A Panchtantra Story
What happens when you crave for more than what you actually need? Is it a good idea to keep what you really want to do for the last while you keep doing things that are quite unnecessary? These are some of the things Pandit Vishnu Sharma wanted his young scholar-princes to think about. So he told them the story of the fox who was too greedy and where his greed ultimately led him.
Once upon a time there lived a fox in the heart of a dense forest. He was too lazy for words and always tried to get hold of things killed by others. So he hid among the trees keeping track of hunters who came to the forest. Most of the times they would leave the dead creatures in a heap and go to the river for a drink of water and a wash. The lazy fox waited for just a chance like this. While the hunters were away he would cleverly make away with what he could carry – a rabbit, a wild fowl or some other small creature. It would provide food for a few days while he spent his time sleeping and resting.
So things went on until a hunter came to the forest chasing a big wild boar. The boar was strong and kept dashing about among the trees. But the hunter was equally determined to get him. So he followed the boar as he shot arrows. At first the arrows did not seem to hurt the boar at all. But finally he managed to touch a vital spot. The boar let out a wild scream and attacked the hunter. The hunter was not prepared for this and fell on the ground with a thud. The boar had injured him badly and the hunter was bleeding profusely. Before long both hunter and boar were dead.
The lazy fox had been watching the tussle with great interest. When he saw both the bodies lying still he could not believe his luck. Was he really going to have all that food?
Why, it would last him for weeks and months! But he was not sure that both were dead and decided to wait for a while to see if they would either groan or move. An injured boar or hunter would be far more dangerous than an ordinary one! But a whole hour passed and there was no sound from either. Nor did they move even an inch. “Aha! So they are mine” said the fox to himself as he danced in joy. The fox crept near the bodies and touched them. Yes, they were really dead, no doubt about that. So all he had to do now was to have a big feast until he could eat no more. And then rest for a while and feast once again. He could live like a king for days on end without having to move an inch.
As the fox came near the boar, ready to take a big bite, his mouth watered. He had not tasted a boar for a long time and he really loved the taste! Just then his eyes fell on the bow lying next to the dead boar’s body. It had fallen there from the hands of the dead hunter. The fox looked at the bow curiously. “I wonder how it tastes” he asked himself looking at the bowstring, “can’t be too bad since it seems to be made of dried skin. I’d better eat it first before starting on my big feast.” He tried to chew the string attached tightly to the bow and made a face. “Doesn’t have much taste! But of course it’s a pity to waste it. Let me eat this first them my real feast will last even longer.”
The fox tugged and pulled at the bowstring until it snapped and the sharp edge of the bow sprang up and pierced his heart killing the fox on the spot. That is what happens when one is too greedy!