Panchatantra – Crows and Owls & Other Stories

Panchatantra (Five Chapters) in Sanskrit is perhaps the oldest collection of stories in the world and has been translated into more than 50 languages. Each of its ‘Chapters’ contains a string of stories one emerging from the other, with each designed to lead to a precept for proper practical conduct for a thinking person in the real world. The characters are taken from the whole gamut of living beings including humans and animals in the wild. In a way the unity of life is stressed by assigning the sentiments, emotions and thoughts of human beings to animals as well.

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In this collection, an old crow advises recourse to duplicity to his colony harassed by owls. Faking injury, he takes refuge with the owls. He proceeds step by step to destroy the owls. Monkeys trying to light a fire with fire-flies do not heed advice of a bird to give up the futile effort. A caravan camel left in a jungle joins the group made of a lion, leopard, jackal and crow. When the lion is hurt and they face starvation, the other three feign to offer themselves for consumption, making the camel follow suit. This Panchatantra collection is a treasure house of a variety of such stories.

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