The Panchatantra – Story 59


In a certain pond, there were two fishes called Thousand-wit and Hundred-wit. There was also a frog called Single-wit who was their close friend. They used to assemble at the shore every evening and have a small chat before entering the water again. One evening, when they were having their usual chat, they saw fishermen come with nets in hand. Seeing the pond, the fishermen said among themselves, ‘There is little water and much fish in this pond. So we shall come here in the morning and fish.’ So saying, they went home. Hearing these words, piercing as a thunderbolt, the three friends discussed the situation. The frog said, ‘ O, Thousand-wit and Hundred-wit, what shall we do now, flee from here or remain here ?’ Hearing this, Thousand-wit laughed and said, ‘ O, friend, don’t be frightened by mere words. The evil intentions of serpents, wicked persons and other villains do not always succeed. Hence this world continues to exist. These fishermen may, after all, not even come in the morning. Even if they come, I can save myself and you with the power of my intellect. I know many ways of moving in water.’ 

Hearing this. Hundred-wit said, ‘Thousand-wit has spoken well. There is nothing in this world impossible of achievement for men of intellect. Even the Nandas armed with swords were destroyed by Chanakya by the power of his intellect. 
The intellect of the wise penetrates quickly even places where wind and the rays of the sun have no access. So it is not proper that we should abandon our birthplace and the abode of our ancestors simply because we have heard the words of these fishermen. It has been said, “That happiness which one enjoys in the place of his birth, though imperfect, is not found even in Heaven where we are privileged to come into contact with celestial beings. “So we should never leave this pond. I shall protect you with the power of my intellect.” The frog said, ‘Friends, I am poor Single-wit, and my single wit tells me to run away from here forthwith. So I shall go to another pond to-day itself with my wife.’ So saying the frog went with his wife that night itself to another pond. 

The fishermen came the next morning, spread their nets in the pond and caught all the fishes, tortoises, frogs, crabs and other denizens of the water. Hundred-wit and Thousand-wit with their wives tried hard to escape with the aid of some special movements but were caught in the net and killed forthwith in order to avoid further trouble. The fishermen returned home in the afternoon extremely satisfied with the day’s catch. Owing to their heavy weight. Hundred-wit was carried by a fisherman on his shoulder, and Thousand-wit was carried by two persons slung on a piece of rope. Single-wit saw the fishermen go past and said to his wife, ‘Darling, see this. While Hundred-wit is carried aloft and Thousand-wit is hanging down, I, Single-wit, O beloved, am safely sporting in clear water.’ 

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