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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

[1]Marked with white spots.

[2]Low-minded, mean-spirited, bad-hearted.

The Lion, the Mouse, and the Cat

The master should never be rendered free from apprehension by his servants, for a servant having quieted the fears of his master may experience the fate of Dahdikarna.[1]

Upon the mountain Arbuda-sikhara, there was a Lion, whose name was Maliavikrama[2] the tips of whose mane a Mouse was wont to gnaw, as he slept in his den.  The noble beast, having discovered that his hair was bitten, was very much displeased; and as he was unable to catch the offender, who always slipped into his hole, he meditated what was best to be done; and having resolved, said he: 

“Whoso hath a trifling enemy, who is not to be overcome by dint of valour, should employ against him a force of his own likeness.”

With a review of this saying, the Lion repaired to the village, and by means of a piece of meat thrown into his hole, with some difficulty caught a Cat, whose name was Dadhikarna.  He carried him home, and the Mouse for some time being afraid to venture out, the Lion remained with his hair unnipped.  At length, however, the Mouse was so oppressed with hunger, that creeping about he was caught and devoured by the Cat.  The Lion now, no longer hearing the noise of the Mouse, thought he had no further occasion for the services of the Cat, and so began to be sparing of his allowance; and, in consequence, poor Puss pined away and died for want.  Wherefore, I say:  “The master should never be rendered free from apprehension by his servants.”

[1]Whose ears are the colour of curds.

[2]Great courage.

The Poor Woman and the Bell

It is not proper to be alarmed by a mere sound, when the cause of that sound is unknown.  A poor woman obtaineth consequence for discovering the cause of a sound.

Between the mountains Sree-parvata there is a city called Brahma-puree, the inhabitants of which used to believe that a certain giant, whom they called Ghautta-Karna, infested one of the adjacent hills.

The fact was thus:  A thief, as he was running away with a Bell he had stolen, was overcome and devoured by a tiger; and the Bell falling from his hand having been picked up by some monkeys, every now and then they used to ring it.  Now the people of the town finding that a man had been killed there, and at the same time hearing the Bell, used to declare that the giant Ghautta-Karna being enraged, was devouring a man, and ringing his Bell; so that the city was abandoned by all the principal inhabitants.  At length, however, a certain Poor Woman having considered the subject, discovered that the Bell was rung by the monkeys.

She accordingly went to the Rajah, and said: 

“If, divine sir, I may expect a very great reward, I will engage to silence this Ghautta-Karna.”

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