Myth-Folklore Unit: Tales from India (100 Words)

Overview. This reading unit — good for one week, or two weeks — is a collection of stories from India told as 100-word storiesIt is based on Tiny Tales from India which contains two hundred of these tiny 100-word stories. There are stories from the Panchatantra here, plus Jataka tales from the Buddha, teaching tales from the Bengali guru Ramakrishna, some tales of the goddesses and gods, plus stories about the jesters Tenalirama and Birbal. The book is available free as a PDF and in standard ebook formats (epub, mobi), and there is also a 99 cent Kindle version. Plus, there is a free audiobook! Links to all formats here: India.LauraGibbs.net. You will find links to text and audio below, but if you prefer to read with a PDF, on a Kindle, etc., you can do that based on what is most convenient for you.

Language. The language is very clear and contemporary. Unlike the public domain books published before 1923, this book is a recent publication (2020!).

Story Length. The stories are very short: just 100 words long each. Each reading section — A, B, C, D, — contains 50 stories. That's a lot of stories but they go very fast, and I hope you will find lots that intrigue you. When you start with a super-short story, there's so much room to expand with your own imagination.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below; you can look at the title to get a sense of which sections you might enjoy most. There is no need to start at reading section A; you can read them in any order you prefer.

Additional Resources. Each of these stories has its own blog post with information about sources along with notes, and sometimes an illustration. You can find the list of the individual blog posts at India.LauraGibbs.net.


link to READING A: 
1. The Lion and the Rabbit
2. The Lion-King and the Camel
3. The Lion-King and the Jackal
4. A Story for the Lion-King
5. The Lion and the Cat
6. The Lion in the Jackal's Cave
7. The Blue Jackal
8. The Jackal and his Brothers
9. The Tiger Cub and the Goats
10. The Lion and the Ram
11. The Jackal and the Dead Elephant
12. Lion, Jackal, and Camel
13. The Jackal and the Crow
14. The Jackal and the Peacock
15. The Jackal and the Otters
16. The Jackal and the Rams
17. The Jackal and the Bullock
18. The Jackals and the Elephant
19. The Elephant and the Sparrow
20. The Elephant-King and the Mice
21. The Elephants and the Rabbits
22. The Elephant and the Monkey
23. The Wealthy Toad
24. The Boastful Beetle
25. The Self-Important Insect
26. The Monkey and the Firefly
27. The Monkey and the Peas
28. The Crocodile and the Monkey
29. The Monkey and the Rock
30. The Crow's Revenge
31. The Crab's Advice
32. The Partridge and the Rabbit
33. The Vulture and the Cat
34. The Hawks and the Crows
35. The Jackdaw and the Glow-Worm
36. The Bharunda Bird
37. The Hawk and the Fish
38. The Crow and the Sunrise
39. The Animals Boasting
40. The Animals Change Places
41. The Crabs and the Fox
42. The Crane and the Fish
43. Big-Wit, Half-Wit, and Witless
44. The Two Fish and the Frog
45. The Frog in the Well
46. The Frog-King in the Well
47. The Snake and the Frog
48. The Frog-King Rides the Snake
49. The Snake and the Ants
50. Deer, Tiger, and Crocodile

link to READING B: 
51. The Rabbit and the Coconut
52. The Fox in the Flood
53. The Horse Tied to a Tree
54. The Tiger and the Fox
55. The Tiger and the Golden Bangle
56. The Twin Parrots
57. The Captive Fawn
58. The King and his Monkey
59. The Monkeys and the Gardener
60. Monkey See, Monkey Do
61. The Monkey and the Sparrow
62. The Wild Geese
63. The King of the Doves
64. The Gadfly and the Lion
65. Turtle, Deer, Mouse, and Crow
66. Deer, Crow, and Jackal
67. The Hunter and the Jackal
68. The Goose and the Crow
69. The Monkey and the Goat
70. The Louse and the Flea
71. The Turtle and the Peacock
72. The Turtle in the Lake
73. The Turtle and the Two Birds
74. The Donkey and the Jackal
75. The Donkey and the Tiger-Skin
76. The Donkey and the Watchdog
77. The Brave Mongoose
78. The Pilgrims and the Jewels
79. The Bandit's Ghost
80. The Rats in the House
81. The Rats and the Jackal
82. The Jackal in the Elephant
83. The Jackal and the Corpse
84. The Jackal and the Lion
85. The Deer and his Nephew
86. The Two Oxen
87. The Fish and the Crane
88. The Parrot and the Mangos
89. The Woodpecker and the Lion
90. The Quail Chick
91. The Quail and the Hunter
92. The Birds by the Lake
93. The Birds in the Tree
94. The Crow by the Highway
95. The Bird-King and the Peacock
96. The Swan with the Golden Feathers
97. The Drummer and the Bandits
98. The Monk and his Snake
99. The Buddha and the Mantra
100. The Three Friends and the Tiger

link to READING C: 
101. The Elephant-Driver
102. The Pilgrim and the Snake
103. The Two Men and the Mangos
104. The Two Friends in Town
105. The Priceless Diamond
106. The Fish and the Flowers
107. The Pilgrim Couple
108. The Holy Man and the Dog
109. The Lizard on the Tree
110. The Woodcutter's Dream
111. The Farmer's Dream
112. The Hill of Sugar
113. The Doll of Salt
114. The Seeker and his Family
115. The Thief-Turned-Sadhu
116. The Fisherman-Turned-Sadhu
117. The Holy Man by the Roadside
118. The Traveler and the Tree
119. The Wisest of the Brahmins
120. The Brahmin and his Mouse-Daughter
121. The Brahmin and his Snake-Son
122. The Snake and the Brahmin's Wife
123. The Farmer and the Snake
124. The Monk in the Dream
125. The Thief and the Demon
126. The Barber and the Fairy
127. The Dim-Witted Weaver
128. Sunda and Upasunda
129. Riding Shiva's Bull
130. The Teeth of Shiva's Bull
131. The Dog in Shiva's Temple
132. Shiva and Vishnu
133. Maya: The Illusion of the World
134. Indra's Parrot and Yama
135. Indra and the Brahmin
136. Garuda and the Snake-Man
137. The Seagulls and Garuda
138. Agni and Varuna
139. Ganesha is Born
140. Ganesha and the Cat
141. Ganesha and Kartikeya
142. Kubera and Ganesha
143. Durga Puja
144. The Stingy Man's Dinner
145. The Poor Man's Pot of Honey
146. The Hermit in the Forest
147. The Guru's Two Disciples
148. The Beggar and Emperor Akbar
149. The Widow and her Sons
150. The Old Woman Going to Town

link to READING D: 
151. The Couple who Cooperated
152. The Blind Men and the Elephant
153. The Brahmin's Goat
154. The Farmer and the Merchant
155. The Monk and the King
156. The Potter and the King
157. The Carpenter and his Son
158. The Man in the Tree
159. The Merchant and his Servant
160. The Two Brothers
161. The Five Loaves of Bread
162. The Man and his Neighbor
163. The Judge and his Son
164. The Wife who Died
165. The Carpenter under the Bed
166. Tenalirama and Kali
167. Tenalirama and the King
168. Tenalirama and the Gold Coins
169. Tenalirama and the Peaches
170. Tenalirama and the Twenty Lashes
171. Tenalirama and the Washerman
172. Tenalirama and the Executioner
173. Tenalirama and his Brother-in-Law
174. Tenalirama and the Queen
175. Tenalirama's Finger
176. Tenalirama's Face
177. Tenalirama and the Chessboard
178. Tenalirama and the Painter
179. Tenalirama and the Chinese Vases
180. Tenalirama and the King's Bad Luck
181. Tenalirama and the Magician
182. Tenalirama's Ramayana
183. Tenalirama and the Ramayana Murals
184. Tenalirama and the Money-Bag
185. Tenalirama and the Thief
186. Tenalirama and the Honest Beggar
187. Tenalirama and the Chicken
188. Tenalirama and the Sadhu
189. Tenalirama and the Boys
190. Tenalirama and his Friend
191. Tenalirama's Magical Water
192. Birbal's House
193. Birbal and the Eggplants
194. Birbal and the Two Mothers
195. Birbal and the Beggar
196. Birbal's Magical Sticks
197. Birbal and the Crows
198. The Emperor's Caravansary
199. Birbal Sees Both Good and Bad

200. Birbal the Philosopher


Reading A: Tales from India (100 Words)

You will find the texts of the stories below the audio, and the titles are linked to individual blog posts where you can learn more about sources, see notes, etc.


