Here’s another great story from the Hitopadesha. Once upon a time, there lived an old tiger in a forest. One day, he found a precious gold bangle lying abandoned near a lake in the forest. He quickly picked it up and thought of using it as bait to catch some human being. Soon after, a traveler happened to pass through the opposite side of the lake.
The tiger thought to himself, “This man would make a delicious meal. Let me try to lure him with this gold bangle.” He then held the bangle in his paw making it visible to the traveler and said, “Dear man, wait up and look here! I have a precious gold bangle in my hand. It is of no use to me and hence, I want to gift it to you.” The traveler was enamoured by the glittering gold bangle, but he hesitated to go near the tiger. So, he said, “O king of the jungle! Who would not want to possess that valuable ornament? But, how can I trust your intentions? You are a ferocious wild beast and you will kill me the moment I come near you.”
The cunning tiger said, “Well! I don’t blame you for doubting my intentions. I was indeed very evil in my youth and killed many people. But, now I have taken sanyas and I have given up everything that is evil. Moreover, I have grown old. I have lost my teeth and my claws have also become blunt. So, you have nothing to worry about.” The tiger was thus, able to convince the traveler to jump into the lake and wade across to him.
The lake had a marshy patch and as per the tiger’s plan, the traveler got trapped in it. When the tiger saw the traveler sinking in the marsh, he said, “Oh! Please do not worry. I am coming to help you and end your misery.” And then the tiger came near the traveler and seized him. He started dragging him towards the bank to eat him. The poor traveller thought to himself, “I had been such a fool to trust this cunning wild animal! If only I had not let my greed overcome my reason, I could be alive.” However, it was too late for him to do anything; the tiger killed the traveler and ate him up. That is why it is said that a victim of greed never goes unpunished.
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