and could in nowise recover it.
FABLES FROM THE HITOPADESA
“This work entitled Hitopadesa, or Friendly Instructor, affordeth elegance in the Sanskrit idioms, in every part variety of language, and inculcateth the doctrine of prudence and policy.”
FABLES FROM THE HITOPADESA
The Traveller and the Tiger
A traveller, through lust of gold, being plunged into an inextricable mire, is killed and devoured by an old tiger.
As I was travelling on the southern road, once upon a time, I saw an old Tiger seated upon the bank of a large river, with a bunch of kusa grass in his paw, calling out to every one who passed: “Ho! ho! traveller, take this golden bracelet,” but every one was afraid to approach him to receive it. At length, however, a certain wayfarer, tempted by avarice, regarded it as an instance of good fortune; but, said he, in this there is personal danger, in which we are not warranted to proceed. Yet, said he, there is risk in every undertaking for the acquisition of wealth.
The Traveller then asked where was the bracelet; and the Tiger, having held out his paw, showed it to him and said, “Look at it, it is a golden bracelet.” “How shall I place confidence in thee?” said the Traveller; and the Tiger replied: “Formerly, in the days of my youth, I was of a very wicked disposition, and as a punishment for the many men and cattle I had murdered, my numerous children died, and I was also deprived of my wife; so, at present, I am destitute of relations. This being the case, I was advised, by a certain holy person, to practise charity and other religious duties, and I am now grown extremely devout. I perform ablutions regularly, and am charitable. Why, then, am I not worthy of confidence?”
“So far, you see,” continued the Tiger, “I have an interest in wishing to give away to some one this golden bracelet from off my own wrist; and as thou appearest to be rather a poor man, I prefer giving it to thee; according to this saying:
“‘Make choice of the poor, and bestow not thy gifts on others.’ Then go, and having purified thyself in this stream, take the golden bracelet.”
The Traveller no sooner began to enter the river to purify himself, than he stuck fast in the mud, and was unable to escape. The Tiger told him he would help him out; and creeping softly toward him, the poor man was seized, and instantly exclaimed to himself: “Alas! the career of my heart is cut short by fate!”