The jackal said, ‘There was a Heron which had made its home on the margin of a piece of water, and had turned the countenance of his heart from all other objects to the pursuit of fish. In proportion to his wants he used to catch fish, and pass his life in comfort. When the infirmity of old age found its way to him, and his bodily faculties inclined to decay, he was unequal to the pursuit of fish, and being overtaken with the noose of grief, said to himself,

Alas! the caravan of years so traceless disappear*
That no! not e’en their dust has reached my country’s atmosphere.

Alas! that I have wasted in sport my precious life, and that I have not stored up anything which could afford me assistance* in the season of old age, or be a support to me; and at this day my vigour has failed, yet I cannot do without victuals. My best course is to base my proceedings on artifice, and spread the snare of deceit and pretended abstinence;

By this pretext I may, perhaps, live on.

He then seated himself at the brink of the water, lamenting and sighing and weeping. A Crab beheld him from a distance and, advancing, accosted him familiarly, and said, ‘Friend! I observe thee sorrowful, what is the reason of this?’ He replied, ‘How can I not be grieved, for thou knowest that the material of my sustenance and the support of my life was the one or two fishes which I daily used to catch and by which I obtained enough to keep in the breath of life, and food sufficient to prevent me from dying. No extraordinary detriment accrued to the fishes therefrom, and my days, too, were decked with tho ornament of contentment and happiness. To-day two fishermen passed by this spot, and were saying, ‘In this lake there is an abundance of fish—we must settle them.’ One said, ‘In such a lake there are more fish than in this. First let us manage their business, and then let us turn this way.’ Now, if events are to take this course, I must detach my heart from sweet life, and must fix it on the bitterness of death.’ As soon as the Crab heard these tidings, it went back with all haste, and going to the fish, recounted to them this dismal news just as it had heard it. Hereupon, a commotion ensuing among them, they, in company with the Crab, betook themselves to the Heron, and said, ‘Such and such intelligence has reached us from thee, and has wrested the reins of counsel from our hands;

The more that we from head to foot this matter still survey,
The more from weakness, compass-like, we wander far astray.*

Now we would consult with you* for ‘He who is consulted is trustworthy.’ It behoves a wise man, even when enemies apply to him for advice, not to slight the obligation of counseling rightly, especially in a matter where the advantage may revert to himself, and thou thyself sayest that the continuation of thy existence is bound up in us, and that thy life is dependent on our con­tinuing to be. Therefore what dost thou consider advisable in our affair?’ The Heron replied, ‘I have myself heard this speech from the tongue of the fishermen, and there is no possibility of opposing them, and I can think of nothing but this device,—I know a pool in the neigbourhood of this, the water of which, in purity, boasts of rivaling the real dawn,* and surpasses the world-displaying mirror in showing the images of forms. The grains of sand may be counted at the bottom of it, and the eggs of the fish may be seen in its basin, and yet with all this, neither can the diver of the understanding reach to its bottom, nor the traveller of the fancy see its shore, and the net of no fisherman has fallen in that lake, and the fish of that water have experienced no captivity but the chain of water.*

A lake it is which like an ocean flows—
A sea which neither source nor limit knows.

