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India - The Lion Makers   Print Story 

The Lion Makers (A tale from the Panchatara in India)

As retold by Dr. Mike Lockett, The Normal Storyteller

 

Notes: In early Indian History, the title Brahman was given to the learned people in the highest caste of society.  The Brahmans were those men who were highly educated and who understood and carried out the duties of the priesthood i the Hindu religion.  As years passed not all men born into the Brahman caste lived up to the high standards of being well educated.  Such is the case in this story.

 

Long, long, long ago four Brahmans lived in the same town.  They were wonderful friends as children.  Each was very smart.  But the way they showed their intelligence was different.  Three of them were scholars.  They read everything they could find to read and loved to argue and debate.  But, they had very little comon sense in the ways of the world.

 

The fourth had very good common sense but had very little formal education.  He had to work from the time he was young.  He had not been able to go to school, and he could not read.

 

"How does being smart help us if we continue to live here where the people are poor and where there is no money to be made?" they asked of each other.  "We should travel to other parts of the world and use our wisdom to make ourselves rich."  This was how they set out on their journey.

 

When they had gone only a short way, the eldest of them said, "One of us does not deserve to be in our company."  He looked at the fourth Brahman.  "Our companion has no education," he stated.  "He hs only common sense!  No one can become rich without a good education.  I don't think we should share our earnings with him!"

 

The second Brahman turned to the first and said, "You are right.  Our friend has no education.  Let us send him home instead of sharing our fortune with him that we will earn with our intelligence."

 

The third said, "No, no.  This is not the way to behave.  We have been friends since childhood.  We should let him come with us.  We will give him an equal part in all that we earn!"

 

The first two agreed after a long discussion to let the fourth Brahman continue with them on their journey.  They walked along until they came to the bones of a dead lion.

 

The first of the educated men said, "Here is a chance to show our ignorant friend how much we know.  Here lie the bones of some dead creature.  Let us see if we can bring it back to life by using all that we have learned."  Then he added, "I know how to put a skeleton back together!"

 

The second Brahman, not wanting to be outdone, said, "I can give it skin and cover it with flesh and give it blood."  As he did this, the third Brahman stated that he could breathe life back into the body.

 

As he said this, the fourth Brahman spoke up.  "My friends," he said, "I concede that you have learned much more from books and schools than I have.  But, my common sense tells me that we should not bring a lion back to life.  I do not believe we are wise to do this.  If he comes back to life, he will want to eat us."

 

The first three Brahmans were angry with him.  "We let you travel with us even though you are not very knowledgeable like we are.  You know so very little, and yet you presume to kow more than we do?

 

"I only know what my common sense tells me," the fourth Brahman stated.  "However, if you intend to persist in bringing the dead lion back to life, please hold your efforts until I have climbed this tree."

 

After the fourth Brahman climbed the tree, the first three Brahmans completed their task of bringing the lion back to life.  As the breath of life filled his lungs, the lion let out with a great roar and ate up all three scholars who were on the ground.

 

With a full stomache, the lion was not willing or able to climb the tree and eat the fourth Brahman.  So the man with no formal education had the sense to climb down the tree and go back to his former home. 

Notes for Teachers:  This story comes froma collection of stories called the Panchatantra, first written in India.  If you wishto know more about this collection of tales, visit my website at www.mikelockett.com and go to the section called  Storytelling Activities.



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