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 Three Fishes

In a great lake lived three fishes named Anagatavidhata (meaning Fore Thought), Pratyutpannamati (meaning Ready Wit), and Yadbhavishya (meaning Fatalist). One day Anagatavidhata overheard passers-by on the bank and the fishermen were discussing: “There are plenty of fish in this pond. Let us come here for fishing tomorrow.”

On hearing this, Anagatavidhata reflected: “This looks bad. Tomorrow or the day after they will surely come here. I will take Pratyutpannamati and Yadbhavishya and move to another lake whose waters are not troubled. As the wise men have said weak men should flee when a strong man invades or seek refuge in a fort.” So he called them and put up the suggestion. “Let’s go elsewhere. Those who are afraid of foreign lands and those who are bound to their soil will die in their own country. He who can prosper anywhere does not die in his own land clinging to sentiment.

Thereupon Pratyutpannamati said: “I have lived long in this lake and cannot move in such a hurry. If fishermen come here, then I will protect myself by some means devised for the occasion.”

But poor, doomed Yadbhavishya said: “There is a lot of difference between plans and action. There are sizable lakes elsewhere too. Who knows whether they will come here or not? One should not abandon the lake of his birth merely because of such small gossip. If it is destined, we cannot escape death even if we go elsewhere. Everything is in the hands of God. You cannot dispose what he proposes. Without his blessings people will die even if they have protection. With his blessings nobody can kill them even if they do not have protection. Therefore I am determined not to go.”

And when Anagatavidhata realized that their minds were made up, he went to another lake.

On the next day, when he had gone, the fishermen with their boys beset the inner pool, cast a net, and caught all the fish without exception. Under these circumstances Pratyutpannamati, while still in the water, played dead. And since they thought: “This big fellow died without help,” they drew him from the net and laid him on the bank, from which he wriggled back to safety in the water.

But Yadbhavishya stuck his nose into the meshes of the net, struggling until they pounded him repeatedly with clubs and thus killed him.