| 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 PEACOCK AND THE TORTOISE
ON a cloudy day, a peacock was dancing
on a lawn by the side of a lake. A tortoise, in the lake, addressed the peacock
thus "Sir Peacock, how I should like to
be with you dancing on the green turf!"
" Sir Tortoise," said the peacock, "I do
not think you would be safe, if you were
to leave the water, and to come to dance
with me. Further, your short legs and
heavy appearance would not enable you
to cut a good figure at dancing."
" I see," said the tortoise, "you are very
proud of your fine feathers and gait; but
 you must remember, that my shell is also
as beautifully coloured; and that my gait,
though not so quick and graceful, is yet
slow and steady."
The peacock replied, "I am very sorry
to have displeased you, Sir Tortoise; but,
if you wish to come and dance with me,
unmindful of the danger of leaving the
water, you are welcome."
The tortoise came out of the lake, and
stood by the side of the peacock, in his
own awkward manner; and the two were
preparing to dance together. Just then a
hunter, who was passing by the pond, observing the scene, approached the animals.
The peacock flew up a tree, and safely
perched on its top; but the tortoise, before
he could reach the pond, was laid on his
back and killed by the hunter.
The peacock cried mournfully, "Sir
Tortoise, you now see how dangerous
it is to get into difficulties from which we
cannot easily escape"
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