Panchatantra stories retold - The cat, partridge and the hare
The story of the cat, partridge and the hare is from the famous collection of Panchatantra stories. The Panchatantra stories are believed to have been compiled almost eighteen centuries back, commonly attributed to Vishnu Sharma. There is a vast treasure of ancient stories and fables available to mankind including the Panchatantra stories and other collections such as Aesops fables, the Jataka tales etc. These short stories not only offer great entertainment, but although quite simple and consice offer thought provoking messages, moral and insights into common behaviour.
The story of the cat, partridge and the hare is one such short and simple story that shows that when two parties fight, they often forget prudence and a third party ends up gaining the most. This interesting story had been retold below.
Parry Partridge had a warm and cosy house under a huge tree. Parry had been living there for long. Once Parry found it difficult to get food for several days. He decided to go out a bit and try his luck. As Parry went on his expedition he came across a nice green field. Parry found a lot of food inside the field. Parry ate a lot and soon felt sleepy. He rested in a corner of the field an went to sleep. When he woke up it was evening and darkness was setting in. Parry decided to stay there itself for the night.
The next day also Parry had a wonderful time eating. Soon he thought to himself, let me stay here in this field itself for a few days. So Parry feasted to his heart's content for the next few days. But then he started getting homesick. So Parry decided to take some food and go back to his house.
As Parry reached home, he got a shock. For his house was occupied by Henry Hare his neighbour. Henry had found it vacant and had just moved in!
'Hey, Henry, that is my house," an indignant Parry cried.
"Says who?" retorted Henry. "I am living here now."
"But I have been living here for ages, Henry. You have seen me yourself every day!"
"That is neither here nor there," shot back Henry. "I am inside now, and that is what counts."
"But I own it," shouted Parry.
"Finders keepers," said Henry. "If you own it you should have taken it with you!"
Soon they had a raging argument.
As they were arguing, their eyes glanced upon a big board under a tree a little distance away saying, "Jungle Judge". This was Carey Cat's latest venture. Failing eyesight and old age had made it difficult for her to gather food, this was her latest stunt to try her luck.
"Look, there is a judge," said Henry. "Let us take our dispute to the judge. See, I found this place vacant and I have now made it my house. I have my rights too!"
Parry also welcomed the idea of going to (what he hoped would be) an impartial judge. They moved towards the board. As they neared, they saw the old cat. They were frightened at first, but the Carey spoke in soft tone, "Don't be afraid of me, friend. I am not another old cat. Now I am a judge! I will not harm you. You seem to have a dispute. Tell me all about it and I will resolve the issue."
"I say, Henry. It is a cat! Should we go to her for judgement."
"She seems quite old anyway. We can run faster than her." said Henry.
So they started telling Carey Cat about their dispute. As they started, Carey cupped her ears and cried, "What! What!"
Thinking that since they were far away from her she could not hear properly, they took a step closer and started telling their dispute again.
Still Carey cupped her ears and said, "What, what!"
"As you can see friends, I am quite old. Please come closer to me and explain your dispute. I shall resolve it according to the law." said Carey her mouth beginning to water.
And so it was that Parry Partridge and Henry Hare came close to Carey Cat. As they came within striking distance Carey Cat threw off her wig and pounced on both of them. That was the end of the partridge and the hare.
And so the moral of this story of the cat, partridge and the hare is that if you fight only others benefit.
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