The Miserly Father

(from Panchatantra)

Swabhavakripan was a Brahmin living in a city in the south. He was known for his miserliness. Every day, he would go out begging and save some corn flour that people gave him. He stored the flour in an earthen pot and when it was full he hung the pot above his bed, and so he could keep an eye on it.

One day, he returned home very tired and went to sleep and began dreaming: “This pot is full of flour and if there is a famine I will sell it for a very high price. With that money, I will buy two she goats that, in course of time, will become a big herd. Then I will sell the goats and buy cows. And then I will buy buffaloes and later horses. And, when the stables are full of horses I will sell them and buy lots of gold.”

“With this gold, I will build a house with four floors. Seeing my riches, one Brahmin will offer the hand of his beautiful daughter to me. She will soon deliver a son and I will name him Soma Sarma. When he is a year old, I will go and hide in the stable and call out to him to find me out. But the son will come dangerously near the horses. I will shout at my wife but she will be very busy and ignore my call. Then I shall kick her.”

The dream shattered when he kicked the pot of flour hanging above his bed and spilled all its contents over his body. He now looked like a white ghost.

Chakradhara resumed, “That is why, I said:
“He who covets the impossible
Or builds castles in the air
Comes to certain grief like
Poor Soma Sarma’s father.”

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