Ancient India Stories Panchatantra The Foolish Friend: The Panchatantra is an inter-woven series of colorful fables. Many of these stories involved animals exhibiting animal stereotypes. Apart from a short introduction, in which the author, Vishnu Sarma, introduced narrating the rest of the work to the princes, it consisted of five parts. These five books are called:

  1. Mitra-Bheda: The Separation of Friends (The Lion and the Bull)
  2. Mitra-Labha or Mitra-Samprapti: The Gaining of Friends (The Dove, Crow, Mouse, Tortoise, and Deer)
  3. Kakolukiyam: Of Crows and Owls (War and Peace)
  4. Labdhapranasam: Loss Of Gains (The Monkey and the Crocodile)
  5. Aparik? Itakarakam: Ill-Considered Action / Rash deeds (The Brahman and the Mongoose)

Some of the Stories from the Panchatantra are:

Ancient India Stories Panchatantra The Foolish Friend

A king, while visiting his wives’ apartments, took a monkey from a neighboring stable for a pet. He kept him constantly close at hand for his amusement, for as it is said, parrots, partridges, doves, rams, monkeys, and such creatures are a king’s natural companions.

It goes without saying that the monkey, fed on the various dishes that the king gave him, grew large and was given respect by all who surrounded the king. Indeed, the king, due to his love and exceeding trust of the monkey, even gave him a sword to carry. In the vicinity of the palace, the king had a grove artfully planted with many trees of various sorts.

Ancient India Stories Panchatantra The Foolish Friend
Panchatantra: The Foolish Friend

Early in the springtime, the king noticed how beautiful the grove was. Its blossoms exuded a magnificent fragrance, while swarms of bees sang praise to the god of love. Thus overcome by love, he entered the grove with his favorite wife. He ordered all his servants to wait for him at the entrance.

After having pleasantly strolling through and observing the grove, he grew tired and said to his monkey, “I want to sleep a little while in this arbor of flowers. Take care that nothing disturbs me!” Having said this, the king fell asleep. Presently a bee, pursuing the aroma of the flowers, betel, and musk, flew up and lit on his head.

Seeing this, the monkey thought angrily, “What is this? Am I to allow this common creature to bite the king before my very eyes?”With that, he proceeded to drive it away. However, in spite of the monkey’s defense, the bee approached the king again and again.

Finally, blinded by anger, the monkey drew his sword and struck down the bee with a single blow. However, the same blow also split the king’s head. The queen, who was sleeping next to the king jumped up in terror.

Seeing the crime, she said, “Oh, oh, you foolish monkey! What have you done to the king who placed such trust in you?”The monkey explained how it had happened, but thereafter he was shunned and scorned by everyone. Thus it is said, “Do not choose a fool for a friend, for the king was killed by a monkey.” And I say, “It is better to have a clever enemy than a foolish friend.”