Stories Illustrating Proverbs:
Union is Strength:
An old man had seven sons. Unfortunately, they were always quarrelling among themselves. The old man did not know how to set them right. At last, when he was on his deathbed, he hit upon a nice plan.
He sent for a bundle of sticks and called his sons together. He asked each of them to try in turn to break the bundle.
“Now my son,” said the father to his youngest son, “untie the bundle and try to break each stick separately.” He cut the string and broke each stick quite easily.
“Now, you see,” said the father, “when the sticks were tied together, they were too strong to be broken by any one of you. But when they were separated, they could easily be broken. So if you live together, nobody will do you any harm. But if you are divided, people will try to harm you.” The old man breathed his last soon after this.
Moral: United we stand, divided we fall.
Tit for Tat or As you sow so shall you Reap:
Once a traveller reached an inn late in the night. It was very cold outside. The traveller felt tired and hungry.
Unfortunately, the door of the inn was locked from inside. The traveller knocked hard, but nobody replied.
The traveller felt disappointed. He knocked again with a greater force. At last, the innkeeper got up. He said, “I have lost the key to the lock. Have you a silver one?”
The traveller understood what the innkeeper meant. He at once slipped a silver rupee through a chink in the door. The door of the inn was opened and the traveller went in.
The traveller felt that he was cheated by the innkeeper. He hit upon a plan of paying the devil back in his own coin. He at once cried out to the innkeeper. “O, I have left my bag outside! Would you mind fetching it?”
The innkeeper went out to fetch the bag. No sooner did he step out than the traveller shut the door upon him. The innkeeper after searching in vain for the bag came back. He asked the traveller to open the door. “I have lost the key, “said the traveller, “Have you a silver one?”
The innkeeper might do what he liked, but the traveller would not open the door. The innkeeper could not afford to remain outside in the cold. At last, he pushed the silver rupee that he had got from the traveller through the chink of the door. The traveller opened the door.
Moral: (I) Do to others as you wish to be done by. (II) Pay the devil back in his own coin.
Where there is a will, there is a Way:
Once there was a crow. He was very thirsty. He went in search of water, but could not find any. After some time he came to a garden. To his delight, he found here a long tin half full of water.
He put his beak into the tin, but it could not reach the water. He felt disappointed and was in a great fix.
Soon the crow hit upon a plan. There were some pebbles lying nearby. He started picking them up in his beak and dropping them into the tin one by one.
The level of the water began to rise by and by till it reached the mouth of the tin. The crow now drink the water to his fill and flew away.
An Alternative Title: A Thirsty Crow.
Pride Hath a Fall:
Once a stag was drinking at a stream. He saw his reflection in the clear water.
“Ah!” said he, “How beautiful my horns are!” But then he felt sad to look at his thin, ugly legs. “I wish,” he said, “that these were also as beautiful as my horns.”
Just then he heard the sound of a hunter’s horn and the bark of hounds. He fled for his life. The legs which he had disliked a short while ago stood him in good stead. They at once carried him to a safe place. But the horns which he had praised so much let him down. They were caught in a bush.
The hounds overtook him and tore him to pieces. His beautiful horns proved to be the cause of his death.
Moral: Handsome is that handsome does.
An Alternative Title: The Foolish Stag or The Vain Stag.
A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss:
Once war broke out between birds and beasts. Both the parties were equally strong. The bats remained neutral.
The battle continued for many days. Neither side was sure of its victory. The bats went on to see the fight between the birds and the beasts.
After some time the birds began to lose ground. “Please join hands with us,” said the birds to the bats. “How can we join you?” replied the bats. We have teeth like animals. We suckle our young ones like them.”
The bats joined the victorious side of the beasts. But as ill-luck would have it, after two or three days more, the tide of the battle turned in favour of the birds. The bats now realized that they had made a wrong choice. They left the beasts saying, “We are nearer to the birds than the beasts. We can fly like birds. “We have wings like them. We’ll help them.”
The birds, however, did not allow the bats to join them. They told them that they did not need their help then.
In a few days, the two sides were reconciled. A peace agreement was signed by them. They became friends once more.
As the bats had proved false to both parties, they were hated by both. The birds and the beasts turned them out of their company.
The bats felt ashamed and retired into the holes of trees. Since then they have not been coming out during the daytime.
Moral: Do not run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
An Alternative Title: The Birds and the Beasts.