| 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 FOX IN THE WELL
A FOX fell into a well, and was holding
hard to some roots at the side of it, just
above the water. A wolf who was passing
by saw him, and said, "Hollo, Reynard, after all you have fallen into a
"But not without a purpose, and not
without the means of getting out of it,"
said the fox.
 "What do you mean?" said the wolf.
THE FOX IN THE WELL
"Why," said the fox, "there is a drought
all over the country now, and the water in
this well is the only means of appeasing
the thirst of the thousands that live in this
neighbourhood. They held a meeting, and
requested me to keep the water from going
down lower; so I am holding it up for the
"What will be your reward?" said the
"They will give me a pension, and save
me the trouble of going about every day
in quest of food, not to speak of innumerable
other privileges that will be granted
me. Further, I am not to stay here all
day. I have asked a kinsman of mine, to
whom I have communicated the secret of
holding up the water, to relieve me from
time to time. Of course he will also get
a pension, and have other privileges. I
expect him here shortly."
"Ah, Reynard, may I relieve you, then?
May I hope to get a pension, and other
 privileges? You know what a sad lot is
mine, especially in winter."
"Certainly," said the fox; "but you
must get a long rope, that I may come up
and let you in."
So the wolf got a rope. Up came the
fox, and down went the wolf, when the
former observed, with a laugh, "My dear
sir, you may remain there till doomsday,
or till the owner of the well throws up
your carcass," and left the place.
"Alas!" said the wolf, when it was too
late, "greed hath its meed!"
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