Panchatantra stories - The donkey with no brains
The Panchatantra stories were authored almost eighteen centuries ago by Vishnu Sharma. These stories though short and simple are quite entertaining and often convey important messages or insights. The donkey with no brains is a Panchatantra story retold.
The old lion is hungry
Leven Lion was getting old. His eyesight was not as keen as it used to be and his movements were slowing down. But hunger still remained and getting food was becoming more and more difficult.
One day Leven called on Flashy Fox, his personal secretary. "I am getting quite old, Flashy," Leven confessed. "I am no longer able to hunt for my food the way I used to. I am very hungry today. Do bring some animal here near to me, so I can pounce on it and eat it."
"Easier said than done," thought Flashy. "Who on earth will agree to come with me to be eaten up by a lion?" But he couldn't quite tell his boss that. So all he said was, "I shall go right away boss."
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Flashy finds a victim
As Flashy wandered away, after a while he came across an old donkey standing under a tree. "Hi, donkey," cried Flashy, "why are you looking so gloomy?"
"What a life this is," lamented the donkey. "My master the washerman works me to death and I don't get that much to eat also anyway. So I have run away from him. Now I am wondering what to do next. I need some kind of a job, one that would not be too taxing and provide me two full meals a day, preferably four!"
"Oh! donkey, donkey - you are just what I was looking for," exclaimed Flashy. "My boss, Leven Lion needs an assistant to go with him while he goes hunting. Why don't you came for this job. It won't be too much of work, for he hunts only once in a way. The rest of the time you can be free and roam about as you wish - like I am doing now. And food is never a problem, there will always plenty.
The donkey runs away
So the donkey went with Flashy to the lion. Leven Lion saw Flashy coming back with a plump donkey and he was overjoyed thinking that his food woes would be solved for some time now. As Flashy came towards him with the donkey, Leven could hardly restrain himself. As soon as the donkey neared, Leven pounced on it. But Leven had become really weak, and the frightened donkey was able to elude his grasp and run away.
Flashy Fox was furious. "Couldn't you wait another minute boss," he exclaimed.
Leven was ashamed. "Sorry, old fellow," he said. "I just got a little anxious. It won't happen again next time."
"What next time is he talking about," muttered Flashy. "Who on earth will come with me again to be eaten up by this lion!"
"What did you say," cried Leven.
"Nothing, I just said that I would go back and try to persuade the donkey to come back." And so Flash Fox went off.
The donkey lured again
He saw the frightened donkey hiding behind a huge rock. As soon as the donkey saw Flashy, it turned to run away, but Flashy cried out, "Oh! donkey, donkey why are you running. Good food is waiting for you; why did you run away from my boss. I am your friend and I am trying to help you, but you are running away!
"Funny friend," cried the donkey. Your boss jumped on me and almost ate me up.
"Oh dear! You have it all wrong." cried Flashy. "My boss wouldn't dream of attacking any of my friends. And besides he never eats donkeys. It is a matter of principle with him. He was quite impressed with you and he was only hurrying to you to discuss the terms of employment with you. I think he really like you; when he really likes someone is when he can't wait to talk to them and he actually jumps towards them. Do come back with me. This is the ideal place for you."
And the foolish donkey, actually believed all this and went back with Flashy.
The end of the donkey
This time Leven Lion did not make the same mistake. He smiled (a lion's smile) at the donkey when he came and stood quite still until the donkey came close by.
"Good afternoon, sir" greeted the donkey.
"What, what!" exclaimed Leven Lion. "Dear donkey please come a little closer. I am a little hard of hearing you know."
The foolish donkey came very close. Leven Lion pounced on it and that was the end of the donkey.
Leven Lion got ready to eat up the donkey. But of course Flashy had his own ideas.
"Boss," he said. "Do go and have a bath. That way you will feel fresh and the you can feast on the donkey. I shall watch over it for you until you come."
Leven agreed and went off to the river.
The donkey with no brains
Flashy started to nibble at the donkey and before he knew it he had eaten the donkey's brain.
Leven Lion came back after his bath. He went for his meal right away, but as he started on the donkey, he noticed that its brain was missing.
"Where is the donkey's brain," he roared.
"Boss! Donkeys have no brains. Do you think this donkey would have come back for the second time, if it had a brain?"
And Leven Lion believed that!