Indian literature is thought to be the earliest in the world, having contributed most in terms of classic literature. One of India’s most influential contributions to world literature is the “Panchatantra”, a collection of most creative and imaginative Stories for children. This oldest surviving fables in Sanskrit from ancient India, is thought to be written by Vishnu Sharma by around 3rd century BC.
The Panchatantra is the best guide to develop moral values in children, as each tale has a lesson at the end. In all Panchatantra stories, plants and animals can speak. This itself will make children use their imagination and see the world in a different way.
Birth of “Panchatantra”
King Amarashakti, who used to rule Mahilaropya in southern India, had three sons with much to be desired, as they were not quite bright. The king asked his favorite and brightest scholar in the court, Vishnu Sharma, to educate them. Within first few days of interaction with them, Vishnu Sharma understands the traditional teaching methods is not going to help them as they are way back in absorbing it. And it was then he came up with the Panchatantra as a solution. These stories he made with an intention of teaching them the five tantras or values that empower a human being. The five tantra comprise:
1. “Mitra labha” or “Gaining of friends”:
Feature stories about how to win friends.
2. “Mitra bheda” or “Losing of friends”:
Feature stories about how one may lose his closest friends.
3. “Aparïksitakárakam” or “acting without thinking”:
Tells us how actions have consequences, and that we can lose what is important to us, if we act without thinking twice.
4. “Labdhapranásam” or “Loss of gains”:
Tells us that it is always possible to get out of a difficult situation without losing anything.
5. “Kákolùkïyam” or “Of crows and owls”:
This volume of Panchatantra includes stories that feature tactics and rule of war and peace.
As the centuries pass, several stories with similar morals as the Panchatantra are promoted as tales from the Panchatantra, but lacking evidence of the stories being contained in the original version.
Here is the list of stories in the Panchatantra.
Book 1: “Mitra bheda” or “Losing of friends”:
- The Monkey and the Wedge
- The Jackal and the Drum
- The Fall and Rise of a Merchant
- The Foolish Sage
- Fighting Goats and the Jackal
- The Cobra and the Crows
- The Crane and the Crab
- The Cunning Hare and the Lion
- The Bug and the Poor Flea
- The Story of the Blue Jackal
- The Lion, Camel, Jackal and Crow
- The Bird Pair and the Sea
- The Turtle that fell off the Stick
- Tale of the Three Fishes
- The Elephant and the Sparrow
- The Lion and the Jackal
- The Bird and the Monkey
- How a Sparrow came to Grief
- Right-Mind and Wrong-Mind
- The Crane and the Mongoose
- The Rat that ate Iron
- The King and the Foolish Monkey
- The Thief and the Brahmins
Book 2: “Mitra labha” or “Gaining of friends”:
- The Hermit and the Mouse
- Elephants and King of Mice
- Shandili and Sesame Seeds
- Story of the Merchant’s Son
- The Unlucky Weaver
Book 3: “Kákolùkïyam” or “Of crows and owls”:
- Of Crows and Owls
- Elephants and Hares
- The Cunning Mediator
- The Brahmin and the Crooks
- The Dove and the Hunter
- The Brahmin and the Cobra
- The Old Man, Young Wife and Thief
- The Brahmin, Thief, and Demon
- The Tale of Two Snakes
- The Wedding of the Mouse
- Tale of the Golden Droppings
- The Cave that Talked
- Frogs that rode a Snake
- The War of Crows and Owls
Book 4: “Labdhapranásam” or “Loss of gains”
- The Monkey and the Crocodile
- The Greedy Cobra and Frog King
- The Lion and the Foolish Donkey
- The Story of the Potter
- Lioness and the Young Jackal
- The Donkey and the Washerman
- The Price of Indiscretion
- The Jackal’s Strategy
- The Dog who went Abroad
Book 5:“Aparïksitakárakam” or “acting without thinking”:
- The Brahmani and the Mongoose
- The Four Treasure-Seekers
- The Lion that Sprang to Life
- The Four Learned Fools
- The Tale of Two Fishes and a Frog
- The Musical Donkey
- The Brahmin’s Dream
- The Bird with Two Heads
- The Unforgiving Monkey
We at Zenparents have selected 4 stories from each volume for you to read out for your little one during bed time.
1. 1. The Crane and the Crab:-
Once upon a time, in a lake in a forest, lived lots of fish and crabs. Among them lived an intelligent crab. One day, an old and wicked crane stopped near the lake. He was hungry, but he was getting old and could not hunt for fish properly. He had an idea. He sat near the lake with a sad look, and when the fish asked him what the matter was, he said that he foresaw the lake dying out and killing the fish. The panicked fish begged the crane for help and the crane agreed to carry the fish in his mouth to another lake. Like that, he ate a lot of fish in the lake. Then, he became tired of eating fish and decided to eat a crab. He chose the intelligent crab, who agreed. The crane carried the crab to the place where the crane ate the fish and confessed to the crab. He was sure that the crab would not escape. But the crab was clever. He had been suspicious when he saw the skeletons and had thought of a plan. He lunged at the crane and used his claws to strangle him to death.
Moral: Even in the most dangerous situations, you can always rely on your intelligence and cleverness to save you.
2. 2. The Story of the Blue Jackal:-