An HINDU FABLE: THE BRAHMIN AND THE POTS

Posted by jlubans on April 23, 2019

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ONCE upon a time in the city of Varna, there lived a Brahmin whose name was Deva Sarman.
At the Equinoctial Feast of the Dussara he received the gift of a dish of flour, which he took with him to a Potter's shed; and there he lay down in the shade, staff in hand, among the pots.
As he thus reclined he began to meditate after the following fashion:
“I can sell this flour for at least ten Cowrie-shells, and with them I can purchase some of these pots and sell them at a profit.
With all that money I can buy a stock of betel-nuts and body-cloths and make a new profit by selling them; and so I can go on buying and trading until I get a Lakh** of Rupees—what's to prevent me?
Then I shall marry four young wives—at least, one of them shall be both young and beautiful, and she shall be my favourite.
Of course the other three will be jealous; but if they quarrel and talk too much and make themselves troublesome, I shall beat them like this—and this—and this—“
And so saying, he flourished his staff with such vigour that he not only smashed his own meal-dish, but also broke several of the Potter's jars. The Potter, rushing in, caught him by the throat and threw him out of the shed, and so ended the Brahmin's dreams of a Lakh of Rupees.

Who, e'er he makes a gain has spent it.
Like the Pot-breaker, will repent it.
_______________
My first boss used to say,
“There’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.” The Brahmin’s dreams come up empty.
Is his loss a form of karma for greedy dreams or is this always the outcome for he who counts his chickens before they are hatched?
OK, enough of the childhood clichés.
Serves him right for his wife-beating. Had he written Dear Abby he might still have his dish of flour.

*Source: Hitopadeqa. Book IV. Fable 7. Adapted from the translation by Sir Edwin Arnold included in Cooper, Frederic Taber, editor (1864-1937), “An argosy of fables; a representative selection from the fable literature of every age and land”. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company. 1921.

** Google says one lakh Indian rupees is worth about $1,500 USD.

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