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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Lion-Makers
By Vishnu Sharma (Pilpay) (c. 1000 B.C.?)
 
From the ‘Panchatantra,’ Book v., No. 4: Translation of Charles Rockwell Lanman

EVEN men of learning and noble birth are sometimes devoid of common-sense. For, true is the saying:—
  Book-learning people rightly cherish;
  But gumption ’s best of all to me.
Bereft of gumption you shall perish,
  Like to the Lion-makers three.
  1
  “How was that?” said the Man-with-the-wheel. And the Gold-magician narrated:—  2
 
  IN a certain place there dwelt four brahman youths in the greatest friendship. Three of them had got to the further shore of the ocean of science, but were devoid of common-sense; while the fourth had common-sense only, and no mind for science. Now once upon a time these friends took counsel together, and said, “Of what profit is science, if we cannot go with it to some foreign country and win the favor of princes and make our fortune? Therefore to the Eastern Country let us go.” And so it came to pass.  3
  Now after they had gone a little way, the eldest spoke: “There is one among us, the fourth, who has no learning, but only common-sense; and a man can’t get presents from kings by common-sense without learning. Not a whit will I give him of all that I gain; so let him go home.” And the second said, “Ho there, Gumption! get you homeward, for you have no learning!” But the third made answer, “Alas, it is not fitting so to do; for we have played together since we were boys. So let him come along too. He’s a noble fellow, and shall have a share in the riches that we win.”  4
  On then they went together, till in a jungle they saw the bones of a dead lion. Then spoke the first: “Ha! now we can put our book-learning to the test. Here lies some sort of a dead creature: by the power of our learning we’ll bring it to life. I’ll put the bones together.” And that then he did with zeal. The second added flesh, blood, and hide. But just as the third was breathing the breath of life into it, Gumption stopped him and said, “Hold: this is a lion that you are turning out. If you make him alive, he will kill every one of us.” Thereupon made answer the other, “Fie, stupid! is learning to be fruitless in my hands?” “Well then,” said Gumption, “just wait a bit till I climb a tree.”  5
  Thereupon the lion was brought to life. But the instant this was done, he sprang up and killed the three. Afterwards Gumption climbed down and went home.  6
 
  Therefore, concluded the Gold-magician, therefore I say:—
  Book-learning people rightly cherish;
  But gumption ’s best of all to me.
Bereft of gumption you shall perish,
  Like to the Lion-makers three.
  7
 
 
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