The Panchatantra – Story 62

CASTLES IN THE AIR

In a certain town, there was a Brahmin called Swabhavakripana (The name means a stingy man). One day, he was invited for a ceremony and given an excellent meal and a mud pot full of rice flour. He returned after meals at midday and rested on the way under a shady banyan tree. He tied the pot to a low lying branch and lay down underneath, eyeing the pot eagerly. There was a cool breeze blowing, and the Brahmin began in his drowsy stage to build castles in the air. He said to himself, ‘If a famine were to come, as is by no means improbable, I can get a hundred silver pieces by selling this pot of flour. With the money got thus, I can buy two she-goats. Every six months they will bring forth young. Soon there will be a flock of goats. By selling some of these I shall buy some cows. The cows will bring forth young every year. I shall sell some cows and calves and buy some buffaloes. The buffaloes will increase in number, I shall sell some and buy mates. The mares will bring forth young and I shall soon have a herd of horses. By selling the horses I shall get enough gold to build a fine mansion with rooms on all sides and a spacious courtyard in the middle. 

Seeing my house, horses and cattle, some rich Brahmin will come to my house and offer his handsome daughter in marriage. My wife will in ten months deliver a son and I shall name him Somasarma. When the child is crawling on his knees, I shall take a book and be reading it, sitting behind the stables of the horses. Seeing me, Somasarma will get down from his mother’s lap and approach near the horses’ hoofs in his attempt to crawl on his knees to me. I shall then call my wife angrily. “Take the child away, take the child away.” She, being engaged in house-hold work, will not hear my words. Then I shall rise and beat her with a stick thus.’ Saying this, the Brahmin dealt a lusty blow with his stick straight in front of him. The blow fell on the pot of rice flour and broke it into several pieces, scattering the flour in all directions and throwing a good lot on the Brahmin’s head and shoulders. 

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