Hitopadesha Tales – The Tiger and the Golden Bangle
One’s weakness is another person’s strength. See how a tiger exploits the weaknesses of humans to his advantage.
There was once a beautiful town situated next to a forest, with a river flowing through it. But in order for the people to reach other towns, they had to pass through the forest. One day, a merchant was passing through this forest to go to another town. As he walked, a tiger was prowling near him in the bushes. The tiger went closer and closer and when he was near enough, he pounced on him. The tiger feasted on the merchant and also took his gold bangle, which was very heavy and lustrous. Though he had no use for the bangle, he still decided to keep it, as it may be of some use in the future.
After many years, the tiger grew old and frail and he could no longer hunt like before. So, he was looking for other ways to obtain food. Then, his eyes fell on the gold bangle and he thought of a cunning plan. He took the gold bangle and went and hid among the bushes.
After some time, a man named Gopal passed through the forest and the tiger, seeing this, stretched his hand out, so that the bangle would be visible to him. Gopal saw this and went near to fetch it, but as he went closer, the tiger came out. Gopal immediately took two steps back in fear. The tiger then urged the man to take the bangle from him, but the man refused. The tiger then added that he had abstained from hunting long ago and that the man’s fear was only in vain. Gopal then thought for a few seconds and eventually his greed got the better of him and he went near the tiger to take the bangle. As Gopal inched closer, the tiger waited patiently and when he was near enough, the tiger caught a hold of his neck and killed him.
Like this, the tiger used the golden bangle as bait and fooled many people. He feasted on many humans using their greed to his advantage. The tiger was happy that he took the golden bangle long ago from the merchant and he was also thankful to the foolishness of the humans, because of which he was able to now live longer.
Moral – One should not become a slave to greed as it always does more harm than good.