The Panchatantra Book IV, Vishnu Sharma
The Panchatantra Book IV
Vishnu Sharma
1:07 h Children Lvl 3.74
The Panchatantra ("Five Treatises") is an ancient Indian collection of interrelated animal fables in Sanskrit verse and prose, arranged within a frame story. The text's author has been attributed to Vishnu Sharma in some recensions and Vasubhaga in others, both of which may be pen names. The Panchatantra is a series of inter-woven fables, many of which deploy metaphors of anthropomorphized animals with human virtues and vices. The book four of the Panchatantra is a simpler compilation of ancient moral-filled fables. They teach messages such as "a bird in hand is worth two in the bush". They caution the reader to avoid succumbing to peer pressure and cunning intent wrapped in soothing words. The book is different from the first three, in that the earlier books give positive examples of ethical behavior offering examples and actions "to do". In contrast, book four presents negative examples with consequences, offering examples and actions "to avoid, to watch out for".

The Panchatantra

by
Vishnu Sharma


Book IV

Loss of Gains

Here, then, begins Book IV, called “Loss of Gains.” The first verse runs:

Blind folly always has to pay
For giving property away
Because of blandishments and guile —
The monkey tricked the crocodile.

“How was that?” asked the princes. And Vishnusharman told the story of THE MONKEY AND THE CROCODILE.


The Monkey and the Crocodile

On the shore of the sea was a great rose-apple tree that was never without fruit. In it lived a monkey named Red-Face.

Now one day a crocodile named Ugly-Mug crawled out of the ocean under the tree and burrowed in the soft sand. Then Red-Face said: “You are my guest, sir. Pray eat these rose-apples which I throw you. You will find them like nectar. You know the proverb:

A fool or scholar let him be,
Pleasant or hideous to see,
A guest, when offerings are given,
Is useful as a bridge to heaven.

Ask not his home or education,
His family or reputation,
But offer thanks and sacrifice:
For so prescribes the lawbook wise.

And again:

By honoring the guests who come
Wayworn from some far-distant home
To share the sacrifice, you go
The noblest way that mortals know.

And once again:

If guests unhonored leave your door,
And sadly sighing come no more,
Your fathers and the gods above
Turn from you and forget their love.”

Thus he spoke and offered rose-apples. And the crocodile ate them and enjoyed a long and pleasant conversation with the monkey before returning to his home. So the monkey and the crocodile rested each day in the shade of the rose-apple tree. They spent the time in cheerful conversation on various subjects, and were happy.

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