The Monkey And The Wedge
It is unwise to poke your nose in affairs that do not concern you
Who interferes in other’s work, surely comes to grief
Curiosity killed the cat
A merchant building a temple in the middle of his garden eagerly,
Masons and carpenters were working for the merchant adequately,
For their lunch they took time off every day to go to the town daily,
One day when workers had left for lunch came a batch of monkeys.
Panchtantra Book 1.18.
These monkeys but fooled around with what caught their fancy,
One of these monkeys then observed a sawed log of wood partially,
And a wedge that was fixed in it — so it did not close up completely,
Curious to know what it was, he tugged at the wedge furiously.
Panchtantra Book 1.19.
At last the wedge came off, but trapped the legs of the monkey,
And very soon, not able to free his legs, the monkey died in misery,
Karataka: “It is unwise to poke in affairs not concerning us surely,
We have a food store — so why bother about the lion unnecessarily?”
Panchtantra Book 1.20.
Damanaka retorted, “Food is not centre of our life unquestionably,
The wise say seek help of king to help friends and harm foes truly,
Many ways to get food — but in life learning, courage, wealth do be,
If living is just the goal, even the crow lives eating leftovers only.”
Panchtantra Book 1.21.
Karataka: “True — but we no longer are ministers that is a certainty,
The wise have ever said that the dim-witted person only does be,
Impatient and ever eager to offers uncalled for advice unhesitatingly,
To the king — which but invites, not only insult but is deceit clearly”.
Panchtantra Book 1.22.
Damanaka: “They earn his favour who serve the King devotedly,
And do not remain where they are but they do ever rise steadily,
They rise in office who realize why the king is generous or angry,
It is necessary to be in the good books of the king undoubtedly.”
Panchtantra Book 1.23.
“Okay, what do you want to do now?” asked Karataka patiently,
Damanaka: “You know the king is scared — we will inquire earnestly,
The cause — so get close to him — using the six ways of diplomacy”;
Karataka: “How do you recognize the king is scared in reality?”
Panchtantra Book 1.24.
Damanaka: “Changes in posture, signs, pace, action, talk clearly,
Looks and expression indicate the working of the mind surely,
I will approach the fear-struck king and with my intelligence truly,
Dispel his fear and once again become his minister positively”.
Panchtantra Book 1.25.
Karataka: “How can you do it, you know not service principles fully?”
Damanaka: “I know what makes the king’s loyal servant certainly”,
Karataka: “In that case, I wish you all good luck with all sincerety”.
Taking leave of Karataka; Damanaka called on the king humbly.
Panchtantra Book 1.26.
Seeing son of his old minister, King Pingalaka ordered his sentry,
To bring him into his presence and Damanaka came immediately,
Then Damanaka paid his respects and bowed low modestly,
“We have not seen you for some time” the king spoke evidently.
Panchtantra Book 1.27.
“I do not know of what service I can be to you, my majesty,
Yet, according to wise, all persons however high or low they be,
Can be of use to the king, but I beg your indulgence hopefully,
For generations we served the king, I beg your favour Majesty.”
Panchtantra Book 1.28.
“All right, competent or incompetent you our old minister’s son be,
Tell me whatever you have in your mind,” the king stated moodily,
“What made you come back — may I ask you my lord ever humbly,
From the lake without drinking water” Damanaka asked reluctantly.
Panchtantra Book 1.29.
“Have you not heard the frightening sounds in the distance loudly?
Because of all this I wanted to depart from the banks immediately,
This strange animal that could make such loud sounds ferociously,
Must to be powerful as the sounds he makes — I fear undoubtedly.”
Panchtantra Book 1.30.
Damanaka: “If it is only sound that is your problem — Your majesty,
I wish to submit that the sounds can sometimes misleading be,
May I tell you the jackal’s story, how it overcame sound’s fear fully”
The King ordered “Let us hear it — that appealing story completely.
Panchtantra Book 1.31.