Hermit and the rat

Once upon a time in the southern city of Mahilaropya, lived a hermit in a Shiva temple on the outskirts of the city.  Every day, he would go out into the city, collect alms and cook food.  He would share the food with the poor people in return for services rendered to the temple.  They would every day wash, clean and decorate the temple. Hermit used to store the leftover food in his bowl of the next day. During the night the rats would come and eat the leftover food.

The hermit annoyed with this started hanging the food bowl high to a peg.  Now rats were not able to nibble at it. The rats then went to the king of rats and requested him for help. The rat king said, “Let’s Go to the hermit’s place and I will get you the food from the bowl”.

The king along with his subjects went to the hermit’s place where the food bowl hangs. The king leapt on the bowl and brought the stored food down.  Then all of the rats had a good meal.  Rats repeated this act every day till the hermit found what was going on.  He brought a split bamboo and would strike the food bowl with it though out the night.  That noise used to frighten the rats and rats would spend the whole night waiting for a respite from this noise.  But the hermit never stopped striking the bamboo.”

Hermet would not sleep and so he was sad with this arrangement. He told his problem to his friend. His friend on realizing what really was the problem, asked, “Do You Know Where the mouse lives?”

“I have no idea,” said the hermit.

His friend said, “This mouse must have a lot of stored food somewhere.  It is this plenty that gives him the energy to jump so high and eat all your food.  When a man earns lot of wealth, that pile of money increases his strength and confidence. ”

“Do you know the route he (rat) takes to come here?”

“I have no idea,” said hermit.

“Have you any tool to dig?” asked the friend.

“Yes, I have a dibble with me.”

“In that case, let us follow the mouse trail before it is erased,” said the friend.

The rat king happened to be hiding there when the hermit and his friend were discussing the issue. Listening to the conversation, he thought that my end has come. Just as he had found my food store, he is capable of tracking my fort. He thought, “Learned men can measure the strength of the rival by just looking at him”. The rat king decided immediately to take a new route and was on the way with the other mice when a fat cat sighted them. Cat immediately pounced on the rats and killed a number of the rat king’s retinue.

Excepting the king, those of the bloodied mice who escaped being killed by the cat took the same old route to the fort. The visitor saw the trail of blood the fleeing mice left behind and following it reached my fort. There, hermit and his friend dug and found the food store. The friend told the hermit, “Here is the secret of the mouse’s energy. Now, you can sleep in peace.” Then they took the store to the temple.”

The rat king went back to where he had stored food. It was now like a desert. Without food, the spot was a ghastly scene. He did not know where to go and what to do to get back his peace of mind. Somehow, he spent the day in sorrow and when it was dawn went to the temple followed by what remained of my retinue. Alerted by the noise we made, hermit again began striking the food bowl with the bamboo. Hermit’s friend asked hermit now he should not be doing so. Hermit told him about rat’s return.

The friend laughed and told hermit, “Friend, don’t be afraid now. The mouse has lost his energy. It cannot do any mischief now.” When the rat king heard this, he was angry and tried again to jump at the food bowl and crashed to the ground before I could reach the bowl.

Rat king was dejected by this failure. But his sadness increased when he heard his retinue telling each other that he was no more capable of earning food for them and they should immediately give up serving the king. The rat king then realized the importance of riches and decided to somehow steal it back from hermit. When he made another attempt, the hermit saw the rat and banged the bamboo on the rat. Rat king somehow managed to escape never to return again.

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