The Panchatantra stories have always been read and acknowledged by society. They are known for their moral value. Vishnu Sharma is the creator of these moral stories. He had written them around the 3rd century CE. Panchatantra stories were originally written in Sanskrit. Later they were translated into several languages and widely distributed. The beauty of these Panchatantra stories is that it still has significance in society. The central characters for these stories are animals and birds. You will learn many important life lessons and moral values from these stories.
Let us go through a 15 Best Panchatantra Stories in English.
The Foolish Sage
Once, there was an eminent sage named Dev Sharma in a village temple. Everyone in the village respected him. He received all kinds of garments, gifts, food items, and money from his devotees. By selling those, he deposited a lot of money.
The sage never believed anyone and was always concerned about the safety of his money. He kept his money in a pouch and always kept it with him.
For many days, a thug was after the pouch. The thug always followed the sage, but he never parted from the pouch.
Eventually, the thug disguised as a student and went to the sage. He supplicated the sage to make him his disciple. The sage agreed and the thug started staying in the temple too. The thug used to do all the chores of the temple and he also sweet-talked, soon he became a confidant.
One day, Sage Dev was invited to a ritual in a nearby village, the sage accepted the invitation and went on the day with his disciple.
Seeing a river on the way, the sage expressed his desire to bathe. He put the pouch of money within a blanket and put it on the banks of the river. He asked the thug to guard it and went to bathe himself. The thug was dying for this moment. As the sage went to dive into the river, he took the pouch and fled.
Moral: Don’t trust any stranger so easily.
The Foolish Pandit
Long ago, there was a pandit named Someshwar. He was Goddess Durga’s devotee. One day his guru asked him to go, meditate and pray to Maa Durga.
Someshwar went into a jungle. He spent years meditating and praying. The weather changed, conditions worsened, but Someshwar did not waver.
Goddess Durga appeared in front of him suddenly. Someshwar was pleasantly surprised.
She smiled and said “I am pleased by your devotion. You may ask for anything you want.”
He said “Maa! If you want to give me something then give me Sanjeevni booti.”
Goddess gave Someshwar the booti and told him that a few drops from the juice of Sanjeevni booti can bring any dead being back to life, and disappeared.
Someshwar started fantasizing. He planned that he would start helping the village and gain followers. He imagined people would even make him the sarpanch.
Amid these happy thoughts, he got anxious whether these are the real booti or not. He came across a dead lion. He immediately started crushing some of the leaves. When the drops fell on the body; the lion came back to life. They were old and died out of hunger as they did not have enough energy to hunt. The booti not only brought them back to life but also gave them strength and energy.
Someshwar got happy but suddenly he heard the lion’s roar and realized his mistake. He started running but he was no match for the lion. The lion caught up with him and enjoyed their prey.
Moral: Think about the repercussions of your actions.
The Rats Who Ate the Iron Balance Story
There was a boy named Dilip. In search of money, he thought of going to a foreign land. He had a heavy iron scale with him. He went abroad by placing it as a mortgage to a shopkeeper named Mahajan.
After coming back from abroad, he sought his iron scale back from Mahajan. “Rats ate your scale in the storage room,” Mahajan said. Dilip understood that he does not intend to give up that scale. But there was no remedy at the moment. After thinking, he said, “The mice are to blame for eating it, it is not your fault.”
A little later, he said to Mahajan “Friend! I’m going to bathe in the river. You can send your son Dhandev with me.” Mahajan was always impressed with Dilip’s chivalry, he immediately sent his son with him.
Dilip took Mahajan’s son and locked him in a cave. When he came to Mahajan’s house, Mahajan asked, “My boy also went with you, where is he?”
Dilip said, “He has been taken by an eagle.”
Mahajan jeered “How can this be? Can the eagle pick up such a huge person?”
Dilip responded, “Just as rats can eat heavy iron scales.”
Mahajan understood and ran inside. He came back with the iron scale and apologized for being greedy. They went to the cave and brought Dhandev back.
