Shishu Sansaar | Stories-Panchtantra
|6-Camel With a Bell Around His Neck|
6-Camel With a Bell Around His Neck
So the Monkey told the Crocodile the Story of "A Camel with a Bell Around His Neck" -
"In a certain town, there lived a cart-maker, by the name of Ujjwalak. As he got no work to build any cart, he became very poor and he thought to himself, "To hell with this poverty, All the other people in this town are engaged in one job or the other but I don't get any suitable work. Everybody else owns four-storied buildings whilst I don't even have a proper home to live in. What is the use of staying here!" So, the cart-maker and his family left the town to settle somewhere else.
On the way, whilst they were still deep in the jungle, the sun set. Suddenly, the cart-maker saw a female camel, suffering from labor pains. She had been left behind by a caravan. Soon, she gave birth to a baby camel, The cart-maker tied the female with a rope. fetched a sharp hatchet and went to cut fresh tender leaves for her to eat. He put them in front of her and slowly she started feeding on them.
"Next morning, when the female camel had partly recovered, the cart-maker took her and the baby came with him to his new home. Under his proper care, the female camel fully recovered and the baby grew to full size. Fondly, the cart-maker tied a bell round the young camel's neck.
"Everyday he would sell the female camel's milk and in this way, supported his family. Then, he thought to himself, "Why should I take to any other profession, when I can well support my family merely by looking after camels and selling milk?" So, he said to his wife, "My dear, this business is profitable. If you agree, I shall borrow some money from some wealthy person and go to Gujaraat to buy a young female camel. Whilst I am away, please look after these two." His wife said "OK".
So, the cart-maker went to Gujaraat and returned home after buying a young female camel. Fortune smiled on him and, in due course, he was the owner of quite a number of camels. He employed a servant to look after them and paid him one baby camel every year in return for his services. He also gave him free camel milk everyday to drink. And so the cart-maker lived happily, looking after the camels and their young, and subsequently selling them.
"Every morning, the camels would graze in the jungle near by and eat tender creepers and other good things. Then they would go to drink water from a big lake and afterwards return home, playing light-heartedly on the way.
"Now this camel, with a bell round his neck, was conceited and used to trail behind the other camels, all on his own. When the others noticed this, they said, "This foolish fellow always strays away and walks behind us, with his bell ringing. This makes him very vulnerable. One day he'll get into the clutches of a vicious beast and get himself killed." They all scolded him for walking like this and tried to make him understand, but he took no notice of them.
"One day, a lion heard the ringing of a bell in the jungle. He followed the sound and saw a caravan of young camels moving ahead. They were going to drink water from a lake. But the one camel, with a bell round his neck, had strayed behind, all alone and was still grazing. The others finished drinking and started off for home. This camel now began to stray in every direction and he lost his way. The lion followed the sound of the ringing bell, overtook the camel and stood hiding in his path. When the camel came near enough, the lion sprang at him, struck him in the neck and killed him."
"And so," continued the monkey, "that's why I said: "He who, out of conceit, does not follow the good advice of virtuous people, shall certainly be destroyed as the camel, with a bell round his neck, was by the lion."
When the crocodile heard this story, he said to the monkey, "Friend! Those well versed in the Shaastra say: "If you walk seven steps together with a man, you become his friend. So in the name of this friendship of ours, listen to what I am going to tell you: "Those who wish you well and give you good advice, will not astray, either in this world or in the next. And so, although I have been ungrateful, please do give me a bit of advice. As they say: Whatever value has good, if it is only good to return for good, but when a man returns good for evil, he is called great by the wise ones."
When the monkey heard this, he said, "Oh, very well then, if that's the case, I will advise you that go and fight with him. If you do this, you are benefited either way. If you get killed, you will go to heaven, but if you win the fight, you not only have your home back but you get other people's admiration as well. As Mahaa Chaturak, the jackal, said: "Bow before the great, pit two brave opponents against each other, give small presents to the mean, and fight with the equally powerful."
"How was that?" asked the crocodile. And the monkey told him the story of the Jackal, the Lion, the Leopard, and the Tiger.
Created by Sushma Gupta on August 9, 2007
Modified on 05/06/13