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THE ASS IN A TIGER’S SKIN

IN the city of Hastinapura there once dwelt a Washerman named Vilasa. This Washerman had a Jackass which had grown so weak from carrying too heavy loads, that he looked as though he would soon die. His master covered the sick animal with a Tiger’s skin, and turned him loose in a corn field, which lay along the edge of a jungle. The owners of the field, from time to time, caught a glimpse of the Ass from a distance; but thinking that he was a Tiger which had wandered out of the jungle, they ran away. But one day, the watchman who guarded the field disguised himself with a covering of grey cloth; and armed with a bow and arrow, crept into one end of the field on his hands and knees. The Ass, now once more fat and lively from the strength given him by daily feeding upon the corn, said to himself:

“That grey thing over there looks to me like one of my own kind, perhaps a young female Ass. I will go over and get acquainted.” Hereupon, he galloped eagerly toward the watchman, lifting up his voice as he went. The braying told the watchman that, instead of a Tiger, this was nothing but a Jackass, and in his disgust at having had his trouble for nothing, he drew his bow and shot him through the heart.

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