Moral: You cannot get away with bad doings.
Four Brahmins Story
Four brahmins used to live in a village. Three of them were trained in unique magical arts, whereas the fourth one was not. Due to this, the other three used to belittle and bully him.
One morning, three brahmins decide to go to the city to earn some money. When the fourth one asks to tag along, they decline rudely saying he does not know anything and it would be a waste. He offers to do their chores which persuades them to allow.
On the way, they come across a skeleton and start discussing which animal it belongs to.
To find out who is right, one of them uses his knowledge to reassemble the bones, then the second one uses his powers to give it muscles and skin. It reveals that it belonged to a lion.
The third one also wanted to showcase his powers so he says he will bring it back to life. As he starts chanting the mantras the fourth brahmin tries to intervene saying it is not a good idea, but without even listening to him the third brahmins scoff at him for interrupting and others support it.
The fourth brahmin realizes that they will not listen to him and climbs up a tree to hide.
As soon as the lion gets back to life, reflecting its nature it attacks the brahmins and eats them. The fourth brahmin waits for the right time and when he feels the area is safe, he runs back to the village.
Moral: Never consider anyone beneath you and listen to everyone with equal respect.
Turtle And Swan
A pair of swans became friends with a turtle. They used to tell him all kinds of stories from their travels. The turtle loved his voice and used to talk a lot.
Once, drought hit the area, and the lake turtle used to live in started drying. Animals were dying and swans were worried about the turtle. They were trying to come up with a plan.
One day they found another lake 50 km away. The turtle was dubious as to how he would walk that far. The swans came up with an idea. They held both the ends of the sticks with their beaks and instructed the turtle to grab the center with his mouth tightly.
Before flying they warned the turtle against speaking when in the air. They were passing a town and all the people got shocked at the unique view. Everyone was out on the roads or the roofs looking at them. The turtle looked at so many people gawking and couldn’t hold himself. He blurted “look at all these people”. He fell and had a bone-shattering death.
Moral: Take a look at the situation and the occasion and then open the mouth.
Read: Rabbit and Turtle story
The Jackal and The Dhol
Once after a long war, the winning king called some performers to celebrate before leaving. During the celebrations, one Dhol fell off and rolled down in a forest. It got stuck by a tree in such a way that the wind made the tree’s branches bang the Dhol making loud sounds.
A jackal heard the sound and went to check. It was scared and decided to observe from a distance. It saw many animals cross it and concluded it is not a harmful animal. It went near the dhol to inspect, he believed the animal must be really tasty based on the loud deep sound.
The jackal saw that the Dhol has both sides made of dry, stretched leather. It thought the animal must be inside this thing. It went back to their partner and told them everything. They made the plan to cover both sides as the animal inside might escape from one of the sides otherwise.
When the jackals reached the place at night wind blew and the branches banged the Dhol as usual. The other Jackal was impressed by the loud sound and wanted to eat this animal quickly. They sat on both sides and started tearing the leather. Both of them put their hands inside in anticipation of a meaty animal but found nothing.
Moral: Never go with half knowledge.
Two Cats and the Monkey
One morning an owner of two cats filled one bowl of milk and went to work. When the cats saw that there is only one bowl they started fighting as to who would get the bowl of milk. A monkey was noticing everything from the window.
He calls them out and says “You don’t have to fight. I can easily help you out.”
The cats looked at him with confusion and asked, “How can you help with our issue?”
The monkey responded saying “Let me in and I will show you how.”
The cats open the window and the monkey jumps in the house.
He sits in front of the milk bowl and observes it for some time. He then instructs the cats to bring another bowl. They give him a bowl and he transferred three fourth of the milk to the other bowl.
The monkey then said “I’ve divided the milk equally so that both of you can enjoy it. Check for yourself and see if you are satisfied.”
One cat claimed that the other bowl has more milk. The monkey drank a little from that bowl and said, “Now I’ve equated it.”
