The Panchatantra – Story 26

MICE FREE ELEPHANTS

In a forest there lay the ruins of a big temple with a fine tank in front of it. The temple ruins had become the abode of hundreds of thousands of Mice which burrowed holes and lived there in comfort. But, when a drought came, an elephant king with his herd of elephants went to that tank in search of water. They went through the temple ruins to reach the tank, and crushed to death thou- sands of mice and mutilated several thousands more. The mice held a council and went in deputation to the elephant king and requested him to take another path when going and returning from the tank. ” Have mercy on us, and grant our request,” said they. Bhutadaya or kindness towards all creatures, is the very key of life. Besides,, even though small and insignificant, even we, mice, may one day be of some service to you.” The elephant king laughed at the idea but conceded their request, and he and his followers took another route to the tank, away from the abodes of the mice. And the mice flourished as before. 

Some time later, a neighbouring King came to know that the elephant king and his herd were frequenting that lake. He sent his expert trappers to lay a water trap and catch the elephants. Most of them were caught and firmly bound. The jubilant trappers went to inform the King about their success. The elephants were dismayed. But, the elephant King remembered the remark of the mice deputation and sent a female elephant, which was free, to tell the mice. The mice went and saw the plight of the elephants. Their leaders set to work with their followers, and, in a very short time, snapped the bonds of the elephants with their strong teeth. The King of the elephants thanked the mice and told his followers, ” Make friends, make friends, however strong you are. The humblest of creatures as friends, may aid you in your distress.” 

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