Panchathantra: The best of Indian stories

{ Written for my daughter when she was 5 years old}
Panchathandram is full of stories. Very good stories. This is a book that has a lot stories about birds, animals, and many people. There are stories of a crow that will stay with owls and then defeat them in war. There are stories of people who are so greedy and bad things happening to them. There are stories of people who are so good, but will go through difficult times, but in the end many good things will happen to them.
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called Mahilaropya. It was ruled by a good king. He had three sons. All of them were not very good at studies. They just liked playing around and teachers could not teach them anything. King was so sad. “How can they become kings themselves when they grow up, if they are so stupid and not good at studies?” King worried.
King thought and thought and decided that his sons must be taught all the good lessons as soon as possible. “But who can teach my sons all the lessons needed to make them a king?” King asked his prime minister. Prime minister Said “Oh King, only a very smart teacher can teach your sons all the lessons needed. We need a great teacher to teach them well”So King ordered Prime Minister to find such a teacher. He decided that if a teacher can teach his sons well, he will give a lot of presents to the teacher. Prime Minister, after searching a lot, found such a teacher. His name was Vishnu Sharma. Prime Minister brought him before the king.
“Can you teach my children all the great things they need to know as Kings?” King asked
“Yes, your illustrious King, I can”, Vishnu Sharma Said.
“How can you teach them all the lessons to those kids who only like playing and not learning?”
“I will teach everything to them by telling STORIES…” Vishnu Sharma Said.

And thus, Vishnu Sharma taught five big lessons to Kings Sons by telling them many stories. All these stories together came to be known as Panchathandram. Each story has very good “moral” or a lesson attached to it.

Here is a story from Panchathandram. Ask Mummy to tell you the moral of the story.

Little Rabbit who defeated the Big Lion

Once upon a time there lived a ferocious lion in the forest. It was a greedy lion and started killing animals in the forest. All the animals together went to the Lion and begged him to stop killing. They told him that everyday one of them will come to his house and he can kill that animal and eat. So every day it was the turn of one of the animals and in the end came the rabbits’ turn. The rabbits chose an old rabbit among them. The rabbit was wise and old. It took its own sweet time to go to the Lion. The Lion was getting impatient on not seeing any animal come by and swore to kill all animals the next day.

The rabbit then strode along to the Lion by sunset. The Lion was angry at him. But the wise rabbit was calm and slowly told the Lion that it was not his fault. He told the Lion that a group of rabbits were coming to him for the day when on the way, an another angry Lion attacked them all and ate all rabbits but himself. Somehow he escaped to reach safely, the rabbit said. He said that the other Lion was talking very ill of this Lion and was telling that this Lion is a very bad lion. The Lion was naturally very enraged and asked to be taken to the location of the other Lion.

The wise rabbit agreed and led the Lion towards a deep well filled with water. Then he showed the Lion his reflection in the water of the well. The foolish Lion seeing the reflection thought that there is a real Lion in the well. The Lion was furious and started growling and naturally its image in the water, the other Lion, was also equally angry. Then the Lion jumped into the water at the other Lion to attack it, and so lost its life in the well. Thus the wise rabbit saved the forest and its inhabitants from the proud Lion.