If you could migrate thither, you might pass the remainder of yonr life in security and contentment, and delight and ease.’ They replied, ‘The thought is good, but without thy aid and friendly assistance, our departure thither is impossible.’ The Heron answered, ‘I will not withhold from you whatever strength and power I possess: but time presses; every moment the fisher­men may come, and the opportunity will be lost.’ The fishes besought him, and after much entreaty, it was determined that every day he should remove some fish and convey them to that lake. The Heron, then, every morning carried some fish, and on the top of a hillock, which was near, devoured them, and when it returned, the others hasted to remove and emigrate, and sought for precedence and priority over one another; and wisdom wept with a warning eye over their folly and unwariness, and time, with its thousand eyes, shed tears over their lamentable condition. And undoubtedly any one who is beguiled by the flattery of an enemy and thinks fit to place confidence in a mean person of innate wickedness, this is his punishment. When many days had passed, the desire of (going to) this lake entered into the head of a Crab also. He wished to remove, and informed the Heron of that idea. The Heron reflected, ‘There is not a more thorough enemy of mine than this. My best plan is to convey him to his friends.’ He then advanced, and having taken the Crab on his neck, turned his face towards the resting-place of the fishes. The Crab, who saw the bones of the fish from a distance, perceived how the matter stood. He reflected that a wise man, when he sees an enemy intent on his life, is exerting himself for his own destruction if he neglects to struggle; and that, should he exert himself, his condition will not fail to be one of two things. If he comes off victorious, he leaves a reputation for courage upon the page of time; and if he fails, he at least escapes being reproached for want of courage and spirit in defending himself.

Should a foeman thee attack, to repel his injury
Struggle with thy utmost might, if for wisdom famed thou be.
Art thou successful, thou hast then thy wished-for object won.
But shouldst thou fail, thou art excused, thou hast thy duty done.

The Crab then threw himself on the neck of the heron and began to squeeze his throat tightly. The Heron was old and weak, and with a little throttling became insensible, and falling down from the air was leveled with the dust. The Crab, having descended from his neck, went his way, and having stepped along the road, came to the remaining fishes, and mingling lamentations for lost friends with congratulations on the life of the survivors, informed them how matters stood. All of them rejoiced, and reckoned the death of the Heron as a renewal of existence and a life without limit.

One breath of life that we should draw when such a foe is gone,
Transcends, I deem, a hundred years that circle idly on.
It is not for us to glory o’er our foeman’s fallen day;
Yet from our foe one free-drawn breath excels all thou canst say.

And I have introduced this story with this object, that thou mayest know that many a one perishes by his own stratagems and deceit and the mischievous effects of his perfidiousness, according to the text, ‘but the con­trivance of evil shall only encompass the authors thereof,’* recoil upon himself, nevertheless I will point out a way to thee, in accordance with which, if thou shouldest act, it may be the cause of thy preservation, and of the destruction of thy enemy. The Raven said, ‘One must not slight the suggestions of friends, nor act in opposition to the wise.’

To the wine-house, thou, cupbearer! beckonest me to take my way;
’Twere not friendship’s course resistance to thy counsels to display.

The jackal said, ‘The advisable course is this, that thou shouldest soar aloft in air and cast thine eyes on the terraces of the houses and plains, and wherever thou beholdest an ornament which it is possible to carry, there stoop and snatch it up, and fly through the air in such a way as to be visible to men’s eyes, and there is no doubt that some persons will follow thee to recover the ornament. When thou drawest near to the Serpent cast the ornament upon it, so that when the eyes of those men light upon him they may release him from the bonds of life, and then recover the ornament. And thy heart will be freed from care without any exertions on thy own part.’ The Raven, in accordance with the suggestion of the jackal, turned towards an inhabited place. Presently it saw a woman who had put down an ornament on the corner of a terrace, and was herself occupied with her ablutions. The Raven carried off the ornament, and in the same manner as the jackal had said, threw it on the Serpent. The men who had come in pursuit of the Raven forthwith crushed the Serpent’s head, and the Raven was set free [from its foe].’

The foe departed, with him went our tears.*

Damnah said, ‘I have coined this fable that thou mayest know that things which may be accomplished by artifice, are impossible by mere force.’ Kalílah replied, ‘The Ox possesses strength and fierceness and understanding and prudence, all these things—and over such a person it is not possible to prevail by stratagem, since on every side that thou by deceit preparest a trench, he by forethought will repair it, and perhaps before thou canst make a supper off him, he may breakfast upon thee. But perhaps the story of that Hare never reached thy ears, who formed the design of entrapping the fox, and got caught itself?’ Damnah asked, ‘How was that?’