Shishu Sansaar | Stories-Panchtantra
There lived a king of frogs named Gangaadatt in a well. His relatives were are inimical to him and in spite of all his attempts to conciliate them, the enmity was growing and he was impatient and eager to wreak vengeance on them. Once when someone had put a wick basket into the well for some purpose and was dragging it back to the land, he jumped in and reached on the surface of the earth.
While sighing with relief for having escaped from the relatives who were finding fault with him always, he thought, "I want to get even with the relatives who have tormented me. It is akin to gain a second life for oneself if he is able to retaliate for the insults heaped on him when his time was bad."
While thinking so, he saw a cobra entering his hole nearby. One idea stuck him like a flash. If this cobra is led to the inside of the well, he will do the needful to finish off my offending relatives. It is always a good idea to turn one stronger enemy against another and thus one can ensure the destruction of at least one of the enemies, without any personal exertion. If a thorn has stuck into one's leg, that thorn can be removed only by using another thorn.
He slowly approached
the entrance of the hole, and called the cobra.. "My dear beautiful black
cobra, please come out. I am calling you to offer you a favor."
So after protracted
deliberation, the snake called back - "Who are you who is calling me?
The cobra was wonderstruck, he said - "Oh my goodness, what is this? It is indeed incredible. Is it possible that the dried grass will come seeking the friendship of fire? By nature, you are my food. How come that you are rambling incoherently like this?"
The frog replied - "It is true, Sir. Judging by species you are a natural enemy for me. But I have come to you after incurring insufferable insult at the hands of some people. When I am faced with destruction and humiliation, is it not right on my part to approach even an enemy for friendship, offering some quid pro quo in return?"
"Tell me who caused you insult?" asked the cobra.
The snake said - "How unfortunate, I cannot enter a well. We snakes do not have legs. And even if I manage to reach there I cannot come out so easily. Where can I reside inside the well? So you please get out of here. I am interested in my own welfare. So I will try to eat only those things which can be digested by my stomach with comfort."
The frog replied - "Do not despair, Sir. I have already found ways and means to introduce you into the well. There is a beautiful hole along the stone paving of the well ideal for your residence. So sitting there, without any physical effort, you can eat away all my relatives one by one."
The snake thought - "I have already grown old. I am just keeping my body and soul together by catching some lean rat once in a while. This wretched frog who is the enemy of his own clan has now shown me a way to live in comfort with breakfast, lunch and dinner are readily provided in the shape of fat frogs, that too without any exertion on my part."
So he told the frog
king - "Friend, go ahead and show me the way."
The Cobra replied in mock anger - "What is this? You are my friend and benefactor and all those who are close to you are like my own life. How can I think of giving trouble to them? You just identify them. I will never cross their way."
The snake came out of the hole and gave a friendly hug to the frog. Both set out to the place where the well was situated. Both of them occupied the wick basket and reached the residence of the king of frogs well in time and in good shape. From there Gangaadatt led the snake to the comfortable abode inside the well premises. He identified his enemies-cum-kinsmen very meticulously and true to his words, the Cobra made breakfast, lunch or dinner of them one by one with constant regularity.
Finally, all the enemies-cum-kinsmen of Gangaadatt, the king of frogs, became sheer memory only. And when Gangaadatt felt that the mission was successfully completed, he called upon his friend the snake, and after thanking him profusely for the meritorious services rendered, told him. Now my sweet friend, you can go back to your old hole. I shall inform you when the wick basket comes down the next time."
The cobra could not conceal his displeasure - "Gangaadatt my friend, I cannot endorse your views. How can I go back to my old hole? It would have been already occupied by now by someone else during my fairly long absence. So I suggest that you just identify your close relatives one by one so that I can have my food at regular intervals. If you are not agreeable to this proposition, I shall be left with no choice other than eating all of you in a single bunch, and proceed further as I may deem appropriate. (Please listen to the voice of the bureaucratic boss for the first time)
Poor Gangaadatt thought - "It was foolish on my part to invite the nuisance of a snake to punish my relatives. But he is very powerful. If I try to defy him, he will eat all of us together with immediate effect. So it is better to offer him for food my dear relatives one by one, like paying installments to a taxman. This way I may be able to save at least my closest kin. I do hope he will not try to eat me or my wife and children as he is a close friend of mine. If the destruction of everything is in sight and there is no way to defend all, it is better to offer some sops and try to get away with it."
So accordingly, he identified his brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and in-laws (that is nice anyway) one by one for the breakfast, lunch and dinner of the long lean friend. And the snake would eat the frog's relatives offered for dinner with a flourish and then as if taking some bonus, would eat away other relatives in the sly. There is no wonder about this. Only a person wearing clean clothes need to worry about the cleanliness of the table and chair he occupies. For a fellow mired in muck everything is according to law. A man with no character is the most free person in this world. He need not worry about anything. One cannot make dirty a post which is already covered with oily soot.
And finally, after gobbling up all the relatives of Gangaadatt, the king of frogs, the snake made a breakfast of young Yamunaadatt, the darling son of the Royal frog. When the senior frog learnt about this, he started beating his head and crying. He could not control his tears.
Finally the snake ate up the queen frog as well as the other prince frogs also. All that was left was the old man. Quite unlike humans and especially bureaucrats some trace of sense of propriety was left in the snake. Even he could not think of eating his friend the elderly frog Gangaadatt. However, he sent a note of warning to the frog - "I am now really hungry and no food is left. You may do the needful, or may face the consequences."
Now some good sense dawned upon the frog. He replied with a lot of diplomacy - "Sir, It is quite unthinkable that you should starve when I am alive. I will find some ways and means. I think the proper action to be taken by me in this case is that I should visit some other well, and talk to the frog occupants there and persuade them to visit this well and then you can finish the story by affixing proper dots and dashes in the script wherever necessary." Saying this, the frog alighted the wick basket when it came down the next time. He never looked back.
It was a period of very hungry wait for the snake. Days converted themselves into months but nothing was to be heard from the frog. The anxiety coupled with hunger made the snake desperate. But the snake was now weak and he did not have any means of getting out of the well. So he approached the Lady Iguana (Udumbu) which was residing in the same well in the next apartment hole. He requested her to go out in search of the frog and deliver to him an urgent summons from his dear old friend, requesting the king of frogs to come back immediately with his contingent of fresh frogs. After a lot of persuasion and entreaties from the snake, the Lady Iguana went out and found the frog somewhere and delivered the message of the snake.
The frog replied - "My fair lady, please pay my best compliments to my dear old friend, Priyadarshan, the snake, and tell him that I am constrained not to pay a visit to him as my life will be in peril. Please tell him that a desperate person like the snake who is in hunger and penury will not hesitate to do anything, and therefore I am not in a position to accept his hospitality in inviting me back to the well."
Saying thus, Gangaadatt, the King of frogs bolted.
One should be quite clever enough to take his work even from his enemies and then to save himself from him also, as after all he is his enemy.
Created by Sushma Gupta on August 9, 2007
Modified on 05/06/13