But then the other cat exclaimed “Now that bowl has more” The monkey then drank from the other bowl saying he is equating it. This went on for some time and the monkey drank all the milk.
He jumped out of the window and ran away and the cats were left with no milk.
Moral: Fighting with your own gives the advantage to others.
The Bird and The Monkey
One cold winter three monkeys, who were trembling from the cold, took shelter under a tree. One monkey said, “If we get a fire somehow, we might feel better.”
The other monkey suggested “Look, at the dry leaves. We can pile them up and then think of a way to smoulder it.”
The monkeys made the pile and then sat in a circle and started brainstorming. Suddenly a monkey looked at the firefly in the air and jumped. He shouted “Sparks are flying in the air. By holding it under the pile, we can light it up”
“Yes, yes!” the rest of the monkeys also started jumping. The sparrow sitting in his nest on the tree was watching all this. He couldn’t control it and said, “Brothers, this is not a spark, it is a firefly.”
A monkey growled at the sparrow with anger “Silly bird! Quietly stay in the nest.”
In the meantime, one monkey bounced and succeeded in catching a firefly. The firefly was placed under the pile and all the monkeys started blowing around the pile.
Sparrow advised “Brothers! You are making a mistake. Hit two stones to create a spark and fire it.”
The monkeys stared at the sparrow with anger. The sparrow said again, “At least try rubbing two dry sticks.”
All the monkeys were irritated because of the fire. One monkey pounced in anger and hit the trunk of the tree. The sparrow fell and died.
Moral: Meddling in a stupid person’s business might harm you.
The Three Fishes
Two fishermen came across a reservoir full of fish while going home. They got really happy and decided to do fishing there the next day. Three fish, Ani, Moti, and Yardi, heard their conversation.
Ani the fish said “Now, we are not safe here. Let’s take measures to save our lives. I say we go to the river leaving this reservoir.”
Moti the fish said “We need not worry the danger is not here right now. Those fishermen’s plans may get canceled- maybe at night their colony catches fire or there may be torrential rain and their villages can flow in the flood or even if they come, we may not get caught.”
Yardi said his fatalistic statement, “If the fishermen have to come, they will come. If we are to be trapped, we will be trapped. What can be done if you have to die?”
Ani left instantly and the other two stayed. The next morning when the fishermen came Moti got anxious and started swimming here and there but there was no place or opening to hide. Both Moti and Yaddi got caught in the trap and died along with other fish.
Moral: Luck supports those who work for it.
The Bedbug & The Louse
In the bedroom of a king, the louse named Mandari was camped. Every night she would secretly suck the king’s blood and hide in her place.
One day, a bedbug named Amukh also came to the king’s bedroom. When the louse saw him, she asked him to leave.
But the bedbug cleverly said, “a guest should not be treated like this.” The louse then came into bedbug’s smooth words and said, “Well you can stay here overnight, but you must not bite the king.”
“But I am your guest, I have to eat something. And what can be better food than the king’s blood?” responded to the bedbug.
“Okay. You may quietly suck the king’s blood; he should not feel any discomfort though.” Said the louse.
The bedbug agreed and waited for the king.
At night, the king came and fell asleep in bed. Seeing him, he forgot everything and cut the king, sucking his delicious blood. The king felt a strange sting on his body. The king got filled with anger and asked his servants to find the bugs and kill them.
The clever bedbug hid under the bed instantly, but the louse sitting on the corner of the sheets came to the servants’ notice. They caught and killed her.
Moral: Do not believe the smooth words blindly.
The Crane & The Crab
There was a crane in the shell of a large forest tree. There was also a snake at the root of the same tree. He used to eat the new-borns of the crane. A crane was repeatedly grieved when the children were eaten again and again and went to the banks of the river.
Upon seeing a teary-eyed crane, a crab came out of the water and asked him “why are you crying?”
Crane said, “Brother! The snake eats my children again and again. I cannot think of any solution.”
