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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 Greedy Jackal
By Vishnu Sharma (Pilpay) (c. 1000 B.C.?)
 
From the ‘Panchatantra,’ Book ii., Fable 3: Translation of Charles Rockwell Lanman

THE BRAHMAN said:—
  Excessive greed should ne’er be cherished.
  Have greed—but keep it moderate.
The all too greedy jackal perished,
  A wooden top-knot on his pate.
  1
  “How was that?” asked the brahman woman. And the brahman narrated.  2
 
  IN a certain forest lived a savage tribesman, who, on a day, set out a-hunting. And as he went he met a mighty boar, as big as the peak of Mount Anjana. Straightway, drawing his bow till the string touched his ear, he let fly a keen arrow and hit the boar. Full of rage, the boar, with his sharp tusk that gleamed like the young moon’s crescent, ripped up the belly of the hunter, that he fell lifeless to earth. But the boar too yielded his life, from the smarting wound of the arrow.  3
  Meantime a jackal, for whom Fate had ordained a speedy death, roaming for hunger hither and yon, came to the spot. Delighted at the sight of the boar and the hunter, he bethought him: “Ah! Fate is kind to me in giving me this unexpected food. How true is the saying:—
  No finger need’st thou raise! may’st work or sleep!
  But of thy deeds wrought in a former birth,
The fruit—or good or ill—thou needs must reap!
  Inexorable Karma rules the earth.
And again—
  In whatso time of life, or when, or where,
  In former birth thou didst or good or ill,
In just that time of life, and then, and there,
  In future birth, of fruit shalt have thy fill!
Now I’ll manage it so with these carcasses that I shall get a living off of them for many days. And to begin withal, I’ll eat the sinew which forms the bowstring. For they say—
  A wise man doth sip the elixir of life,
  Circumspectly and slowly, and heedful.
Thus enjoy thou the riches thou’st won by thy strife:
  Never take at one time more than needful.”
  4
  Making up his mind in this way, he took the end of the bow in his mouth, and began to gnaw the sinew. But as soon as his teeth cut through the string, the bow tore through his palate, and came out of his head like a top-knot, and he gave up the ghost. Therefore, continued the brahman, therefore I say:—
  Excessive greed should ne’er be cherished.
  Have greed—but keep it moderate.
The all too greedy jackal perished,
  A wooden top-knot on his pate.
  5
 
 
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