The Panchatantra – Story 49

THE ASS IN TIGER’S SKIN

There was a washer-man called Suddapata in a certain town. He had a donkey which had grown very weak from lack of fodder. One day, as the washer-man was wandering through a forest, he saw a dead tiger add tiger and thought : “Now, if I put this tiger’s skin on the donkey and let him loose in the fields at night, the farmers will mistake him for a tiger and will run away from him and he can eat the paddy crop to his fill and become stout and strong and carry my clothes easily.” He skinned the tiger and put its skin on the donkey and carried out his plan. 

The farmers were afraid to chase this donkey which they mistook to be a tiger, and the hungry donkey ate the paddy crop to his fill and, returned home every morning, at dawn, with a well-filled belly, he became so stout and strong that he could hardly go into his stables through the door. One day, as he was grazing at night, the donkey heard the cry of a she-donkey grazing at a distance. At that sound he became possessed by lust for her and began to bray. The farmers recognized him from his braying to be merely a donkey in tiger’s skin, and killed him with innumerable blows with sticks, stones and arrows. 

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