~ 1. The Lion and the Rabbit ~
Every day, the lion demanded that the animals send him a victim to eat.
One day, it was the rabbit's turn. The rabbit took his time on the way, thinking of a plan to escape the lion.
"Why are you late?" the lion roared.
"My apologies," said the rabbit. "I saw an even bigger lion, and I was frightened."
"Show me!" the lion commanded.
The rabbit took the lion to a well. "The lion's in there," said the rabbit.
The lion looked in and saw the other lion. Infuriated, he jumped in the well and drowned, attacking his own reflection.

~ 2. The Lion-King and the Camel ~
The lion-king was starving.
"You must eat the royal camel," the crow advised.
"But he's my devoted courtier!" the lion protested.
"Don't worry," said the jackal.
"He'll agree!" said the leopard.
So the lion-king summoned his courtiers. "I'm starving!" he roared.
"Eat me!" said the crow.
"You're just skin and feathers," the jackal scoffed. "Eat me!"
"You're too scrawny," observed the leopard. "Eat me!"
This show of loyalty inspired the camel, who assumed that another courtier would speak up to save his life also. "The leopard's meat is tough," the camel exclaimed. "Eat me!"
So the lion ate the camel.

~ 3. The Lion-King and the Jackal ~
The lion-king had grown old. "Fetch me something easy to kill!" he said to the jackal, his minister.
The jackal found a she-donkey in a dusty stable.
"I'll take you to a pasture of fresh green grass!" he said.
The donkey followed the jackal eagerly straight to the lion, but he was too weak; when the lion lunged for her, she escaped.
"Come back!" said the jackal. "The lion loves you! He wants to make you his queen."
"Me? Queen?"
The foolish donkey followed the jackal again. This time, the lion killed her. "Delicious!" he exclaimed, and the jackal agreed.

~ 4. A Story for the Lion-King ~
"Tell me a story that goes on forever," the lion king shouted, "or you will all die."
"You're the best storyteller," the animals said to the jackal. "Please save us!"
The jackal smiled and began. "O King, a fisherman went fishing with his net."
"What next?" asked the lion.
"He caught many fish, but the net was torn, and a fish escaped."
"What next?"
"A second fish escaped."
"What next?"
"A third fish escaped."
The lion yawned.
"And a fourth. A fifth… A sixth..."
The lion fell asleep listening to the endless story, and so the jackal saved the animals.

~ 5. The Lion and the Cat ~
A lion lived in a cave where there was a mouse who kept nibbling his mane, so the lion decided to hire a cat.
"I'll pay you to defend me from that mouse!" he promised.
The cat prowled the cave, and the terrified mouse stayed hidden in its hole.
The happy lion shared his food with the cat, and she had never eaten so well!
Finally, though, the mouse had to come out to look for food, whereupon the cat caught the mouse and killed it.
Then the lion stopped feeding the cat, and she died of hunger, poor thing.

~ 6. The Lion in the Jackal's Cave ~
A hungry lion hid inside a cave. "I'll eat whoever comes in," he thought to himself.
The lion waited there all day.
The jackal who lived in that cave finally came home and said, "Hello, Cave!"
The lion said nothing.
"Cave, you know you're supposed to answer!" said the jackal.
The lion was uncertain what to do. "Hello to you!" the lion roared, and the cave made his roar sound even louder.
The jackal laughed as he ran away. "You foolish lion!" he shouted. "That's how I know whether the cave is safe or not. Next time, remember: keep quiet."

~ 7. The Blue Jackal ~
There was once a jackal who fell into a vat of blue indigo dye. The other animals were amazed when they saw the blue jackal!
"The gods have sent me to be your ruler," the blue jackal explained. He made the lion his prime minister, the tiger was the royal treasurer, and the elephant was his doorkeeper.
One day, though, the blue jackal heard other jackals howling in the distance. He could not resist; he began howling too.
"He's just an ordinary jackal!" shouted the other animals.
So the lion and the tiger attacked their former king and killed him.

~ 8. The Jackal and his Brothers ~
A lioness had given birth to twins.
The lion went hunting and caught a baby jackal. "Eat this!" he told her.
The lioness, however, nursed the jackal, who grew up with the lions.
One day the cubs saw an elephant; the lions wanted to attack, but the jackal warned them away.
"It's too dangerous!" he said.
The lion twins snarled. "You're such a coward!"
The lioness feared for the jackal. "You aren't really a lion," she told him. "You should run away before your lion brothers kill you."
So the jackal went away and found his jackal brothers at last.

~ 9. The Tiger Cub and the Goats ~
A she-tiger died giving birth.
Wild goats found the cub and cared for him.
The cub ate grass like the goats, bleated like the goats, and thought he really was a goat.
A tiger then attacked the goats and found the cub. "Why are you eating grass? Why are you bleating?" he asked.
"That's what goats do," replied the cub.
"But you're a tiger!" he said.
Then he took the cub to a pond. "Look: that's your face! That's you!"
Thus the big tiger became a teacher to the cub who finally learned how to be a tiger after all.

~ 10. The Lion and the Ram ~
A ram once strayed from its flock and wandered into the forest.
In the forest there lived a lion who had never seen a ram before.
So when the lion first saw this ram, he stared in amazement. "Look at those horns! That creature might be even more powerful than me!" he thought, and he carefully avoided the ram.
A few days later, though, he saw the ram again. It was eating grass.
"This creature is a grass-eater!" said the lion to himself. "It is surely no match for me."
The lion then sprang on the ram and killed it.

~ 11. The Jackal and the Dead Elephant ~
A jackal found a dead elephant but couldn't chew through the elephant's tough hide.
Then a lion arrived.
Terrified, the jackal said, "I saved the elephant for you!"
"I don't eat what others kill," said the lion. "You may have it."
The lion left, and a leopard arrived.
The jackal shouted, "Hurry! Let's eat the lion's elephant before he returns."
The leopard bit into the elephant, tearing the hide with her sharp teeth and claws.
Then the jackal shrieked, "The lion's coming!"
Fearing the lion, the leopard ran off, leaving the jackal to feast on the whole elephant by himself.

~ 12. Lion, Jackal, and Camel ~
The lion was starving, as were his attendants: a jackal and a camel.
The jackal proclaimed, "I dreamed that Yama, God of Death, will grant rebirth to the devoted courtier who offers his body as food."
Without hesitation, the camel declared, "I accept Yama's promise of rebirth!"
So the lion and the jackal killed the camel.
Then, in the distance, they heard the jingling bells of a camel caravan.
"It's Yama and his Death-Caravan coming to avenge the camel!" shouted the jackal. "Run away, O King, run away!"
The lion ran, and the jackal had the whole camel to himself.

~ 13. The Jackal and the Crow ~
A crow perched high in a tree, eating some delicious fruit.
A jackal decided to flatter the crow, hoping she would drop the fruit so that he could catch it.
“Fair lady, you look like a peacock up there!” he said to the crow. "Your feathers are dazzling. I've never seen anyone as beautiful and as graceful as you!"
The crow then flattered the jackal in return. “Kind sir, you look like a handsome young tiger!” she said, and as she spoke, all the fruit fell out of her mouth.
The jackal then grabbed the fruit and ran away, laughing.

