A long time ago, a very learned sage used to live in a dense forest. All the animals of the forest used to gather around him every day and listen to his spiritual teachings. He told them about many good things for life and they listened to him with interest.
Among these animals was a little mouse who was a follower of the sage. He used to go daily to listen to the sage’s preachings. One day, when the mouse was roaming around in the forest, collecting berries to offer to the sage, he was suddenly attacked by a cat. The mouse managed to slip out of the cat’s grip and ran straight to the sage’s ashram. There he begged the sage to save his life. The cat also followed the mouse to the sage’s ashram and asked for his prey to be returned.
The sage was in a dilemma. He was compassionate towards the mouse but he could not take the cat’s prey. He thought for some time and then, using his divine powers, he transformed the mouse into a bigger cat. Seeing such a big cat, the other cat was scared and ran away.
The mouse was now carefree. He began to roam around in the forest feeling powerful because no cat would dare to attack him now. He fought with many cats to take revenge and killed many of them.
A few days later, when the mouse was walking around in the forest, scaring smaller cats away, he was suddenly attacked by a fox. Now he was in a fix. He had never taken into account that there were other, bigger animals in the forest who could be a threat to him. Again, the mouse managed to slip away and ran to the sage’s ashram with the fox chasing him.
When the mouse and the fox reached the sage’s ashram, the sage saw the plight of the mouse and transformed him into a bigger fox. Seeing the bigger fox in front of him, the fox ran away. Now, the mouse started roaming around more freely than ever. But his luck did not last very long. Soon one day, a tiger pounced on him. As always, the mouse ran for his life and reached the sage’s ashram with the tiger following him close at his heels. And once again, the sage, pitying the mouse, transformed the mouse into a big tiger.
Now, the mouse was completely fearless. He was proud of his newly-acquired status of a tiger. No one could harm him. He killed many animals unnecessarily. He assumed the title of the king of the forest and started commanding his subjects. But all this while, the mouse was disturbed by the thought that if someday the sage got angry with him, he could use his divine powers and change him to a mouse again.
So the mouse thought and thought and finally decided on something. He went to the sage and said, “I want to eat you so that I can enjoy all the divine powers that you have.”
The sage was very angry on hearing this and sensing the tiger’s evil intentions, he immediately turned him back into a mouse. What the mouse had feared came true. He realized his mistake and begged the sage for forgiveness and asked him to change him back into a tiger. But the sage was wise enough not to listen to the mouse. He chased away the mouse, beating him with a stick.
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