The Panchatantra – Story 36

THE BRAHMIN, THIEF AND OGRE

There was once a poor Brahmin in a certain village. He lived on the gifts he got. He had few luxuries. He did not even have money enough to have a shave every day, or to have his nails pared, Heat and cold, wind and rain and lack of proper nourishment dried him up. One day, a rich man, who had lost his father, gifted this Brahmin two calves for the departed soul’s benefit. The Brahmin tended them carefully on fine grass and gave them good nourishment and made them very plump.

They soon grew up to be hand some cows. A thief had his eye on them and wanted to steal them. As he was approaching the house, he saw an ogre, with sharp protruding teeth and large eyes and hollow cheeks. The thief was frightened at this sight and asked him: ” Who are you. Sir?” The ogre said, “I am an ogre going to that Brahmin’s house in order to eat him up. Who are you?” The thief said that he was a thief going to the Brahmin’s house to steal his cows. Then they both proceeded to the Brahmin’s house and hid in a convenient place inside, waiting for an opportunity to start their operations. When the Brahmin went to sleep, the ogre rose in order to go and eat him. The thief said to him : “Wait a minute, let me steal his cows before you eat him up and raise an alarm.” The ogre said : ” Let me do the eating first. If you do the stealing first, an alarm will be raised, and my eating will be frustrated.” 

They both began to argue long and loud as to who was to move first and achieve his object. The hubbub woke up the Brahmin. The thief cried out to him : “Brahmin, this ogre wants to eat you up.” The ogre said: “Brahmin, this thief wants to steal your cows.” The Brahmin then uttered a mantra and made the ogre flee. He raised a shout and took a club and rushed at the thief who fled to save himself. 

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