~ 14. The Jackal and the Peacock ~
A jackal and a peacock were friends.
One day the peacock ate some plums, while the jackal ate a lamb.
The peacock then planted the plum-pits. "I'll grow some plums!"
The jackal planted the bones. "I'll grow some lambs!"
The plum-pits sprouted, but not the bones.
The peacock mocked the jackal. "Your crop is a failure," he said, laughing.
Then one day the jackal didn't catch anything for supper, and he thought about how the peacock had mocked him.
"If I can't have lamb," the jackal decided, "I can have peacock!"
So the jackal killed the peacock and ate him.

~ 15. The Jackal and the Otters ~
There were once two otters who caught a fish, and then they quarreled about how to divide it.
“The middle is mine," one otter said. "You can have the head and the tail."
“No!” said the other otter. “I want the middle! I'll give you the head and the tail.”
A greedy jackal came by. "I'll be glad to judge between you," he said.
The otters explained what had happened.
"Oh, that's easy!" the jackal exclaimed. "You take the head... and you take the tail..." and then the jackal ran away with the middle part of the fish for himself.

~ 16. The Jackal and the Rams ~
There was once a greedy jackal who was prowling around, looking for food.
He saw two angry rams fighting, running at each other and butting heads. The jackal noticed that each time the rams butted heads, blood dripped down on the ground.
"I bet that blood would be tasty!" thought the jackal.
So the jackal ran up and licked the blood off the ground.
"That is delicious," he thought. "I want to get every drop."
Foolish jackal! While he was licking the blood, the rams butted their heads together again, and the jackal was crushed to death between their horns.

~ 17. The Jackal and the Bullock ~
A jackal once noticed the big balls that dangled from a bullock's behind, and they made his mouth water.
"What a delicious meal those would make!" the jackal thought. "And his balls are so heavy and so big. Surely they will fall down soon!"
So the jackal began following the bullock everywhere, waiting for the balls to fall down.
But they didn't fall down.
"Such big balls!" the jackal thought. "Why don't they fall down?"
Ever hopeful, he kept following the bullock.
Finally, though, he gave up.
"You can keep your balls!" he shouted. "They probably wouldn't taste good anyway."

~ 18. The Jackals and the Elephant ~
The jackals were stalking an especially large elephant, thinking that they could feast on him for days.
Finally the most cunning of the jackals went to the elephant and said, "O Great One, the animals met and elected you to be their king. I am to escort you to the coronation."
"I'm honored!" said the elephant happily.
The jackal then led the elephant into a swamp.
"Help!" shouted the elephant as he sank into the mud.
"Your courtiers are all coming to help you, Your Highness!" promised the jackal.
But the jackals did not help; instead, they devoured the elephant.

~ 19. The Elephant and the Sparrow ~
A raging elephant knocked down a sparrow's nest, killing her chicks.
The mother vowed revenge.
"Help me, Woodpecker!" she said.
"Agreed," said Woodpecker. "Help us, Gnat!"
"Agreed," said Gnat. "Help us, Frog!"
"Agreed," said Frog.
Then Frog told them all what to do.
Gnat buzzed in the elephant's ear; the music made him shut his eyes.
Then Woodpecker stabbed the elephant's eyes so he wanted to jump in the water for relief.
Meanwhile, Frog croaked at the edge of a pit; the elephant ran towards the sound, thinking it was a pond, and he fell in the pit and died.

~ 20. The Elephant-King and the Mice ~
The elephant-king was a wise ruler who had a kind heart.
When he led his elephants through the fields, they crushed many mice under their big feet.
"Have mercy!" cried the mice, so the elephant-king ordered all the elephants to spare the mice by taking a different path.
Later, elephant-hunters came and caught some of the elephants in snares.
"Help us!" the elephants shouted, and the mice all came to their rescue, using their tiny teeth to chew through the ropes and free the elephants from the snares.
Thus the elephants learned that even small friends can be great friends.

~ 21. The Elephants and the Rabbits ~
There was a drought.
The elephant-herd searched for water and found a beautiful lake. When the elephants rushed to drink, they crushed many rabbits underfoot.
A brave rabbit spoke to the elephant-king as he drank. "I am the Moon's envoy!" proclaimed the rabbit. "The Moon says: you trampled my beloved rabbits."
"I'll ask forgiveness!" said the elephant-king, and he kneeled in the water.
The moon's reflection in the water shook violently.
"The Moon is even more angry!" said the rabbit. "Go away and never come back!"
The elephant-king, fearing the Moon's heavenly powers, departed, and the elephant-herd departed with him.

~ 22. The Elephant and the Monkey ~
An elephant and a monkey were boasting.
"I'm mighty!" said the elephant.
"I'm nimble!" said the monkey.
"But which of us is better?" asked the elephant.
"Let the owl judge!" said the monkey.
"I propose a test," said the owl. "Bring me mangos from across the river."
So they ran to the river, but the monkey couldn't cross.
"I'll carry you!" said the elephant.
They got to the mango tree, but the elephant couldn't reach the mangos.
"I'll fetch them!" said the monkey.
They brought the mangos to the owl who said, "Now you see: you two are better together!"

~ 23. The Wealthy Toad ~
A toad once happened to find a copper coin.
He grasped the coin in his mouth and carried it back to his hole.
"I am now a toad who possesses both wealth and power!" he thought to himself.
Then one day an elephant walked over the toad's hole.
The toad leaped forth, angrily shaking his foot at the departing elephant as if he were going to kick him.
"How dare you walk over my head!" he shouted. "I am a toad who possesses both wealth and power!"
Money can make you lose all sense of proportion, just like that toad.

~ 24. The Boastful Beetle ~
There was once a tiny beetle who one day wandered into a place where people had enjoyed a wild party the night before.
Seeing a puddle of liquor on the ground, the beetle started drinking, and soon he was drunk.
"I am so mighty," he yelled, "that the world cannot bear my weight!"
An elephant wandered by.
"I'm going to fight you, elephant!" the beetle boasted. "We'll see who is the most mighty!"
The elephant laughed as he pooped and peed on top of the beetle, killing the insect instantly.
The elephant then ran into the forest, trumpeting in triumph.

~ 25. The Self-Important Insect ~
A farmer was walking through his fields one evening, headed home. The setting sun was a blazing ball of fire, while the rising moon glowed a brilliant silver.
"How glorious are the sun and the moon!" he exclaimed.
As he continued walking, he heard a tiny voice.
He stopped, looking for the source of the voice.
It was a firefly!
"They are cousins of mine, you know," said the firefly. "I am a creature of fiery light, just like my relatives, the sun and the moon."
The farmer laughed, amused at this tiny creature and its enormous sense of self-importance.

~ 26. The Monkey and the Firefly ~
A monkey found a firefly.
The evening was cool, so the monkey said, "I'll warm myself by the light of this fire!"
At just that moment, a bird flew by, and she decided to enlighten the monkey. "That's not fire," the bird explained. "That's just a firefly."
The monkey ignored the bird, so she chirped more loudly. "That won't work: a firefly isn't the same as a fire!"
On and on she chattered, making the monkey more and more angry.
Finally, the monkey grabbed the bird and squashed her.
Moral of the story: Be careful when correcting someone else's errors.

~ 27. The Monkey and the Peas ~
A monkey high up in a tree saw some peas lying nearby on the ground.
He jumped down and gathered all the peas in his hands, and then went back up the tree to enjoy his feast.
"Delicious!" he said.
As he was eating, one of the peas fell out of his hand.
"Oh no!" he shouted.
He jumped down to grab the lost pea, and as he did, all the other peas fell out of his hands.
Hearing his shout, more monkeys came and started eating.
Because he couldn’t let one pea go, the monkey lost all the rest.

