Gateway to the Classics: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju
Indian Fables by  Ramaswami Raju

The Crane and the Fool

In the East there lived a fool, who went one day to his fields and said, "I sowed a month ago; should the crops stand two months more, I shall get three hundred bushels of corn. But I am in a hurry, so if I should reap now, I dare say I shall have one hundred bushels at least."

A crane who heard his words said, "If I were you, I should have all the three hundred bushels this very day."

"How?" said the fool.

"Why," said the crane, "you stored up water in the tank to feed the crops for three months. A month has elapsed, so water enough for two months more remains in the tank. Should you open the sluices and let all the water flow into the fields, you will have all the corn at once."

"Are you sure I shall have all the corn at once?" said the fool.

"Oh, yes," said the crane, "there is not the slightest doubt. My geographical knowledge is extensive, for I have travelled over a great part of the world; so you may depend on my world-wide knowledge and experience."

The fool then let all the water flow into the fields. The crane invited his kindred, and they together ate all the big fish left in the tank first, and then, hovering over the fields, picked up all the small fish that had gone out with the water. A great portion of the crops was swept away; what remained was soon buried in the mud.

The fool sat on the bank of the lake and wept, saying, "The crane's geography ruined me."

"My friend," said the crane, "my geography was as good as your arithmetic. It is all the same whether you fall into the ditch from this side or that!"

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