The Brahman and the Tiger
An Indian Folk Story
A tiger was cought in a trap. He called out for several hours for someone to come and help him. Fortunately a Brahman came by.
“Dear Brahman,” the tiger said. “I’m cought in a trap. I beg you to climb up and release me.”
“Oh, No,”said the Brahman. “I’m a good kind man, but I’m not a foolish man also. If I were to release you, the first thing you would do would be to seize me and then eat me. No, I have learned not to help tiger.”
“But I’m an especially tiger. I never hurt men, never. I never will harm you.”
“Sorry, I don`t believe you,” said the Brahman, starting to walk away.
“Please, dear good kind Brahman, please, don`t leave me here to die. Is that a kindly thing to do? Is such an action wortly of famous Brahman?”
“Famous? Did you say famous?”
“I did indeed, your great good deeds are well known.”
The Brahman thougt about this for a minute, then he said, “ very well, but you must promise not to harm me.”
“I promise not to harm you, “ said the tiger, loud enough for everyone in the jugle to hear him.
“Very good. I shall release you.”
But no sooner had the Brahman released the tiger from the trap then the tiger sprang upon him and cried out. “Ha, ha, now I make another promise, which is to eat you for my supper this evening.”
“ You bad animal! What a way to repay my kindness !” said the Brahman, “It’s so unjust.”
“ What’s so unjust about it?” asked the tiger. “Ask anyone else and they’ll tell you that it’s not unjust. Everyone knows that you must not trust a tiger.”
“Very well, then. Let’s ask someone, “answered the Brahman.
The first person they met was an old horse. The tiger explained everything to him. “Well,” said the tiger, “do you think I’m being unjust?”
“ Not at all,” said the horse. “The Brahman is being repaid for his kindness in just the same way that I have been repaid for the hard work I did for my master. I worked for him for many years, but, then, when I grew old and weak he threw me out. That was the thanks I got. So the Brahman is no more unjustly repaid then I have been.”
“Good, “ said the tiger. “Now I shall eat you.”
“Let’s ask someone else, “said the Brahman.
The next person they met was an old dog. He too had been turned out by his master after working for him for years until he had grown too old to work any longer. “In fact,” said the dog, “my master planned to sell me to the bucher for meat. But I run away. That was the thanks I got. So, the Brahman is no more unjustly repaid than I have been.”
“But I beg you, let ask just one more person, “ said the Brahman to the tiger.
Then they met a jackal. The tiger explained everything to the jackal, but the jackal did not seem to understand.
“I see, “ said the jackal, “ so the Brahman was caught in a trap and you…..”
“No, no,” said the tiger. “I was caught in a trap.”
“Ah, yes, “ said the jackal, “You were caught in a Brahman, and a trap came along….”
“No, no, I was caught in a trap and along came a Brahman.”
“Here. This Brahman……”
“Oh yes, I understand, “ said the jackal.
“And what do you think?” asked the tiger.
“Why! About my eating the Brahman.”
“How do you mean?,” asked the jackal.
So the tiger explained it all over again, but still the jackal did not understand it better if you could show me how it all really happened, “ the jackal said.
So they all three went back to the tree where the tiger had been caught.
“I was up there, “said the tiger.
“Oh yes. You were up there,” said the jackal.
“ There. In the tree.”
“Oh, yes. Which tree?”
“Where abouts in the tree?” asked the jackal.
By now the tiger got angry. “ You fool,” he said to the jackal. “This trap up here.” So saying, he climbed up into the trap. “ This trap. Like this.” Now the tiger was caught, just as he had been at first.
“Ah, I see.” Said the jackal. “But now Brahman should let me out. And that’s when I decided to eat him.”
“Ah, yes. Well, That’s very easy to answer. I’d advised the Brahman not to let you out.”
And with that the jackal and the Brahman walked off.