~ 28. The Crocodile and the Monkey ~
Craving Monkey's heart for supper, Crocodile swam to the riverbank where Monkey lived.
"Let's go to Banana Island, Monkey!"
"But you know I can't swim."
"Don't worry! I'll carry you."
Greedy for bananas, Monkey jumped on.
Crocodile plunged deep under the water.
"What are you doing?" Monkey shrieked.
"I'm going to eat your heart for supper."
"But I left my heart in the tree!"
Monkey pointed to the fig tree on the riverbank.
"Well, go get it!" shouted Crocodile.
Crocodile swam back to shore, and Monkey leaped into the tree.
"You might fool me once," he cackled. "But only once!"

~ 29. The Monkey and the Rock ~
Crocodile noticed Monkey using a rock to cross the river, jumping from riverbank to rock, and then from rock to riverbank.
"I'll make my back look like a rock," thought Crocodile. "He'll jump on me, and I'll catch him!"
Monkey saw a suspicious new rock in the river, so before he jumped, Monkey said, "Hello, Rock!'
Crocodile said nothing.
Monkey shouted, "Hey, Rock! Why don't you answer me like you usually do?"
Crocodile realized he had to answer. "Hello, Monkey…" he said cautiously.
"Hello to you, Crocodile," Monkey cackled. "And goodbye! I won't be jumping on you today… or ever!"

~ 30. The Crow's Revenge ~
A snake raided a crow's nest and ate her chicks.
The crow vowed revenge.
She knew where the royal ladies bathed, leaving their jewelry beside the pool. The crow squawked loudly to make sure the queen saw her, and then she flew off with a golden necklace in her beak.
"Guards!" screamed the queen. "Go get my necklace!"
The crow then dropped the necklace in front of the snake's hole.
When the guards arrived, they saw the necklace and they saw the snake. They clubbed the snake to death and retrieved the necklace.
That's how the crow got her revenge!

~ 31. The Crab's Advice ~
There were two herons who lived in a tree, and at the foot of the tree was a snake.
One day, the snake ate the herons' chicks.
"We need help!" said the father heron.
"Let's ask the crab for advice," said the mother heron.
So they went to see the crab.
"You should scatter some fish from the mongoose hole to the snake hole," said the crab. "The mongoose will follow the fish and eat the snake!"
The herons did what the crab advised.
The mongoose ate the snake as they had hoped, but then it ate the herons too.

~ 32. The Partridge and the Rabbit ~
A partridge had a lovely home, but he left that home, temporarily, in search of food.
When he came back, he found a rabbit was living there.
"Get out of my home!" shouted the partridge.
"This is my home now!" the rabbit shouted back.
They went to a pious cat who lived by the Ganges to ask him to judge their case.
"My dear creatures," the cat said, "I am old and deaf. You must come closer... I still cannot hear you... Closer... That's better, just a little closer."
And then the cat ate the partridge and the rabbit too.

~ 33. The Vulture and the Cat ~
A vulture, old and nearly blind, lived in a tree hollow.
The other birds pitied the vulture and fed him, and he looked after their chicks.
A cat approached the tree, but the vulture squawked, "No food for you here, cat!"
"I follow the spiritual path," replied the cat. "I no longer eat meat. I seek only to learn from elders like yourself."
Flattered, the vulture began preaching.
Meanwhile, the cat ate the chicks, carefully depositing their bones in the vulture's hollow.
The cat then left, and when the birds found the bones, they attacked the vulture and killed him.

~ 34. The Hawks and the Crows ~
The hawks and the crows agreed to go hunting together.
One day, they found a fox nearly dead of starvation.
"We'll eat the upper half of the fox," said the crows.
"And we'll eat the lower half," said the hawks.
The fox laughed. "I always thought hawks superior to crows. Surely the hawks, not the crows, deserve the upper half."
"Yes, we do!" shouted the hawks.
"No, you don't!" shouted the crows.
A great fight broke out, and the fox recovered her strength by feasting on the fallen birds.
Thus the weak can profit when the powerful quarrel amongst themselves.

~ 35. The Jackdaw and the Glow-Worm ~
A jackdaw had caught a glow-worm and was about to eat her.
"Wait!" the insect said. "I know where you can get hundreds of glow-worms."
"Show me!" said the greedy bird. "Take me there now!"
The glow-worm took the jackdaw to a potter's workshop where there was a fire burning.
"See that light?" said the glow-worm. "Go eat those glow-worms there, and then I'll show you more."
The jackdaw ran up to the fire and tried to eat the sparks, but the fire burned his mouth… and when he went back to complain, the glow-worm had already made her escape.

~ 36. The Bharunda Bird ~
Have you heard of the bharunda bird? This strange creature has two heads attached to a single body.
One day, a bharunda bird found a flower filled with nectar. The first head drank the nectar eagerly, and the nectar went into their shared stomach. "Delicious!" it said.
"Give me some!" shouted the other head.
"No!" shouted the first head. "I found it; I drink it!"
The second head was so angry that it found a poisonous fruit and ate it.
"Ha!" shouted the head. "That's my revenge."
The poisonous fruit went into their shared stomach, and the bharunda bird died.

~ 37. The Hawk and the Fish ~
A hawk had caught a fish.
Holding the fish in his talons, he rose up from the water, ready to fly home and enjoy his meal.
But crows suddenly swarmed all around him, a hundred or more, each one trying to snatch the fish.
The hawk flew up and he flew down... still the crows pursued him.
Left and right... the crows kept on chasing him.
Finally, the hawk let go of the fish.
The crows all flew off, chasing after the fish and leaving the hawk alone.
He settled on a branch and sighed thankfully, "At last, I'm free."

~ 38. The Crow and the Sunrise ~
A foolish crow was convinced that his shrill caw-caw-caw caused the sun to rise each morning. Each day, he cawed in the darkness before dawn, knowing that the whole world depended on him to bring the sun.
One morning, however, the crow slept late.
He awoke to see the sun already high in the sky.
"Thank goodness another member of the crow family was awake this morning!" he thought to himself. "Otherwise, the earth might have spent the whole day in darkness."
This foolish crow shows us that the way you see yourself is a matter of opinion, not fact.

~ 39. The Animals Boasting ~
"My great valor makes me king of the jungle," roared the lion.
"But I am the most cunning of all," countered the fox.
"Just look at my feathers!" shrieked the peacock.
"Feathers are nothing compared to tusks!" trumpeted the elephant.
Meanwhile, a little toad croaked her own opinion:
"Lion, as king of the animals, you're a coveted trophy for hunters! Your fur, Fox, will be made into a coat. Humans will kill you for your feathers, Peacock, and they will kill you for your tusks, Elephant!"
"So I say," the toad concluded, "it's better to be small rather than mighty."

~ 40. The Animals Change Places ~
The animals and fish had gotten bored with their lifestyles and decided to switch places: the fish would live on the land, and the animals in the sea.
The result was a complete disaster.
As the fish came crawling over the land, eagles and hawks swooped down and devoured them.
The animals, meanwhile, couldn't breathe underwater, and most of them couldn't even swim, and thus they died in the sea.
"We need to go back to the land!" cried the surviving animals.
"And we need to go back to the sea!" cried the surviving fish.
They never switched places again.

~ 41. The Crabs and the Fox ~
The crabs found a fox weeping on the beach.
"What's wrong?" they asked.
"The other foxes were planning to devour you," he replied, "but I said we should not harm such pretty creatures."
The crabs were glad to meet a friendly fox.
Then the fox said to the crabs, "Let's go dancing in the moonlight!"
The fox danced happily together with the crabs.
"Come dance, my friends, come, come!"
The fox and the crabs danced up the sand and into the grass-covered dunes… where all the other foxes were waiting.
And so the foxes devoured the crabs, every last one.

