Panchatantra Stories


Stories from Panchatantra


The tales of Panchatantra, perhaps, are the oldest stories known in the literature of India. The dates of the Panchatantra are not known and these tales are usually attributed to Vishnu Sharma. Some believe that the fables of panchatantra are as old as Rig-veda.

The popular story about the origin of Panchatantra goes like this: Once there was a king who has three son who are dull and without any wit or wisdom. Worried about the wellbeing of his sons the king approaches a wise brahmin called Vishnu Sharma and prays him to impart wisdom into his sons. Since the songs of the king are dimwits, he chooses to pass the wisdom in the form of interesting fables. The stories narrated by Vishnu Sarma contains animals and birds and he makes them speak and behave like humans.

Panchatantra tells about five ways that help the human being succeed in life. Pancha means five and tantra means ways (or strategies or principles). Addressed to the king’s children, the stories are primarily about statecraft and are popular throughout the world. The five strategies are:

  • Quarrel among friends (mitra-beda)
  • Gaining friends (mitra labha)
  • Of crows and owls
  • Loss of gains
  • Imprudence (mindless action)

Given below is a list of stories from the Panchatantra: