He who, judging by what passeth in his own breast, believeth a knave to be a person of veracity, is deceived; as the Brahmin was concerning his Goat.
In a certain forest, a Brahmin, having determined to make an offering, went to a neighbouring village and purchased a Goat, which having thrown across his shoulder, he turned toward home. As he was travelling along, he was perceived by three thieves. “If,” said they, “we could by some artifice get the Goat from that man, it would be a great proof of our address.”
Saying this, they agreed upon their stratagem, and executed it in this manner: They stationed themselves before the Brahmin, and sat down under the trees in the road which led to his habitation, till he should come up to them. Soon after, he was accosted by one of them in this manner: “Is not that a dog? Brahmin, what is the reason thou carriest it upon thy shoulder?” The Brahmin replied: “No, it is not a dog; it is a Goat, which I have purchased to make an offering of.” About a mile farther on he met another of them, who repeating the same question, he took the Goat from his shoulder, and putting it upon the ground, examined it again and again; and at length, replacing it upon his shoulder, he went on, quite staggered as it were, for:
The minds even of good men are staggered by the arguments of the wicked; but those who place confidence in them may suffer by it.
At length the Brahmin, having heard the third thief, like the former two, insist upon it that he had a dog upon his shoulder, was convinced that it was indeed a dog; and so, leaving his Goat behind him, which the thieves presently took away and made a feast of, the good man washed himself and went home. Whence, I say, “He who, judging by what passeth in his own breast, believeth a knave to be a person of veracity, is deceived.”
“These simple children’s stories have lived on, and maintained their place of honour and their undisputed sway in every schoolroom of the East and every nursery of the West.”
FABLES FROM INDIA
The Lion, the Fox, and the Story-teller
A Lion who was the king of a great forest once said to his subjects: “I want some one among you to tell me stories one after another without ceasing. If you fail to find somebody who can so amuse me, you will all be put to death.”
In the East there is a proverb which says; “The king kills when he will,” so the animals were in great alarm.
The Fox said: “Fear not; I shall save you all. Tell the king the Story-teller is ready to come to court when ordered.” So the animals had orders to send the Story-teller at once to the presence. The Fox bowed respectfully, and stood before the king, who said: “So you are to tell us stories without ceasing?”