~ 42. The Crane and the Fish ~
The lake was drying up.
"Don’t worry, fish-friends!" said a crane. "I'll carry you to my home, a big lake nearby."
"Thank you!' said the fish, and she carried them off one by one.
But the crane wasn't relocating the fish; she was devouring them.
Finally only a crab remained.
"Come on!" said the crane.
Then, as they were landing, the crab looked down and saw fishbones, so he grabbed the crane's neck with his pincers.
"Let go!" the crane said, but the crab squeezed.
SNAP!
The crane died, and the crab lived happily ever after in the big lake.

~ 43. Big-Wit, Half-Wit, and Witless ~
There were three fish living in a pond: Big-Wit, Half-Wit, and Witless.
Fishermen came to their pond, looking for fish to catch.
Big-Wit realized the danger at once and went swimming through the pond's outlet before the fishermen blocked it up. Thus he made his escape.
Half-Wit was unsure what to do, but finally he pretended to be dead, floating on top of the water, and the fishermen had no interest in a rotten fish carcass.
As for Witless, terror made him splash in the water, so the fishermen seized him and he became fish stew for the fishermen's dinner.

~ 44. The Two Fish and the Frog ~
Two fish named Smart and Very-Smart lived in a remote lake together with a frog named Not-So-Smart.
One day fishermen discovered the lake. "We'll come fish here tomorrow," the fishermen said.
The frog was very upset. "What can we do?" he said.
"Don't worry!" said the fish named Very-Smart. "We'll figure it out tomorrow." The fish named Smart nodded confidently. "We're smart!"
But Not-So-Smart decided to leave the lake right away and hide nearby.
The next morning he saw the fishermen hauling Very-Smart and Smart away in their nets.
"Sometimes it's better not to be so smart!" said the frog.

~ 45. The Frog in the Well ~
A frog was born in a well and lived there all her life.
Another frog was born and lived in a lake.
The lake-frog went exploring, and when she hopped up on the edge of the well, she fell in.
She tried to tell the well-frog what the lake was like. "It's big!" she said.
"As big as this?" asked the well-frog, hopping from one side of the well to the other.
"Bigger!" said the lake-frog.
"But there's nothing bigger than the well. You've lost your mind!" shouted the well-frog. "That 'lake' is something you dreamed; it can't be real."

~ 46. The Frog-King in the Well ~
The frog-king ruled the frogs of the well. The king had many enemies, so he hopped out of the well and found a snake.
"Snake," he said, "please kill my enemies."
"But I cannot swim!" replied the snake.
"You can hide in a hole in the wall of the well," explained the frog-king. "I'll show you my enemies, but you must spare my friends and family."
So the greedy snake ate all the frog-king's enemies.
Then his friends.
Then his family.
Terrified, the frog-king ran away.
"Frog-King, come back!" shouted the snake.
But the frog-king now knew not to listen.

~ 47. The Snake and the Frog ~
A snake and a frog lived in the same pond, and they became friends.
"I’ll teach you how to hiss!" the snake said to the frog one day.
"And I'll teach you how to croak!" said the frog to the snake.
After the snake learned how to croak, he would hide in the reeds and croak just like a frog, luring the other frogs to come near, and then he would eat them.
Eventually, the other frogs learned about the snake’s trick, so the snake had no more frogs to eat.
That’s when he decided to eat his so-called friend.

~ 48. The Frog-King Rides the Snake ~
A snake came to the frogs and said, "A brahmin has cursed me to be your vehicle. I must carry you on my back wherever you want to go."
The king of the frogs jumped on the snake's back. The other frogs did the same, and the snake did indeed carry them wherever they told him to go.
The next day, however, the snake was moving slowly.
"I'm hungry!" the snake said.
"Eat some frogs!" suggested the frog king.
Day by day the snake ate the frogs until only the king was left.
And then the snake ate him too.

~ 49. The Snake and the Ants ~
There was a mighty snake, the terror of the neighborhood. Nobody dared to challenge this snake.
Then one day the snake decided to slither through a narrow space between some rocks, and there he got stuck, bleeding where the rocks had scraped his skin.
Drawn by the smell of blood, the ants began to swarm. The ants were tiny, but they came in hundreds. Then in thousands.
The snake squirmed and thrashed as the ants crawled all over him, but there was nothing he could do.
And thus the tiny ants killed the mighty snake, bite by bite by bite.

~ 50. Deer, Tiger, and Crocodile ~
A deer had gone to drink, and a tiger lay in wait in the bushes nearby.
"That deer will make a delicious meal," the tiger thought.
Meanwhile, there was a crocodile in the water who also had his eyes on the deer.
As the deer finished drinking, the tiger leaped, but he missed and fell.
Then, as he tumbled with a splash into the water, the crocodile seized him.
They fought, and both died of their wounds.
The deer, watching the unexpected drama, exclaimed, "It's a good day for the deer when the tiger and the crocodile destroy one another."


Reading B: Tales from India (100 Words)

You will find the texts of the stories below the audio, and the titles are linked to individual blog posts where you can learn more about sources, see notes, etc.


~ 51. The Rabbit and the Coconut ~
Rabbit slept under a coconut-tree, and a coconut fell on his head.
"The sky's falling!" Rabbit shouted. He jumped and ran.
"What's wrong?" Deer asked.
"End of the world! The sky's falling!" shrieked Rabbit, and Deer ran with him.
They met Fox. "What's wrong?" she asked.
Rabbit panted, "Sky falling! End of world!"
Now Rabbit, Deer, and Fox were running.
Monkey, Leopard, Elephant... all running!
Lion stopped them. "Who says it's the end of the world?"
They pointed at Rabbit, and Rabbit took Lion to the tree.
"A coconut fell down!" Lion roared. "It's not the end of the world."

~ 52. The Fox in the Flood ~
A fox had fallen into a rushing river.
"Help!" the fox shrieked. "It's the end of the world! A flood! Save yourselves! The end of the world!"
A man standing on the riverbank heard the fox's cries of alarm. He grabbed a branch and extended it to the fox, and then he pulled the fox to shore.
"Thank you, good sir!" said the fox.
"But what about the end of the world?" said the man. "Your words scared me!"
"Well, the world was ending," said the fox. "My world anyway!"
And with that, the fox scampered off into the woods.

~ 53. The Horse Tied to a Tree ~
A traveler tied his horse to a tree and lay down to sleep.
A thief stole the horse and returned to rob the traveler too, but the traveler woke up unexpectedly.
"Where's my horse?" he shouted.
"The tree ate him," said the thief.
"Impossible!" retorted the traveler. "See that fox? She'll tell us what happened."
"I didn't see the tree eat the horse," said the fox, "because I was too busy watching flames shoot forth from the pond over there."
"But flames can't shoot forth from ponds," said the thief.
"No more than trees can eat horses," said the fox.

~ 54. The Tiger and the Fox ~
A tiger found a fox in a trap.
"What are you doing there?" he asked.
"I did this for you!" replied the fox. "I'm luring men here so you can eat them."
"How kind of you!" said the tiger, who went to wait in the bushes.
The hunters came and found the fox.
"I've lured the tiger here so you can kill him," said the fox. "He's there in the bushes."
"How kind of you!' said the hunters, who then let the fox go.
"Good luck, hunters!" shouted the fox as she ran off. "And good luck to you, tiger!"

~ 55. The Tiger and the Golden Bangle ~
An old tiger lived beside a pond.
When a traveler passed nearby, the tiger shouted, "Here! Take this golden bangle!"
The traveler was surprised by the tiger's words. "Show me the bangle!" he said.
The tiger showed him.
"But can I trust you?" asked the traveler.
"I'm old," said the tiger, "with no teeth and no claws. Before I die, I'm giving away my wealth. Come! Cross the pond and take the bangle."
When the man waded into the pond, he got stuck in the mud.
"I'll help you!" said the tiger.
So saying, the tiger pounced and devoured him.

