The Panchatantra stories are a delight to read. They are simple short stories but have pearls of wisdom hidden inside. Here are a few stories from the Panchatantra for you to enjoy!
The Friends and the Hunter
Once upon a time, there lived a deer, a crow, a rat and a turtle in a big, green forest. They were close friends living happily. One beautiful day, the deer was peacefully grazing the sweet grass, when he stepped on something.
The deer was helplessly stuck in a trap. The greedy hunter hiding a little farther was delighted by the sound. He started walking to see what he had caught. Just then, the deer’s friends were passing by and froze in shock when thy saw the deer. They immediately hatched a plan.
The deer lay still and silent, looking dead. The crow and its tribe added the drama by sitting on the deer and poking it with their beaks, making it look like he was really dead. From afar, it looked like the hunter had caught a dead deer.
The hunter stopped for a moment, thinking what to do. Right then, his eye caught a big turtle crawling slowly. ‘I’ve missed the deer, but the turtle would be good too,’ he thought, preparing to trap the turtle. In this gap of distraction, the rat managed to free his dear friend and they all escaped, living happily ever after.
Moral: Team Work can bring about great results!
Crows and the Cobra
A tribe of crows lived happily up in the trees in a dense forest somewhere. They woke up early every morning, searched for nutritious food for their little ones and returned in the evening. All was well, until suddenly – some of the crows started reporting missing eggs. One by one, eggs began reducing in number, much to the panic of the elder crows. A wise crow decided to get to the heart of the matter.
He hid behind a big tree with steely resolve and waited patiently. As the gentle breeze rustled leaves, he saw a sneaky cobra crawling up the nests, gobbling up young ones. The elder crow was outraged but decided that he was no match for the big venous creature. And so decided to plot another plan.
Off flew the elder crow away from the forest in the direction of the magnificent palace. From behind the silk curtains, it grabbed the shiniest necklace it could find.
‘Eeeek!’ shrieked the queen. The palace was in chaos. Guards were sent in all directions to get back the necklace in any way they can.
With the armed guards chasing it, the crow promptly flew back to the tree and dropped the necklace into Cobra’s house. The cobra came out of the hollow tree trunk with a beautiful necklace shining on it – he was baffled.
The guards beat the cobra black and blue and went their way with the necklace. The crow looked happily as the cobra scurried away to find a new home. That was the last time the crows saw the cobra.
MORAL: If you don’t have strength, use your wit to defeat the enemy.
The Elephant and the Ant
Once upon a time, a big arrogant elephant lived in the forest. He was mighty and enjoyed disturbing all the other animals. He broke the small houses of the rabbits, stomped the gardens of the deers and shook the branches of trees to scare the birds.
One day, a little ant went on a picnic to the forest. She was outraged by the atrocity of the elephant. She walked right up to him and said, ‘Elephant. What you are doing is wrong. Stop disturbing your friends now!’
‘HAHAHA!’ laughed the elephant with his big belly bouncing, ‘You tiny critters are not my friends. You are my toys’, he said, swooshing the ant away. The angry ant decided to teach the elephant a lesson.
She quietly clung onto his tail and hid deep inside his ear. She gathered all her might and bit him hard.
‘Ow!’ cried the elephant, doubling down in pain. He shook his head, scratched his ears and hit his head against the ground, but the pain didn’t go away.
There came another bite!
The elephant was crying already. The sweet ant came out of the ear and calmed the big creature. The elephant had understood the lesson – he behaved well and respected everyone after that.
Moral: Do not cause harm to others.
The King and the World
Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom lived a vain king. He was so used to luxury that he ordered only the best be served to him. One day, the king had an emergency. He had to travel somewhere. So, the kind set off on his horse.
When getting down the horse, the rocky road was uncomfortable to the king’s feet. He immediately gathered his ministers and ordered them to cover the entire kingdom in soft leather for him to walk.
The ministers left quietly not knowing what to do. They were worried about the number of animals they needed to kill to make that much leather.
A wise old minister then boldly stepped up and said, ‘Your Majesty! Why don’t you wear shoes made of soft leather? That way you can save unnecessary trouble!’
On hearing this, the king was ashamed of himself to see how selfish and blind he had been. He immediately changed his ways and became a good caring ruler.
Moral: To make this world comfortable, change yourself, not the world.
The grandpa and the Child
Once upon a time, an old man lived with his son, daughter in law and little grandson in a hut near the hillside. The old man was fragile; he spilled his drink due to shaking hands; he knocked things off due to his failing sight. This caused a lot of extra work for the parents. Fed up, they decided to abandon him on the hill. The so started making a wooden basket to carry his father uphill.
The little grandson was watching everything. He too started collecting pieces of wood and nails. The father asked the little boy, ‘Son, what are you doing?’ The boy replied, ‘I’m making a basket for you. I’ll carry you up the hill to leave you in this basket when you grow old!’
The father was shocked hearing this. He repented and apologized for his mistakes and lived happily with his father ever after.
