The Panchatantra – Story 57


There were once four Brahmins who were intimate friends. Three of them were learned in all the sciences but were devoid of commonsense. The fourth was not learned but had abundant commonsense. All the four met together one day and said among themselves, ‘What is the use of learning if we do not go to foreign countries and, by pleasing the Kings there, earn presents ? So let us go abroad.’ 

Accordingly, they all set out. When they had gone some way? the oldest among them said, ‘ One among us is an unlearned man gifted only with commonsense. No King will give any reward for mere commonsense without learning. Nor can the other three be expected to give him a share of their earnings. So let him return home’. The second learned man said to the man of commonsense ‘You have no learning. So go home.’ The third learned man however, said, ‘It is improper on our part to ask him to return home thus. All of us four have been friends from our childhood and have played together and moved together. So let this noble friend continue to accompany us. We shall give him a portion of our earnings.’ The other two agreed and all the four resumed their journey. 

Soon they came to a forest and saw the bones of a dead lion. Then one of the learned men said, ‘Now we can test the arts we have learnt. By the power of our learning we shall make this creature once more alive. I can put all the bones in their places; The second learned man said, I can supply the skin, flesh and blood; The third said, If both of you do these, I can infuse life into the animal again; Then the first learned man put the bones in place and the second supplied the skin, flesh and blood.

The third was about to infuse life into the animal when the unlearned man of commonsense said, ‘This is a lion. If you make it alive again, it will kill all of us. So desist.’ The learned man replied, ‘Fie! you fool! I am not going to make my learning remain fruitless and unproved when the others have proved theirs. Then the commonsense man said, ‘Be it so. But, pray, wait one moment while I climb up this adjoining tree.’ So saying, he forthwith climbed up the tree. As soon as he had done it. the learned man made the lion live again. The lion rose up with a roar and forthwith killed the three learned fools who had created it. The man of commonsense got down from the tree when the lion had departed and reached his house safe.

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