The Shrewd Old Goose

In a part of a forest was a fig tree with massive branches. In it lived a flock of wild geese. At the root of this tree appeared a creeping vine of the species called Koshambi. Thereupon the grandpa goose said: “This vine that is climbing our fig tree may become harmful for us. By means of it, someone might perhaps climb up here someday and kill us. Take it away while it is still slender and readily cut. Any unnecessary risks should be nipped in the bud.” But the geese did not listen to him and let the vine be, so that in course of time it wound its way up the tree.

One day when the geese were out foraging, a hunter climbed the fig tree by following the spiral vine, laid a snare among the nests, and went home.

When the geese returned at nightfall, they were caught to the last one. Whereupon the grandpa goose said: “Well, the disaster has taken place. You are caught, having brought it on yourselves by not heeding my advice. We are all lost now.”

Then the geese said to him: “Sir, the thing having come to pass, what ought we to do now?” And the old fellow replied: “If you will take my advice, play dead when that hateful hunter comes. And when the hunter, inferring that we are dead, throws the last one to the ground, we then must all rise simultaneously, flying over his head.”

At early dawn the hunter arrived, and when he looked them over, everyone seemed as good as dead. He therefore freed them from the snare with perfect assurance, and threw them all to the ground, one after the other. But when they saw him preparing to descend, they all followed the shrewd plan of the grandpa goose and flew away simultaneously.

The Turtle and Geese

In a certain lake lived a turtle named Kambugriva. He had as friends two geese whose names were Sankat and Vikat. Once there was a twelve-year drought, which forced the geese to think: “This lake is getting dry. Let us seek another water body. However, we must first say farewell to Kambugriva, our dear and long proved friend.”

When they did so, the turtle said: “Why do you bid me farewell? I am a water-dweller, and here I should perish very quickly from the scant supply of water. All good people should come to the rescue of friends and relatives in times of need.”

But they replied: “We are unable to take you with us since you are a water-creature without wings.” Yet the turtle continued: “There is a possible device. Bring a stick of wood.” This they did, whereupon the turtle gripped the middle of the stick between his teeth, and said: “Now take firm hold with your bills, one on each side, fly up, and travel with even flight through the sky, until we discover another desirable body of water.”

But they objected: “There is a hitch in this fine plan. If you happen to indulge in the smallest conversation, then you will lose your hold on the stick, will fall from a great height, and will be dashed to bits.” Looking at his current options, Kambugriva agreed to keep his mouth shut during the entire journey.

So they carried out the plan, but while the two geese were painfully carrying the turtle over a neighbouring city, the people below noticed the spectacle, and there arose a confused buzz of talk as they asked: “What is this cart like object that two birds are carrying through the atmosphere?”

Hearing this, the doomed turtle was stupid enough to ask: “What are these people chattering about?” The moment he spoke, the poor simpleton lost his grip and fell to the ground and the people at once killed him.