~ 56. The Twin Parrots ~
A parrot gave birth to twins with identical green bodies, blue heads, red wings, and yellow tails. Bandits carried away one chick; a monk took the other.
A king rode through the forest one day. He passed the bandits' camp, and a parrot squawked, "Bind him! Kill him!" The king saw the parrot was green, blue, red, and yellow.
He then passed a hermitage. "Honor the king!" a parrot squawked.
"I saw a parrot just like you: green, blue, red, and yellow," said the king. "But he spoke differently."
"We were born as twins," replied the parrot, "but raised differently."

~ 57. The Captive Fawn ~
A prince went hunting and caught a fawn which he took home as a pet.
The fawn, however, was unhappy: he longed to return to the herd.
One day the fawn shouted, "Woe is me! What is this nightmare? Where's my herd?"
This terrified the prince. "A speaking fawn is an evil portent," he thought, so he summoned his magicians and wise men.
"Save me from this demon!" he pleaded.
"Just listen to the words," said one of the wise men, "and let the fawn go."
So the prince freed the fawn, and he was not troubled by portents again.

~ 58. The King and his Monkey ~
A king appointed a pet monkey to be his royal sword-bearer and bodyguard.
One day, the king went into the royal gardens. The day was hot, so the king decided to nap in the shade of a tree.
"Let no one disturb me!" he commanded the monkey.
After a while, a bumblebee flew by and landed on the king's nose. The monkey raised his sword and brought it down upon the offending insect, lest it disturb the king.
He killed the bee, but he also killed the king.
Thus a foolish friend is more dangerous than the most dangerous enemy.

~ 59. The Monkeys and the Gardener ~
The royal gardener wanted a vacation.
There were some monkeys living in the garden, so the gardener decided to put the monkeys in charge while he was gone.
“Make sure you water all the plants!” he told the monkeys.
“We should inspect the roots first," commanded the chief of the monkeys. "The deep roots need lots of water; the shallow roots not so much.”
So the monkeys inspected the roots carefully, pulling them up out of the ground to look at them.
The gardener came back from vacation to find all the plants were dead, uprooted by the foolish monkeys.

~ 60. Monkey See, Monkey Do ~
One day a monkey in a tree watched while the woodcutters worked.
When the woodcutters went to eat their lunch, he jumped down on the log where they were using wedges to split the wood.
"Why did they put this thing here?" he wondered. Monkeys are curious creatures, and this monkey was more curious than most.
So, the monkey grabbed the wedge and pulled it out... and then the log snapped shut on his privates! He was trapped, and it was all because of his own foolishness.
Learn from the monkey: do not meddle in things you know nothing about.

~ 61. The Monkey and the Sparrow ~
There was a sparrow who lived in a nest high up in a tree.
One day, she saw a monkey shivering at the foot of the tree.
"If you are cold," she said, "you should build a house!"
The monkey did not listen to her, but the sparrow kept giving him advice.
"I can tell you how to build a house!" she chirped.
"I have a very nice house!" she chirped more loudly.
"A house will keep you warm!" she kept on chirping.
Finally, the monkey got so angry that he climbed up the tree and destroyed the sparrow's house.

~ 62. The Wild Geese ~
Some wild geese lived in a tree.
The oldest goose noticed a vine growing up the tree. "We must tear down that vine before a human climbs it!" she said, but the young geese mocked her.
A hunter later climbed the tree and placed a snare there which trapped all the geese.
"Play dead!" said the old goose.
This time, the other geese did as she said.
The hunter found the birds all dead - or so he thought - and tossed them to the ground.
Then, as he was climbing down the tree, they all flew away to safety!

~ 63. The King of the Doves ~
A hunter spread a net on the ground, covering it with grain.
When doves rushed to eat the grain, their feet were caught. The more they thrashed, the more tightly they were trapped.
"Be calm!" said the dove-king. "Use your wings instead."
Together, the doves flapped their wings and rose up, carrying the net, while the hunter shouted at them angrily.
The doves then flew to the home of their friend: a mouse.
"Help us, mouse!" said the dove-king, and the mouse chewed through the knots and freed all the doves from the net.
The moral: Cooperate, and be kind.

~ 64. The Gadfly and the Lion ~
A gadfly found a lion sleeping in his den. She bit the lion's lip and drank his blood.
The lion awoke and grabbed the gadfly.
"Mercy!" begged the gadfly. "Let me go and I'll do you a favor someday."
The lion scoffed at the idea of a gadfly doing him a favor, but he let the creature go.
Some days later, the gadfly saw hunters creeping towards the lion's den. She once again bit the lion, waking him. "You must go," shouted the gadfly, "or else the hunters will trap you here!"
The lion thus escaped, thanks to a gadfly.

~ 65. Turtle, Deer, Mouse, and Crow ~
A turtle, deer, mouse, and crow were all friends.
One day a hunter caught the turtle and carried her away in a sack.
The mouse advised the deer to lie down in the hunter's path, pretending to be dead, while the crow pretended to peck at her dead body.
When the hunter saw the deer, he put down the sack, got out his knife and advanced towards the deer.
The mouse quickly gnawed a hole in the sack so the turtle escaped, while the crow flapped in the hunter's face till the deer got away.
The moral: Friendship is powerful.

~ 66. Deer, Crow, and Jackal ~
A deer and a crow lived as friends.
The deer then befriended a jackal. The crow, however, mistrusted the jackal.
The next day the jackal led the deer into a snare.
"Help!" yelled the deer.
The crow flew up and squawked so loudly that a hunter came running. "Pretend you're dead!" the crow whispered to the deer.
The deer lay down as if dead, and when the hunter freed her from the snare, she leaped up and ran off.
The hunter shot at the deer, but hit the jackal instead, killing him.
The deer no longer made friends with jackals.

~ 67. The Hunter and the Jackal ~
A hunter shot a deer and was carrying it home when he saw a boar. "I'll catch the boar too!"
The hunter shot the boar, but only wounded it.
The boar attacked, killing the hunter, and then died of its wounds.
When the boar fell, it happened to crush a snake to death.
A jackal strolled by.
"What a feast!" he exclaimed. "Human, deer, boar and snake! I don't want to miss out on anything edible. I can even eat the bowstring!"
But when the greedy jackal gnawed the bowstring, the bow snapped, struck the jackal and killed him too.

~ 68. The Goose and the Crow ~
A goose and a crow lived together in a tree.
One hot day, a hunter decided to rest beneath that tree.
As he slept, the sun moved, exposing his face, so the kindly goose shaded the man's face from the sun with her wings.
Meanwhile, the wicked crow pooped down on the man's face and then flew away, cackling with delight.
When the man awoke, he wiped away the poop and, looking up, he saw the goose.
"You cursed bird!" he shouted.
He then grabbed his gun and shot the goose dead.
The moral: Be careful what company you keep.

~ 69. The Monkey and the Goat ~
A wily monkey once stole a workman's rice and lentils.
After gobbling almost all the food, the monkey then set about laying the blame on someone else.
"The goat would make a likely culprit," the monkey thought to himself.
So the monkey fed the rest of the rice and lentils to the goat, making sure to smear food all over the goat's mouth and in his beard.
"Thank you, monkey!" said the gullible goat.
When the workman returned, he blamed the goat.
"You cursed beast!" he shouted as he beat the poor goat, while the monkey just laughed and laughed.

~ 70. The Louse and the Flea ~
There was once a louse who lived in the king's palace.
She grew fat sucking on the king's blood, but because she nibbled gently, the king never realized she was there.
It was a good life.
One day, a flea dropped in. "What a nice bed this is!" he said.
The louse protested. "The king will feel your unfamiliar bite. Go away!"
But the flea didn't go away, and he bit the king while he slept.
The king was furious, and he called his servants to come inspect the bed. The flea escaped, but the louse was caught and killed.

