The Gold Giving Serpent
Here is another interesting story from the collection of Panchatantra. Once upon a time, there was a poor Brahmin named Haridatta. He used to work hard in the fields, but could not get the result out of it. One day, after the tiring working hours, he laid down in the shade of the tree, in the middle of the field. Just then, he saw a terrible snake with a big hood coming out of an anthill. The poor Brahmin thought that the serpent might be the guardian deity of the field and he had not paid homage to it for once. This could be the reason for the barrenness of the field.
Instantly, he went to bring some milk and offered the milk to the serpent in a bowl. While offering the milk with due regard, he addressed the serpent, “O, Guardian of this field! I didn’t know that you reside here that’s why I never offered you anything. Please forgive me”. After the whole event, he went to his home. Next day, when the farmer came to plough the field, he found a gold coin in the bowl near the anthill. Now this became a regular feature of Brahmin’s life. Daily he served milk to the serpent and found a gold coin.
One day Brahmin had to go to the foreign lands and due to this reason, he asked his son to take care of the serpent. The son brought the milk to the anthill and offered it, to the serpent. Next day, when he came back found a gold coin in the bowl. After taking the gold coin, he thought, “This anthill must be full of gold coins. I would kill the serpent and take them all”. Brahmin’s son decided the plan and next day came to the field with the milk and a stick. He offered the milk to the snake and struck its hood with the stick. The snake escaped the blow of the stick and bit the boy to his death.
The whole village mourned over the sad death of Brahmin’s son. Two days later, the Brahmin returned to his village and came to know about the death of his son. He came across the whole incident and again went to the field to serve the milk to the serpent. He praised the snake in a loud voice and kept the milk near the anthill.
The snake came out of the anthill and replied, “Brahmin, you have come here from greed, even you have left your grief for your son who has just passed. Now onwards, the friendship between you and me is not possible. Your youthful son who lacked understanding struck me and I bit him. How can I forget that stick’s blow? How can you forget the pain and grief for your son? “. After saying this, the serpent gave him a diamond and said, “Never come to me again. That is why; I am giving you a costly diamond”. The serpent disappeared into the anthill. The Brahman took the diamond and returned home, cursing the lack of understanding of his son.
Moral : Excess of greed is harmful.