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Panchatantra Stories – The Mongoose and the Snake

Read how acting in haste makes waste and how it is unwise to act before knowing all the details of a particular situation.

Once upon a time there lived a brahmin and his wife in a hut. The wife soon gave birth to a baby boy. The brahmin would go out regularly to get food and one such time, he found a baby mongoose walking besides its dead mother. He took pity and decided to adopt the mongoose. 

So he took the mongoose home and his wife too agreed to raise the mongoose along with her child.

The wife took equally good care of the mongoose and the baby. However, she was careful to keep the baby away from the mongoose as the mongoose had sharp teeth. One day, the wife had to go out to the river in order to fetch some water and so carrying a pot, she informed her husband and left the hut. After some time, the brahmin too left the hut as he had some urgent work. He forgot that his wife was not there and so the baby and the mongoose were left alone now.

The baby was sleeping peacefully and the mongoose was roaming about the house. Suddenly, a snake came hissing into the house and moved rapidly towards the baby which was sleeping. The mongoose saw this and without any hesitation, it charged towards the snake and pounced on it. A great fight took place, but the mongoose emerged victorious. The mongoose had ripped the snake to shreds with its sharp claws and teeth. The floor was splattered with blood and even the mongoose had blood on its mouth and body.

The mongoose then stood outside the house to protect the baby from any further harm. The wife then came carrying a pot filled with water on her head and she saw the mongoose sitting outside the house. She saw the mouth of the mongoose covered in blood and hastily rushed to the conclusion that the mongoose had hurt her baby. In a fit of rage, she threw the heavy pot of water on the mongoose’s head, which killed him instantly.

After going inside the house, she found the floor covered in blood and the dead snake lying in pieces. She also saw her son safely sleeping and then she knew what had happened. She fell down to the floor weeping and regretted her hasty actions. The brahmin too came home and on seeing everything, he scolded his wife for being reckless. The family thus lost a good soul and a saviour.

Moral – Haste makes waste and there is no use crying over spilt milk. One must learn all the details of a situation properly before acting on it.

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