~ 71. The Turtle and the Peacock ~
A turtle saw a peacock dancing beside a pond.
"I want to dance with you," said the turtle.
The peacock looked at him doubtfully. "You're too slow, and you have no feathers to compare with mine."
"I'll surprise you," said the turtle, "for my shell is truly colorful and, though slow, I am graceful."
So the turtle danced with the peacock, and the peacock had to admire his lovely shell and steady pace.
A hunter, however, discovered them there.
The peacock flew to safety in a tree, but the hunter caught and killed the turtle before he reached the pond.

~ 72. The Turtle in the Lake ~
The princes shouted, "Father, we saw a terrible lake-monster!"
The king's guards went and caught the monster.
It was only a turtle, but the princes had never seen a turtle before and it frightened them.
"How shall we kill it?" the king asked.
"Crush it!" said the first prince.
"Burn it!" said the second.
"Drown it!" said the third.
Then the turtle shrieked, "Don't drown me! Crush me, burn me, but please don't drown me!"
"Drown the turtle!" the king commanded.
The guards threw the turtle into the lake.
The turtle shouted "Home at last!" as he happily swam away.

~ 73. The Turtle and the Two Birds ~
A turtle once befriended two birds, and the three friends lived together at a lake.
The lake was drying up, so the birds offered to carry the turtle away.
“You bite the middle of this stick, and we'll carry the ends in our beaks," they said. "But you must keep your mouth closed. Don't open your mouth, okay?”
“Okay!” the turtle said.
They soared into the sky: the plan worked!
But then people on the ground started laughing.
"That turtle looks ridiculous up there!" they said.
The turtle opened his mouth to rebuke them and thus plunged to his death.

~ 74. The Donkey and the Jackal ~
A farmer allowed his donkey to wander freely at night.
One night the donkey met a jackal and they became friends.
Together, they broke into a cucumber field and ate all the cucumbers they wanted.
Then the donkey decided to sing.
"Don't do that!" hissed the jackal.
But the donkey insisted on singing. "I have a lovely singing voice," he said. "You're just jealous!"
The jackal hid in the bushes and watched. The donkey sang very loudly, and finally the villagers came and cudgeled him to death.
"Music is all well and good," thought the jackal, "but silence is safer."

~ 75. The Donkey and the Tiger-Skin ~
There was a laundryman who had a donkey.
One day, the laundryman found a tiger-skin in the jungle and put the tiger-skin on his donkey.
"The farmers will be afraid of my tiger," he thought.
Wearing the tiger-skin, the donkey was able to graze in the barley-fields at night, getting fat on the farmers' barley.
But one night, the donkey heard the bray of a she-donkey, and he could not resist: he also started to bray!
The farmers realized this was not a tiger, but a donkey, so they beat the poor donkey and drove him away from their fields.

~ 76. The Donkey and the Watchdog ~
A thief came to rob a house.
The donkey said to the watchdog, "You should bark!"
"Our master treats us badly," said the dog. "Why should I bark?"
Since the dog wouldn't bark, the donkey brayed.
This scared the thief, but the master didn't know anything about that. Instead, he was furious that the donkey woke him up. In his rage, he beat the donkey so badly that the donkey died.
The dog shook his head sadly. "The donkey should have listened to me and kept his mouth shut."
The thief returned the next night.
The dog did not bark.

~ 77. The Brave Mongoose ~
A brahmin and his wife had a pet mongoose.
One day the woman went out.
"Watch the baby!" she told her husband.
Then the man went out.
"Watch the baby!' he told the mongoose.
Then... a snake came!
The brave mongoose killed the snake, overturning the baby's cradle in their struggle.
When the woman returned, she saw the overturned cradle and the mongoose covered in blood. Thinking it had killed her baby, she killed the mongoose.
Then she heard her baby crying and found the remains of the snake, and so she wept for the terrible mistake she had made.

~ 78. The Pilgrims and the Jewels ~
Three pilgrims found some jewels in the road.
"Let's eat them for safekeeping!" they said.
A beggar lurking nearby heard this. He joined their party, planning to cut them open that night.
But then a robber ambushed them.
"Jewels! Jewels!" squawked the robber's parrot.
The robber seized and stripped them. No jewels.
The parrot kept squawking, "Jewels!"
"I'll cut you open!" shouted the robber.
The beggar, racked by guilt for his wicked plan, shouted, "The parrot lies! Cut me first; you'll see!"
The robber cut him open.
No jewels.
So the robber let the pilgrims go ... and punished the parrot.

~ 79. The Bandit's Ghost ~
A bandit stole the village bell and fled to the hills where a tiger killed him. Whenever people heard the bell ringing, they whispered in fear, "It's the bandit's ghost!"
But it was only a monkey ringing the bell.
The village-chief offered a reward for anyone brave enough to defeat the ghost and retrieve the bell.
A wise woman guessed the truth.
"I can defeat the ghost!" she proclaimed.
She took no weapons, just fruit. She fed the fruit to the monkey, and thus she snatched the bell.
She returned to the village ringing the bell and claimed her reward.

~ 80. The Rats in the House ~
A foolish man saw there were rats in his house.
He was determined to destroy the rats, so he set his own house on fire.
His house burned down to the ground.
But the rats escaped by running to the house next door, so the man burned down that house too.
"You won't escape me, you rats!" he shouted.
But the rats just ran into the next house, so the man set that house on fire as well.
And the next. And the next.
Give him enough time and that fool will burn down all the houses in the world.

~ 81. The Rats and the Jackal ~
The Buddha was born as a rat, and there was a jackal who liked to eat rats.
To trick them, the jackal pretended to be a sadhu, gazing at the sun, standing on one leg, eating no food.
Each day the rats would run by the saintly jackal, and each day the jackal grabbed the last rat running by.
The Buddha suspected something was wrong, so he brought up the rear.
When the jackal tried to grab him, the Buddha shouted, “You evil hypocrite!” He jumped at the jackal’s throat and killed him, and the rats enjoyed a great feast.

~ 82. The Jackal in the Elephant ~
In another lifetime, the Buddha was again born as a jackal.
One day, this jackal found an elephant carcass.
“Food!” he shouted happily.
He gnawed the elephant's trunk; not much meat there.
The tusk was like bone.
The ear was tough.
The feet were hard as rocks.
Then the jackal crawled inside where the meat was soft to eat. He stayed in there for days.
Meanwhile, the summer heat made the carcass shrink.
The jackal couldn't get out. He was trapped!
Finally it rained.
As the carcass expanded again, he escaped.
“I'll never be so greedy again!” the Buddha vowed.

~ 83. The Jackal and the Corpse ~
The Buddha was again born as a jackal, and he made his home in the cremation fields amidst the corpses.
A wicked man who wanted to kill the jackal had gone there and lay on the ground, club in hand, pretending to be dead.
The jackal approached, but he suspected this man was not really dead.
He grabbed the club in his teeth and tugged. The man tightened his grip, and the jackal let go.
“Human, if you were dead, you wouldn’t have tightened your grip.”
The man then sprang up, but he was too late: the Buddha had escaped.

~ 84. The Jackal and the Lion ~
The Buddha was once born as a lion.
A jackal asked to be this lion's servant. The lion agreed, and the jackal grew fat eating food the lion killed.
As time went by, the jackal thought he was as strong and mighty as a lion. “I'm ready to kill an elephant on my own!” he boasted.
The lion warned him of the danger, but the jackal wouldn’t listen.
Then, when the jackal tried to bite an elephant’s foot, the elephant crushed the jackal to death.
“Foolish jackal,” said the Buddha, “you learned your limitations at the cost of your life.”

