Can You Trust Man
Once upon a time, there lived a poor Brahmin.
One day, his wife said to him, “Our children are starving. Don’t you think you should do something to satisfy their hunger? Go wherever you have to, but get something for them to eat.”
The Brahmin left his house to get some food for his wife and children. He walked out of the village and soon reached a forest. The Brahmin was feeling thirsty. As he was looking around for a stream or a river to quench his thirst, he suddenly noticed a small well.
The Brahmin went to the well and peeped into it. And what did he see? There was a tiger, a snake, a monkey and a man in the well!
When the tiger saw the Brahmin looking down into the well, he said, “O Brahmin! Please help me get out of the well.”
The Brahmin said, “I can help you come out of the well, but what if you kill me afterwards?”
“I promise that I will not kill you,” said the tiger.
The Brahmin helped the tiger come out of the well
The tiger thanked the Brahmin.
Then pointing to a hill, he said, “Do you see that hill over there? I live in a cave at the foot of that hill. Whenever you need me, please come to me. You have saved my life and I am indebted to you. I will be glad to help you.”
Saying this, the tiger bowed to the Brahmin and walked away.
The monkey, who was still in the well, said, “O Brahmin, please help me, too.”
The Brahmin helped the monkey come out of the well.
The monkey pointed to a big tree and said, “I live in that tree. Whenever you need me, do come to me. You have saved my life and I am indebted to you. I, too, will be glad to help you.”
Saying this, the monkey jumped on to a branch of a tree and left.
Meanwhile, the snake, who was still in the well, called out to the Brahmin and said, “O Brahmin! Please help me get out of the well.”
“Oh! I am scared of you,” said the Brahmin.
The snake said, “Do not fear me. We do not bite without a reason. Who knows? Some day, I may be helpful to you.”
The Brahmin helped the snake come out of the well. The snake thanked the Nrahmin and said, “Whenever you are in trouble, think of me. I will at once come to your help.”
Atlast, the Brahmin was about to help the man come out of the well. But the snake stopped him saying, “Don’t help the man come out of the well. Don’t ever trust man.”
Having said this, the snake went away.
The man, who was still inside the well, called out to the Brahmin and said, “O Brahmin! You helped all the animals come out of the well. I am a human being. Why don’t you help get out of the me well?”
The Brahmin pitied the man. He helped him come out of the well
The man said to the Brahmin, “I am a goldsmith. Whenever you want to buy or sell gold, come to me.”
The Brahmin wandered here and there in search of food, but he did not find anything to take home for his children. He then decided to seek the help of the monkey. The monkey gave the Brahmin some fresh and juicy fruits and said, “You may take fruits from me every day.”
The tiger’s cave was also near that tree. “Let me meet the tiger too,” thought the Brahmin as he walked towards the cave. “Let me see how eager he is to help me.”
The tiger gave the Brahmin some golden ornaments and said, “These ornaments belong to a prince whom I had killed. They are of no use to me, but I know that they will be very useful to you. So you can take them.”
The Brahmin was delighted. He thought, “Now let me go to the goldsmith to sell these golden ornaments. I will get a lot of money for them and then I can live comfortably and happily with my family.”
The Brahmin went to the goldsmith and showed him the golden ornaments, which he wanted to sell. The goldsmith was surprised. He could not believe his eyes. “I had made these ornaments for the prince,” he said to himself. He then took some time to think.
“Sit here and wait for me.” he said to the Brahmin. “I have to go out, but I will return soon.”
The goldsmith took the ornaments and went to the king.
He showed him the prince’s ornaments
The king at once said, “Oh! These are my son’s ornaments, indeed! Where did you find them?”
The goldsmith said, “A Brahmin wants to sell these ornaments to me. I have asked him to wait at my house. I think the Brahmin must have killed the prince.”
Meanwhile, the poor Brahmin was still waiting for the goldsmith to return
Suddenly, the king’s soldiers came there and arrested him. They tied him up with a rope and presented him before the king.
When the King saw the Brahmin standing before him, he flew into a rage. “Put him into the prison and send him to the gallows tomorrow morning,” said the king, ordering his soldiers.
Sitting in the prison, the Brahmin thought of the snake. At once the snake appeared before him. The Brahmin narrated his story to the snake. The snake thought of a plan and said, “I will bite the queen. Except you, no one will be able to remove the poison from her body. The queen will regain consciousness only by your touch. This will please the king and he will pardon you.”
As planned, the snake went into the queen’s chamber and bit her.
There was commotion in the palace. Many hakims, vaidyas and even sorcerers were summoned to the palace. But none succeeded in his effort to bring the queen back to consciousness.
At last, the king issued a proclamation to search for a man who could save the queen’s life.
The Brahmin, who was in the can save the prison, said, “I queen’s life.”
He was immediately taken to the queen. The Brahmin gently touched the queen’s hand. And lo! There was a miracle.
The queen instantly regained her consciousness. She opened her eyes.
When the king saw that the Brahmin had saved the queen’s life, he was beside himself with joy. He was very pleased with the Brahmin.
The king duly honoured the Brahmin and said politely, “O Brahmin!You have saved my wife’s life and I am indebted to you. You are, indeed, a great man. Now tell me how you got my prince’s ornaments. Please oblige me by telling me the truth. That would help me find out the cause of my prince’s death and also punish the one who has tried to frame you for his death.”
The Brahmin narrated his whole story to the king.
Once again, thought of the snake. When the snake appeared before him, the Brahmin thanked him for saving the Brahmin his life.
When the king came to know that it was the snake who had prevented him from doing injustice to the Brahmin, he honoured the snake, too.
The net day, the King summoned the court. He invited all the people of the kingdom to attend his court. He then told them about the Brahmin’s experience with the monkey, the tiger and the snake. Then he asked the assembly, “Can you trust animals like the monkey, the tiger and the snake?”
“Yes,” said the assembly in unison.
“How should I punish the goldsmith who tried to frame the Brahmin for the prince’s death?” asked the king.
“He should be put into the prison,” said the assembly.
The king sent the cunning goldsmith to prison and rewarded the Brahmin with a bag of gold coins.