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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 2,413 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3.

“Bhishma said, ’O Yudhishthira, this question is certainly worthy of thee.  Its answer is fraught with great happiness.  Listen to me, O son, as I declare to thee, O Bharata, all the duties generally known that should be practised in seasons of distress.  A foe becomes a friend and a friend also becomes a foe.  The course of human actions, through the combination of circumstances, becomes very uncertain.  As regards, therefore, what should be done and what should not, it is necessary that paying heed to the requirements of time and place, one should either trust one’s foes or make war.  One should, even exerting, one’s self to one’s best, make friends with men of intelligence and knowledge that desire one’s welfare.  One should make peace with even one’s foes, when, O Bharata, one’s life cannot otherwise be saved.  That foolish man who never makes peace with foes, never succeeds in winning any gain or acquiring any of those fruits for which others endeavour.  He again who makes peace with foes and quarrels with even friends after a full consideration of circumstances, succeeds in obtaining great fruits.  In this connection is cited the old story of the discourse between a cat and a mouse at the foot of a banian.’

“Bhishma continued, ’There was a large banian in the midst of an extensive forest.  Covered with many kinds of creepers, it was the resort of diverse kinds of birds.  It had a large trunk from which numerous branches extended in all directions.  Delightful to look at, the shade it afforded was very refreshing.  It stood in the midst of the forest, and animals of diverse species lived on it.  A mouse of great wisdom, named Palita, lived at the foot of that tree, having made a hole there with a hundred outlets.  On the branches of the tree there lived a cat, of the name of Lomasa, in great happiness, daily devouring a large number of birds.  Some time after, a Chandala came into the forest and built a hut for himself.  Every evening after sunset he spread his traps.  Indeed, spreading his nets made of leathern strings he went back to his hut, and happily passing the night in sleep, returned to the spot at the dawn of day.  Diverse kinds of animals fell into his traps every night.  And it so happened that one day the cat, in a moment of heedlessness, was caught in the snare.  O thou of great wisdom, when his foe the cat who was at all times an enemy of the mouse species was thus caught in the net, the mouse Palita came out of his hole and began to rove about fearlessly.  While trustfully roving through the forest in search of food, the mouse after a little while saw the meat (that the Chandala had spread there as lure).  Getting upon the trap, the little animal began to eat the flesh.  Laughing mentally, he even got upon his enemy entangled helplessly in the net.  Intent on eating the flesh, he did not mark his own danger, for as he suddenly cast his eyes he saw a terrible foe of his arrived at that spot.  That foe was none else than a restless mongoose of

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