The Panchatantra - The Brahmin's Tale is from the oldest extant collection of fables in Sanskrit literature. Dating from the 4th century AD, it is based on still earlier collections of folk tales. The Panchatantra is sometimes attributed to an Indian sage, Bidpai (flourished about 300 A.D.). The tales, primarily about animals, are organized into five books on such topics as winning friends, losing property and waging war. They were originally intended to instruct a young prince in the conduct that would ensure his worldly success.Long, long ago there was a poor Brahmin named Krishnan. He could not find enough work to do. Sometimes, he and his family had to go without food.
At last Krishnan decided to leave his village in search of work. Early next morning, before his wife and children woke up, he left the house. He did not know where to go or what to do. He just walked away.He walked the whole day until he came to a thick jungle. He was tired, thirsty and hungry. While looking around for water to drink, he found a well.He went to the well and looked in. There he saw a jaguar, a monkey, a snake and a man. They had all fallen into the well."O, noble Brahmin," the jaguar called out to him, "Please help me out, so that I can go back to my family.""But you are a jaguar," said Krishnan. "I am afraid of you. How can I pull you out of this well? How do I know you will not kill me?""Don’t be afraid of me, my dear man," replied the jaguar. "I promise I will not do you any harm. Please take pity on me and save my life.""I suppose I might as well save him," thought Krishnan. "It is always good to be kind to others." Krishnan reached into the well and pulled out the jaguar.The jaguar thanked him and said, "Let me introduce myself. I’m Shersingh. Do you see those mountains over there? I live there in a cave. I shall be most delighted if you could visit me someday. Perhaps I could repay my debt to you."Krishnan then heard the monkey calling out to him from the well. "Holy Sir, won’t you pull me out too?" The Brahmin at once pulled the monkey out. The monkey thanked the Brahmin. "If you are ever in need of food, just drop in at my place. It is just over there, below that big mountain. By the way, Bali is the name."Now the snake called out to him. "Please help me too." "Help you!" exclaimed Krishnan. "You are a snake. What if you bite me?" "I shall never bite you," said the snake. "You need not be afraid of me at all. Please save me." So Krishnan pulled the snake out of the well."I am very grateful, my dear Sir," said the snake. "Remember, if you are ever in any difficulty, just call out my name – Naagesh, and wherever you are, I shall find you."The jaguar, the monkey and the snake took leave of the Brahmin. But before they left, they spoke to him about the man in the well. "Please do not help him," said Shersingh. "If you do," said Naagesh, "you will be in trouble yourself."As soon as they left, the man in the well began to call out. He begged Krishnan to save him too. Krishnan felt sorry for the man and pulled him out of the well."Thank you for your kindness," said the man. "I am Seth Ghanshyamdas. I am a goldsmith. I live in the city near here. If you ever need my help, don’t hesitate to visit my humble house." The goldsmith then left for home.After some time, the Brahmin continued his journey. But luck was against him. He could find no work. In the end he thought it would be best if he killed himself. He made up his mind to jump into the river and drown. But then he remembered Shersingh the jaguar, Bali the monkey, Naagesh the snake, and Seth the goldsmith. He thought it was time to seek their help.