FablesPanchatantra

The Lion and the Carpenter

In a certain city lived a carpenter named Trust-good. It was his constant habit to carry his lunch and go with his wife into the forest, where he cut great Anjana(A type of tree) logs. Now in that forest lived a lion named Spotless, who had as hangers-on two carnivorous creatures, a jackal and a crow.

One day the lion was roaming the wood alone and encountered the carpenter. The carpenter for his part, on beholding that most alarming lion, whether considering himself already lost or perhaps with the ready wit to perceive that it is safer to face the powerful, advanced to meet the lion, bowed low, and said: “Come, friend, come! Today you must eat my own dinner which my wife – your brother’s wife – has provided.”

“My good fellow,” said the lion, “being carnivorous, I do not live on rice. But in spite of that, I will have a taste, since I take a fancy to you. What kind of dainty have you got?”

When the lion had spoken, the carpenter stuffed him with all kinds of dainties – buns, muffins, chewers, and things, all flavoured with sugar, butter, grape juice, and spice. And to show his gratitude, the lion guaranteed his safety and granted unhindered passage through the forest.

Then the carpenter said: “Comrade, you must come here every day, but please come alone. You must not bring anyone else to visit me.” In this manner, they spent their days in friendship. And the lion, since every day he received such hospitality, such a variety of goodies, gave up the practice of hunting.

Then the jackal and the crow, who lived on others’ luck, went hungry, and they implored the lion.

“Master,” they said, “where do you go every day? And tell us why you come back so happy.”

“I don’t go anywhere,” said he. But when they urged the question with great deference, the lion said: “A friend of mine comes into this wood every day. His wife cooks the most delicious things, and I eat them every day, in order to show a friendly feeling.”

Then the jackal and the crow said: “We two will go there, will kill the carpenter, and have enough meat and blood to keep us fat for a long time.” But the lion heard them and said: “Look here! I guaranteed his safety. How can I even imagine playing him such a scurvy trick? But I will get a delicious titbit from him for you also.” To this they agreed. So the three started to find the carpenter. While they were still far off, the carpenter caught a glimpse of the lion and his seedy companions, and he thought: “This does not look prosperous to me.” So he and his wife made haste to climb a tree.

Then the lion came up and said: “My good fellow, why did you climb a tree when you saw me? Why, I am your friend, the lion. My name is Spotless. Do not be alarmed.”

But the carpenter was scared and did not trust the lion. He said to the lion that he does not like his friends and Lion had to go back.

It teaches us that “A king with shabby advisers brings no good to his dependents”.

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