In a small village, once there lived a learned Brahmin called Mithrasarma. He wanted to perform a Yagna (a holy ritual). So, he went to a rich man in the next village and requested him to give an Animal for that purpose. The rich man gifted him with a Goat.
Mithrasarma was returning to his village dragging the Goat. But as the animal went here and there, he lifted it, put it on his shoulder and continued the journey. Three people who were learned and intelligent but lazy saw the Brahmin when he was passing through a forest. They did not have anything to eat that day and were starving. So, the Rogues decided to cheat the Brahmin and take away the Goat from him. They thought by so doing they could kill the Goat and feast on its meat. Then all the three left that place in three different directions.
The first Rogue came near the learned Brahmin and looked up and down. "What are you looking at?" asked the Brahmin. The man replied, "You seem to be a religious man. How is it that you are carrying a Dog? Can a Brahmin even touch a Dog? Don't you know that our elders have said that Dogs, Cocks, Asses and Camels are untouchables?"
On hearing this, the Brahmin shouted at him angrily, "You Rogue! Are you blind? What I carry is not a Dog. It is a Goat for Yagna. Please note it." "Is it so, sir? Please excuse me" said the Rogue and kept quiet. But he followed him.
After sometime, the second Rogue met the Brahmin. He said to the Brahmin, "I salute you, Respected Sir." "May God bless you!" replied the Brahmin. "I have a small doubt, Sir. Will you please clear it?" asked the Rogue. The Brahmin asked him "What is it?"
The Rogue said, "Our Scriptures say that the dead-body of a Man, Bird or Animal should not be touched. If, so touched, one should purify oneself by a holy bath and rigorous ritual. Is it not a fact?" "Certainly," said the Brahmin. "It is quite true. What has it got to do now?"
The Rogue said, "You seem to be a Brahmin of high learning and virtue. How is it that you are carrying a dead Calf on your shoulders?" Hearing this, the Brahmin patted the Goat and it began to move its body. With great anger the Brahmin said to the Rogue. "You fool; have you lost your senses? How do you call a live Animal as dead? Go away from my presence at once." On hearing this, the second Rogue kept silent and he also followed him.
After going a few more yards away, the third Rogue met him as per plan. After seeing the Animal and the Brahmin he began to laugh, The Brahmin was both surprised an angry. He cried out angrily, "Why do you laugh like a mad man on seeing me and this Animal intended for the Yagna?" "Holy Sir," replied the Rogue. "You say that the Animal you carry is intended for sacrifice at the Yagna. But I don't think that it is intended to be used for Yagna. For, it is an Ass. How can an Ass be sacrificed at the Yagna? If we touch an Ass knowingly, we must immediately bathe along with the cloth we wear. Then only we will get purified.This I have heard from my elders. But you are carrying an Ass on your shoulder. That is why I am not able to suppress my laughter."
On hearing the words of the third Rogue, a doubt really began to creep in the mind of the Brahmin. He began to think for himself. "Am I really carrying a Goat? If so, why should it appear differently to different men. There is something wrong about this Animal. I don't think that it will be good to use this Animal for the Yagna. When he thought like this he was caught by a sort of fear in his mind. So, he dropped the Animal and began to run away without looking back. After be went out of sight three Rogues joined together, killed the Goat and ate its meat. They felt glad that their trick proved successful.
The moral of this story is:
Even though a man is learned and intelligent, he is likely to be confused and cheated by intelligent and cunning Rogues.
--ANCIENT INDIAN FABLES OF MORAL FROM PANCHATANTRA --