Moral: As you sow, so shall you reap.
The Shepherd and The Wolf
Once upon a time, there lived a shepherd. He took his flock of sheep to graze in the pastures every day and brought them back home safely. One day, the shepherd got bored and decided to play a trick on the villagers.
He mustered all his strength and shouted, ‘Wolf! Wolf!’
The villagers rushed with big sticks and stones to drive the wolf away, but there was no wolf – only the laughing shepherd. The villagers went back angrily. The shepherd did the same mischief another day too, enjoying a good laugh at the expense of the villagers.
One fine day, the shepherd drove the sheep as usual to the pastures. Suddenly he heard a goat bleating in pain. A wolf had bitten it and was attacking another sheep. Panicked, he shouted, ‘Wolf! Wolf!’, but no one came. The villagers thought that the shepherd was trying to fool them again and ignored him. The wolf attacked one sheep after another, he lost many of his sheep that day and learned a valuable lesson.
Moral: Those who fool others will one day be fooled themselves.
The Mystery Seed
Once upon a time, a righteous king ruled over a vast kingdom. He was noble, wise and just, but unfortunately had no heir to whom he could leave his kingdom to after he died. This worried him a lot. One day, the king announced that a competition was to be held and the winner would be crowned the next king. The youngsters of the kingdom were delighted and hurried to the royal palace, excited.
The king handed a mystery seed to each of the participants. Whoever grew the biggest and most beautiful plant and nourished it would be the next ruler. The participants went back happily with their seeds.
After a few months, the day to inspect the seeds arrived. The palace hall was filled with potted plants of the most exotic varieties, with the most vibrant and dainty flowers blooming. The aroma of the plants filled the air. The king, however, showed no happiness. He quietly inspected the plants one by one until he stopped at the last boy.
Everyone was shocked to see the boy’s pot – it was empty!
‘Your Majesty!’ said the boy. ‘I tried hard to water and nourish the seed you gave me, but nothing ever grew out of it.’
The king rejoiced! He had actually given boiled seeds to everybody – every one of them except the boy had switched the boiled seeds for other ones so that they could falsely impress the king. Only the boy was honest enough to accept the truth even when he knew it would make him look like a fool in front of the whole kingdom.
The young boy was selected as the winner and was trained to become a wise, noble and just ruler just like the king!
Moral: Honesty is the Best Policy
The Two Pots
It was a scorching summer and all the ponds in the village had dried. People had to travel uphill to bring water from a well. Among these people, a man had two pots, a new one and an old one with a hole. He took these two pots every day uphill and brought down water for himself. One day, he noticed that the old pot looked sad.
He kindly asked the pot, ‘Hey pot! Why do you look so sad?’
The sobbing pot replied that it was sad that it could not bring in more water as the new pot did. The water leaked out of it and got wasted. It was sad that it could not be useful for its master.
The man smiled and took both the pots to fetch water like every day. He then stopped in the middle of the way and asked the old pot to look both sides.
The sides where the man used to carry the old pot was filled with little green plants and fresh greenery. The side of the new pot looked barren with plain scorching sand.
The pot understood the lesson and was never sad again. It continued doing its duty gleefully.
Moral: Your flaws are your biggest strength.
Lion and the Bulls
Long long ago, there lived four mighty bulls. The bulls were big, strong and muscular. They always grazed together, bathed together and slept together.
A lion had been longing to get a taste of the strong meaty bulls, but it was difficult to attack them as it was always outnumbered. It hatched a plan.
The lion wore an innocent face and got friendly with one of the bulls one day. Engrossed in the conversation, the bull absent mindedly came a long way, away from its brothers. The lion saw its chance and instantly killed the bull and had a feast.
When the bull did not return, the other bulls understood what happened. Together they attacked the lion and drove it out of the forest.
Moral: Unity is Strength.
The Fox and the Stork
In a dense forest, there lived a happy stork. A fox had been trying to eat her for a long time, but the stork always escaped with her wit. Sad and dejected, the fox gave up but decided to insult the stork out of its anger. It politely invited the stork to his home for a feast one afternoon.
The witty stork thought about it for a while and decided to go anyway. The fox had prepared a stew and had laid it out on a platter. When the stork arrived, he graciously invited her to eat. But the stork was not able to drink the stew from the flat plate, while the fox drank his stew joyfully. The wicked fox was happy that it had defeated the stork in some way. The stork got up, thanked fox for the feast and invited the fox back to her home the next day for her treat. The fox was overjoyed and stayed hungry the next day to make space for the feast in his tummy.
When it was time, he skipped and jumped to the stork’s home. He froze when the saw the table. The witty stork had made delicious soup and poured them in long vases with a thin mouth. The fox could only sniff the wonderful aroma as its stomach growled in hunger. The stork ate and drank to her heart’s content.
The ashamed fox ran off from the forest, never to be seen again.
Moral: Use your wit to defeat enemies.
We hope you enjoyed these stories. Keep coming back for more!