The frog king and the snake

Panchatantra Series

Image: Amar chitrakatha

Gangadatta was the king of frogs who lived in a well. He had his subjects and his relatives were also living in the same well. He did not like some of the relatives and thought they had an eye on his throne. Those frogs used to create many problems to the king.

Once, he was very angry and decided to take revenge and teach them the lesson of their lives. He mentioned it to his wife that he was leaving the well to find out some solutions to this problem. His wife advised him to act wisely and not to take any hasty decisions in anger. Asked him not to get into trouble by trying to harm those enemies.

However, Gangadatta went outside the well with the help of the pail and the water wheel. Outside, he observed Priyadarshana, a snake slithering into its hole and he called him out. The snake was scared as someone is calling him and it may be a trick of a snake charmer. However, Gangadatta spoke from outside and told the snake that he is a frog king and wants to be a friend.

The snake was surprised by this and still came out and asked, “We are born enemies. Snakes eat frogs, how can we be friends?” The frog king told him that he wanted to teach his relatives a lesson. “I want to punish them. I will take you to the well and you can eat them all.”

The snake inquired about the well and where he would stay and finally agreed to accompany the frog king. As the snake was slightly older and weaker, it was an opportunity for it to eat well and grow stronger.

Gangadatta took the snake to his well and asked him to eat his enemies, spare his near and dear ones. The snake agreed, and he started eating the frogs, one by one, as and when pointed out by the frog king. Soon all the enemies of the king Gangadatta were eaten up.

The king asked the snake to go back to his earlier place. As the snake was comfortable in the well, it refused to go and told him that some other snake would have taken that place. It asked the king to supply a frog each day. The king realized his mistake, he had no options and then he agreed.

It was a disaster. The snake started eating more and more frogs and the only frogs remaining in the well were the king and his family. The snake sneaked in started eating them also. One day, the snake said to the king, “I have finished eating all enemies. Now, I have nothing to eat except you and your wife.”

Gangadatta managed to gather some courage and said to the snake, “I will visit other wells and ponds and persuade the frogs living there to come to this empty well. Once they are here, you can feast on them.”
The snake agreed and asked him to do it soon as it was very hungry. Both the king and his wife came out of the well and hopped away. They never returned to the same well again.

Gangadatta’s strategy of getting the snake to avenge against fellow frogs did backfire on him. The story is relevant to the current scenario in the world and it would have been a better place if people had taken wise decisions in such situations. Anyway, let us look at some lessons from this story.

  • Don’t get the enemy to your backyard.
  • Don’t cut of your nose to spite your face.
  • Do not be blind to the power of your enemy.
  • Better to wait for a while and think, instead of taking hasty decision.
  • It may not be wise to trust some one just because he is the enemy of your enemies.
  • Calculate the risks before venturing into unknown terrain.
  • Good to check on pros and cons while taking a bigger decision.
  • It makes sense to listen to advisers and consult wise people when in doubt.

What is your takeaway from this story…?

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