Panchatantra Stories – If you have a One-Track Mind
People who have a one-track mind either make fools of themselves or else get into trouble. When Vishnu Sharma wanted to illustrate this, he told the following stories to his young scholars. The first story is about a fox who thought of nothing but food and saw everything as a possible source of feasting. The second is about a two-necked bird whose two necks did not want to share anything, no matter what happened.
The fox who thought of nothing but food was resting in the forest one day when he heard the sound of a drum. Since he had never heard a drum before he had no idea what it was and followed the sound. It led him to a field where the king’s drummer was practicing. After a while he left the drum and went off to rest. The fox went there and looked at the drum curiously. Since it made a sound the fox was quite sure that it was a live creature. His mouth watered as he looked at its round shape and imagined all the goodies that must be stuffed inside.
“How big and soft it looks” he said to himself, “I am sure it must taste lovely! If only I could eat it!” but the fox was afraid of being attacked and did not dare to touch it at first. But when the drum remained still and did not move at all the fox decided to attack it.
The fox jumped on the drum and tried to bite it. The drum did not protest. But it was very tough and the fox could make no headway at first. He bit harder and harder and did not stop even when some of his teeth broke in the attempt. Finally he managed to break through the tough hide and made a hole.
“Wow! It must be full of tasty, soft meat which will last me for days!” he cried forgetting his bleeding mouth, “how lucky I am to find this creature, whatever it is!”
But when he finally put his mouth inside he found nothing but a piece of wood and a scrap of leather, both quite unfit for eating! And he had lost all his front teeth into the bargain!
“If only I did not mistake it for food!” he told himself sadly. But it was too late!
The second story is about a bird that had two necks but one common stomach. Although the bird was one, the two necks were mighty jealous of each other and did not want to share anything. One day one of the necks found a jar of honey.
“How lovely!” it cried as it gobbled up the honey.
“What’s that?” cried the other neck, “Let me have some too!”
“No fears” cried the first neck swallowing up all the honey, “I’m not going to share anything with you.”
“But we both belong to the same body” said the second neck.
“So what? I’m not going to give you anything” shouted the first neck, “you can just find your own food.”
“I will and I won’t share with you either.”
The second neck caught sight of another jar. This time it grabbed it and put it to its mouth. But this was a jar of poison.
“What have you got there?” asked the first neck curiously, “Let me have a lick.”
“Of course not” cried the second neck, “Like you, I’d rather die than share anything with you.”
But as fate would have it, the words turned out to be a prediction. The bird died because the second neck had drunk up all the poison from the jar. And all because the necks were determined not to share!