| Indian Fables|
|by P. V. Ramaswami Raju|
|An appealing collection of more than a hundred Indian fables that are delightful as well as short, pithy, and ingenious. Each fable has its separate moral in prose or rhyme; these are often epigrams of the shrewdest kind, full of wit and subtlety. Most of these fables are likely to be new to the majority of readers. In the characters of animals the same rules are observed as in Western fables. As the symbol of strength, the lion (or, in one or two instances, the tiger) is king, the fox is the symbol of cunning, the bear of inert power, the wolf of ferocity, the owl of assumed wisdom, and so forth. Ages 7-10 |
THE CRANE AND THE FOOL
IN the East there lived a fool, who went
one day to his fields and said, "I sowed a
month ago; should the crops stand two
 months more, I shall get three hundred
bushels of corn. But I am in a hurry, so
if I should reap now, I dare say I shall
have one hundred bushels at least."
A crane who heard his words said, "If
I were you, I should have all the three
hundred bushels this very day."
"How?" said the fool.
"Why," said the crane, "you stored up
water in the tank to feed the crops for
three months. A month has elapsed, so
water enough for two months more remains in the tank. Should you open the
sluices and let all the water flow into the
fields, you will have all the corn at once."
"Are you sure I shall have all the corn
at once?" said the fool.
"Oh, yes," said the crane, "there is not
the slightest doubt. My geographical
knowledge is extensive, for I have travelled over a great part of the world; so
you may depend on my world-wide knowledge and experience."
The fool then let all the water flow into
 the fields. The crane invited his kindred,
and they together ate all the big fish left
in the tank first, and then, hovering over
the fields, picked up all the small fish that
had gone out with the water. A great
portion of the crops was swept away; what
remained was soon buried in the mud.
The fool sat on the bank of the lake
and wept, saying, "The crane's geography
"My friend," said the crane, "my geography was as good as your arithmetic. It
is all the same whether you fall into the
ditch from this side or that?"
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