The crab though, ideally this crane is his competitor while hunting, he will give such a remedy that will destroy the snake as well as the crane. “Take a few pieces of meat and make a trail from a mongoose’s place to the snake’s home.” he suggested continuing “the mongoose will see the snake and kill it. “
The crane did the same. Mongoose did eat the snake, but after the snake, he also ate the crane on the tree when it noticed the crane.
Moral: not thinking things through can be fatal.
The Lion and the Jackal
Years ago, there was a powerful lion in the Himalayas. One day he was returning to his cave after hunting and found a very frail jackal that bowed down to him.
When the lion asked him the reason for doing so, he said “I want to be your servant. I will serve you and consume the remains of the victims you have left. The lion agreed and kept him friendly in his shelter.
In a few days, the jackal became healthy by eating the prey left by the lion. Seeing the lion’s valor every day, he started believing himself to be as strong. One day he said “I too have become as powerful as you. Today I will hunt for an elephant and devour it and leave its leftover flesh for you.” Since the lion considered the jackal as a friend, he tried preventing him from doing so.
Trapped in the delusions, he stood on the top of the mountain and saw a small group of elephants beneath the mountain. Like a lion, he roared and jumped over a large elephant. But instead of the head, he fell on the elephant’s feet. The elephant didn’t notice and put his next step over the jackal’s head. The head of the Jackal was shattered and his soul flew.
Moral: Arrogance attracts stupidity
The Elephant and The Sparrow
A sparrow on a tree lived with her husband. She was eagerly waiting for the chickens to come from the eggs.
One day, the sparrow was with her eggs, and her husband was out for a daily meal. Then an angry elephant started sabotaging everything around. He also reached the sparrow tree and shook it to topple the tree. The tree was strong enough but the nest fell and all the eggs were split.
The sparrow was very unhappy and wept loudly, and her husband was also very sad and decided to take revenge on the elephant.
They went to their friend, a woodpecker, and told him the whole thing. They wanted his help for revenge. That woodpecker had another friend – a frog. They planned to take revenge on the elephant together.
The woodpecker burst both eyes of the elephant. The elephant began to groan with pain. After that, the frog went to a swamp with his platoon and began croaking together. The elephant thought there must be a pond nearby and went in the direction of that voice and got stuck in the swamp. The elephant gradually died.
Moral: This elephant story shows us you can achieve anything by working together.
The Donkey and The Horse
A washerman had a donkey and a horse. The horse was very egotistical as the washerman only used donkeys for carrying everything around. The horse considered himself above the donkey.
One afternoon the sun was very hot and the clothes were also very heavy. The donkey was not strong enough. He went to the horse and requested him to take some of the clothes to ease his burden. The arrogant horse dismissed his request by saying that it is his job, horses don’t carry weights on their back.
Poor donkey quietly inherited the pain and went on. After a while he couldn’t take it anymore pleads to the horse again to take a little bit of the clothes. The horse gets angry and shouts at the donkey scolding him and saying to not forget his place.
The donkey loses all energy and dies soon after. The washerman shifted the body on the side. He put all the things on the horse and they started walking again. The horse had to carry all the heavyweight alone. If he would’ve been considerate; the donkey would have been alive and he could have only carried some of the stuff.
Moral: Help others and never belittle them.
The Washerman’s Donkey
In one city, there was a washerman named Pursi. He also had an ass. The ass became very lean when he did not get enough grass. Pursi then came up with a strategy.
A few days ago, he found a dead lion lying in the forest and he skinned him back. He still had the skin and thought that he could cover the ass with it and send it to the fields so that the keepers of the field would be afraid to go near it as they would think it was a lion and not try to kill it.
Pursi’s move worked successfully. Every night, the ass wore a lion’s skin Pursi sent it to the fields. The ass was having a good time with an abundance of food. It used to come home after dinner overnight.
But one day, he was caught. The ass heard the sound of an ass and started to make that sound himself. The trickery was out. The keepers of the fields broke all hell on the ass and hit it so much that the ass died.
Moral: Deceit cannot take you very far.