~ 85. The Deer and his Nephew ~
The Buddha was born as a deer.
The deer's sister said to her son, "Go to your uncle and learn the tricks you need to stay safe from hunters."
But the young deer didn't listen to his mother.
The Buddha said to him, "Nephew, there are things you must learn to stay safe. I will teach you."
But the young deer didn't listen to his uncle.
He then fell into a hunter's trap and was killed.
"Brother," said the Buddha's sister, weeping, "why didn't you teach him?"
"I couldn't teach him," said the Buddha, "because he didn't want to learn."

~ 86. The Two Oxen ~
The Buddha was born as an ox. His name was Big Red, and he had a brother named Little Red.
They lived on a farm together with other animals, including a pig.
The oxen worked hard, but the pig didn't work; the pig just ate.
And ate.
And ate.
Little Red was jealous, but Big Red told him, "That pig is eating the food of death; they are fattening him up for a wedding."
Big Red was right: when the wedding day came, that was the end of the pig, and Little Red recognized the wisdom of the Buddha's words.

~ 87. The Fish and the Crane ~
The Buddha was once born as a fish, and through his good actions he became the king of the fish.
There was a crane who wanted to eat the fish, so he pretended to be asleep. The other fish were fooled, but the Buddha realized that the crane was their deadly enemy.
"My fellow fish," the Buddha said, "we must drive this wicked creature away, and it will take all of us working together. One, two, three... SPLASH."
At the Buddha's command, the fish all started splashing at the crane until he finally flew away to look for food elsewhere.

~ 88. The Parrot and the Mangos ~
The Buddha was born as a parrot. He had a son. When he grew up, the son cared for his elderly father, bringing him food.
One day the son flew to an island full of mango trees. He brought back a mango.
"Beware, my son," said the parrot’s father. "That is too far; do not go to the mango island."
But the son did not listen. He flew again to the mango island, and then he grew so tired flying home that he fell into the ocean, and a fish ate him.
The Buddha waited, but his son never returned.

~ 89. The Woodpecker and the Lion ~
The Buddha was once born as a woodpecker.
One day this woodpecker saw a lion, groaning in pain.
“Help me, woodpecker!" shouted the lion. "Extract the bone stuck in my throat, and I’ll give you a reward!”
The woodpecker agreed, but he was cautious.
First, he propped the lion’s mouth open with a stick, and only then did he extract the bone.
After emerging from the lion’s mouth, he knocked away the stick.
“What’s my reward?” the woodpecker asked.
“Escaping my teeth is reward enough!” the lion snarled.
Thus the Buddha knew he was wise not to trust the lion.

~ 90. The Quail Chick ~
The Buddha was born as a tiny quail chick.
The chick lived in a nest, fed by his mother and father, and he could not fly yet.
Then one day, a huge fire swept through the forest, and the mother and father quail flew away in fear.
Because the quail chick could not fly, he summoned the power of his past Buddha lives and spoke forth. “In the name of Truth," shouted the little bird, "I defy you, Fire! Turn back now!”
And so the flames of the forest fire were extinguished by the miraculous power of the Buddha's words.

~ 91. The Quail and the Hunter ~
The Buddha was born as a quail.
A hunter caught the Buddha and his flock, and he put them in cages, feeding them well and fattening them to sell.
“If we don't eat, we'll grow thin," the Buddha thought, "and that might save us."
So he told the others, "Don't eat!"
But they ate the food and grew fat, and then the hunter sold them.
Meanwhile, the Buddha grew thin and lay motionless in the cage.
"Is it dead?" the hunter wondered.
He took the bird out to see what was wrong, and the Buddha jumped up and flew away.

~ 92. The Birds by the Lake ~
The Buddha was born as a bird, and he lived with other birds in a tree that stretched over a lake.
Some of the birds peed and pooped in the lake, and this made the great Naga-snake who lived in the lake angry.
The Naga made the waters of the lake boil, and he shot flames from his mouth into the branches of the tree.
“We must fly away!” said the Buddha, and the wise birds followed him to safety.
The foolish birds, however, stayed in the tree, peeing and pooping in the water, until they died in the flames.

~ 93. The Birds in the Tree ~
The Buddha was born as a bird and he lived together with a flock of birds in a mighty tree; the Buddha was the king of these birds.
The branches of the tree where the birds lived began to grind one against the other, producing sparks and smoke.
The king realized that this was the beginning of a fire, so he warned all the other birds. “We must fly away now!” he told them.
The wise birds listened, but the foolish birds ignored the Buddha's words.
The whole tree caught on fire, and the foolish birds perished in the flames.

~ 94. The Crow by the Highway ~
The Buddha was born as a bird and became their king.
There was a crow who hopped along the highway, eating the food that humans dropped there.
The bird-king warned all the birds that the human highway was dangerous, but the crow kept going there anyway, greedy for food.
One day as the crow was eating, she saw a caravan coming down the highway. “I’ll fly away soon!” she said, but she kept on eating... and so she was crushed under the wheels of a wagon.
“The highway is dangerous," said the Buddha, "but being greedy is even more dangerous."

~ 95. The Bird-King and the Peacock ~
The Buddha was again born as a bird, and again he became their king.
The bird-king had a daughter, and the time had come for her to choose a husband.
She liked the beautiful peacock most of all.
“I want the peacock to be my husband,” she said.
The peacock danced with excitement, and as he danced he exposed his private parts for all to see.
The birds were shocked!
The king of the birds said, “I can't let my daughter marry this bird. He is beautiful, but his dancing has led to disaster.”
The peacock flew away in shame.

~ 96. The Swan with the Golden Feathers ~
The Buddha was born as a man who had a wife and children.
When the man died, he was reborn as a swan with golden feathers.
The swan flew home and gave his wife a feather. “I'll return soon and give you more,” he promised.
But when he returned, his wife plucked all his feathers.
“Wicked woman, what have you done?” he cried, and the feathers in her hands became ordinary white swan feathers.
The wife threw the plucked swan into the garbage.
Then, when the Buddha's feathers grew back - white now, not golden - he flew away and never returned.

~ 97. The Drummer and the Bandits ~
The Buddha was born as a drummer, and his son was a drummer too.
Returning from a festival, they had to cross a forest full of bandits.
“I'll scare the bandits by beating the drum constantly,” said the boy.
“No!” said the Buddha. “Just beat the drum slowly now and then, like the drummer for a great lord.”
At the first drumbeats, the bandits fled, but when the son kept on drumming, they became curious. Then, when they saw a father and son traveling alone, they attacked and robbed them.
Too much, even of a good thing, is not good.

~ 98. The Monk and his Snake ~
There was once a Buddhist monk who had adopted a poisonous snake, keeping the snake in a cage like a pet.
The Buddha warned this monk that the snake couldn't be trusted, but the monk did not listen.
“I can't live without my snake friend,” he said.
One day the monk went to feed his snake. “Come here, my dear snake,” he said as he opened the cage. "I have food for you!"
Hunger had made the snake impatient, and it bit the monk on the hand.
Thus the foolish monk died, and the snake slithered away into the forest.

~ 99. The Buddha and the Mantra ~
The Buddha had taught one of his young disciples a mantra for bringing the dead to life.
"Use it carefully," the Buddha warned him.
Later on, the young man, together with some other disciples, went into the jungle. There they found a dead tiger.
"I will bring this dead tiger to life!" the disciple shouted, and then he spoke the mantra.
A living tiger sprang up, killed the young disciple, and ran off.
The other disciples returned to the Buddha and told him what had happened.
"Before people do favors for villains," the Buddha said, "they should consider the outcome."

~ 100. The Three Friends and the Tiger ~
There were three friends making their way through a jungle when they were attacked by a tiger.
The first friend shouted, "We are lost!"
The second friend shouted, "God, please save us!"
The third friend shouted, "We need to climb a tree!"
Here is what you need to understand about these three men.
The first man did not know God at all.
The second man was a seeker of God.
The third man had an ecstatic and complete love of God. His goal was not to save himself from the tiger, but to spare his beloved any trouble or worry.