Jataka Tales – The Fox and the Otters
One person’s sorrow is another person’s joy. Watch how this classic saying is brought alive in this story!!
Once upon a time, there lived a family of 2 foxes. The male fox loved his wife very much and though they had no children, they were still very happy. The fox kept his wife happy by giving her whatever she wanted and during one of her usual requests, she asked him to get a fish to eat as she had never eaten seafood before.
So he went out and as he was walking in the forest, he thought about how he was going to catch the fish as he had never caught one before. But he decided to try his luck somehow and made his way to the river. He went near the river and sat on the banks. He saw fishes leaping in and out of the river and at this sight, his mouth watered and his mind was thinking of a thousand thoughts on how to catch the fish. But all his ideas were in vain as he was afraid of the swift current of water in the river. He was dejected and decided to go back home.
Just then, he heard the sounds of two animals arguing. He followed the sound by walking along the banks of the river. After going some distance, he found two otters arguing over a fish. One was arguing that he wanted the fish as he had caught it by its head and the other one was arguing that the fish should be his as he had caught it by its tail fin. The fox immediately hatched a devious plan and went and spoke to them. He said that he had an idea to solve their conflict and said that he would be back after getting a knife.
The fox then went out into the forest and after some time, he returned with a knife in his mouth. He went to the otters and asked them for the fish. They gave him the fish and with the help of the knife, he cut the fish into 3 pieces. The first piece was the head and the fox gave this to the first otter. The second piece was the tail fin and this piece was given to the second otter. The third piece which was remaining was the majority of the body of the fish. The otters then asked the fox as to how he was going to split it.
At this point the fox threw a big twist and said that the third piece was the payment for all his hard work and without a word further, he picked up the piece and walked away coolly. The otters then realised what had happened and regretted their silly conflict. The fox meanwhile gave the fish to his wife and they both lived happily. Back at the river, the otters could do nothing but regret their foolishness. Just as when two friends fight, a third person benefits from it, in the same way, the fox had benefited from the hard work of the otters.
Moral – Friends should never fight unnecessarily as it is no good and will only benefit outsiders.