The Price of Indiscretion
In the city of Nagara, there was a carpenter whose name was Ujjwalaka and who was extremely poor. One day he was pained to realize that every one else in his profession was rich and happy and that he alone was very poor. He thought Nagara was not the proper place for him to prosper and that he must go out and seek his fortune elsewhere. Then he left that city and began his journey to a new country. When the sun was fading, he reached a cave in a forest.
There he saw a female camel that separated from her caravan and just then delivered a child. The carpenter gave up his plans to go to another country and went home taking the camel and her calf with him. Every day he would go into the forest and bring back with him bundles of tender leaves for the camel and her child to eat. The she camel regained and her strength and the calf now became an adult. The carpenter began selling camel milk and making good money.
Ujjwalaka loved the camel so much that he bought a bell and hung it to her neck. One day he thought to himself, “If one camel can bring so much money for me, how much more would I earn if I buy more camels and sell their milk?” He told his wife that he would borrow some money to go to Gujarat and buy a she camel and that she should take care of the she camel and her calf till he returned from Gujarat.
He went to Gujarat and returned home with a she camel. Slowly, the number of camels he had increased several times. He appointed a keeper to take care of the camel herd he had on the condition that he would give one camel to the keeper every year as remuneration. The keeper was also free to drink camel milk twice a day. Now, everything was fine for the carpenter and he and his wife thus lived happily ever after.
The camels used to go every day to a nearby forest to feed on the fresh green leaves available in plenty in the forest. After spending a lot of time in the forest, eating and playing, the camels trekked back home. But the senior she camel stayed on in the forest and joined the herd later. The other camels thought that the she camel was a fool to go her separate ways and what would she do if a wild animal attacked her.
One day a lion saw all the camels leaving the forest in a herd and the she camel staying back and loafing about. By the time she finished her leisurely grazing, the others left and reached home. The she camel lost her way and was in panic when the lion, which was following her, pounced on her and soon tore her to pieces.
“That’s why I tell you that he who does not follow the advice of wise men perishes like the camel,” said the monkey.
The croc replied, “You are right, if you follow advice given for your good you will face no danger either here or in the heaven above. Yet, what is great about doing good to a person who is good? He who helps a person who has done him harm is considered great by learned people. That’s why take pity on me and give me advice.”
The monkey said, “In that case, you go and fight that big croc who has occupied your home. If you die in that battle, you will go to heaven. If you win the battle, you will get back your house. Know this from me:
“Conquer a good man with humility,
Vanquish a hero with strategy,
Overcome the poor through small gifts
And crush equals with power.”
“How is that possible?” Karalamukha asked Raktamukha. Another story begins.