Panchatantra – The Loss of Friends


The following is all thanks to Wikipedia: The Panchatantra consists of five books – Mitra-bhed: The Loss of Friends; Mitra-lābha or Mitra-samprāpti: The Gaining of Friends; Kākolūkīyam: War and Peace; Labdhapraṇāśam: Loss Of Gains; Aparīkṣitakārakaṃ: Ill-Considered Action / Rash deeds.

The next few tales in verse are from

The Loss of Friends

The first strategy, it’s quite a patakha*

The loss of friends, as told by two jackals

They were Kara-taka and Da-ma-naka

And these are their tales, not one but all…

Long, long ago there once was a merchant

Vardh-aman was his name you see

He lived in a tiny little hamlet

A man not as smart as his name was he

One day as he lay resting on his bed

A great and amazing truth came to him

He smacked his hand on his broad forehead

‘All these years’ he said, ‘I have been so dim.’

‘Money’s the axis of the world,’ he said,

‘The more I have the more pow’rful I’ll be’

‘Even enemies befriend the rich,’ he said

‘So more wealth in the world I must go seek.’

‘The old become young if riches they have

Without it even the young soon perish

The Gods gave us business, one of six ways

To amass great wealth,’ he thought with relish.

Vardh-aman then collected all his stuff

Decorated his cart and loaded it up

Smacked his two bullocks, and acted so tough

“To Madhura we’ll go and there we’ll live it up!”

His servants followed him on his journey

But the road was long and the load heavy

One of the bullocks named Sanjeev-aka

Collapsed in the jungle near the Jumna

But Vardh-aman, he didn’t want to stay

To care for the bullock would him delay

So he left some servants to care for it

And went on his way not worried a bit.

But the servants they left the bullock behind

And just like their master they were not kind

‘Oh, sir’, they all cried as they wept and said

‘Sanjeev-aka your old bullock is dead’.

But Sanjeev-aka was not dead you see

He fed on the grass and revived did he

He gathered his strength and merrily went

To explore the jungle was his intent.

Now in the same forest lived a lion bold

And his name my friends was Ping-a-laka

Ping-a-laka the jungle king of old

Ping-a-laka a king so brave and bold.

One day Ping-a-laka and other beasts too

Were drinking from the river Jam-una

When a mighty roar made them all stop, ‘shoo’

But they didn’t know it was Sanjeev-aka

(But it was only old Sanjeev-aka)

Sanjeev-aka just singing and dancing

Prancing around he did merrily tread

Free and content and singing and roaring

Unaware of the fear, he caused and the dread.

The king in a panic to a cave withdrew

Around him he gathered all his subjects true

But the jackals didn’t like this at all

‘One noise from the jungle, made our king fall?’

So Dama-nak-a and Kara-tak too

Wondered between them what they should do

Their dads, ex-ministers, had once been sacked

‘No we shouldn’t, poke our noses into…’

‘Matters that don’t, concern us, not really

Matters that are like that monkey story

‘Which monkey story?” Dama-nak-a said

‘Oh,’ said Kara-tak, ‘the log and the wedge’.

*A fire-cracker


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