Explore: For another story about greed and jealousy, see The Story of the Three Hunters. For another story about a chain of interconnected events, see the tale of The Two Little Cats.
[notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Tibetan Folktales unit. Story source: Tibetan Folk Tales by A.L. Shelton with illustrations by Mildred Bryant (1925).
A fox came along and said, "Ah, here is enough meat to last me a year, but I guess I had better cut the string that holds the bow, for fear the hunter will return and set it again for me." So he chewed it and the bow sprang, striking him on the head and killing him instantly.
Near the place where the two lay dead was a gully, and in it lay an elephant asleep. A rabbit came along and saw the elephant lying still, played and hopped around, until finally the elephant opened his eyes and watched him. "That's very queer that a little fellow like you can jump so far. I believe I'll try it," he thought. So he gave a big jump and his front feet caught and loosed a big rock that fell on his back and killed him.
All three were dead now, the bear, the fox and the elephant. Then seven robbers came along and exclaimed, "Just look at the meat; we will stay here a few days and eat." But they must have water too, and nobody wanted to carry it. Each wanted the other to go. They finally got three to go and the four who were left said, "We will fix up three nice pieces of meat and put some poison in it for them when they get back, and we four will have all this meat, bones and ivory." So they fixed up the poison meat for the three men who were gone, for they had to go a long way over the mountain after the water.
The three who carried the water said: "Those four fellows are bad men, we are doing all the work carrying this water for them, so we will put some poison in it, then we can have all the meat." When they got back the others were very thirsty and took a big drink, and in a little while they were all dead.
"Now," said the three, "we will have all this meat and stuff ourselves." So the three took meat already cut and ate that, and in a little bit they were dead too.
Now the moral is, "First, people shouldn't be greedy when there is plenty for all (the fox wanted all the meat to eat for a year and tried to ruin the bow and got killed). Second, you mustn't do what you aren't fitted for (the elephant tried to do what the rabbit was doing and got killed). Then the four men begrudged the three and the three begrudged the four, so they all died.
Next: The Wise Carpenter(500 words)