Here’s something we can both agree on…
If you grew up in India, you would’ve either heard or read stories from the Panchatantra series at some point in your life.
It’s a given!
Whether in English or your mother tongue, be it about the musical donkey, or the hare that outwitted the lion, you would’ve experienced these classic stories in some form or other.
And the reason is simple — the Panchatantra stories are all-encompassing! It has everything!
Morals, values, wit, humour, animals, life lessons, everything — which is probably why almost every parent ensures that their child gets introduced to it. These ancient Indian fables have endured the test of time and have been passed from generation to generation to where we are today.
So if you’re one such parent, and if you’re wondering where to start or how to begin, we’ve got your back! We’ve put together an interesting set of 27 Panchatantra stories through which your child will learn the ways of life.
But before we head right in, here’s a backstory to tell your little one!
Select your child’s age group so we can customise the activities for you:
‘Panch’ means five and ‘Tantra’ means principles — and true to its name, the author of the series Vishnu Sharma segregated Panchatantra stories into 5 main categories. And the story goes this way…
King Amarashakti, who previously ruled Mahilaropya in Southern India, had 3 sons who were a bit too dull to rule the kingdom. So to sculpt them into suitable rulers and guide them in the right path, he appointed Vishnu Sharma, a learned scholar. On realising that the sons were too dim-witted to understand his teachings, he wrote them down as stories (The Panchatantra stories) instead. And these stories cover 5 concepts:
Book One: Mitra-bedha – The Loss Of Friends
Book Two: Mitra-labha – The Winning of Friends
Book Three: Kakolukiyum – On Crows And Owls
Book Four: Labdhapranasam – Loss Of Gains
Book Five: Apariksitakarakam – Ill-Considered Action
Now let’s take a look at some Panchatantra stories from each of these sets:
The Monkey And The Wedge:
This one’s a classic! A monkey is taught the lesson of minding its own business when it pokes its nose, removes a wooden log and gets trapped!
The Jackal And The Drum:
The Brave always triumph – and the Jackal in this story shows us exactly how! On hearing a mysterious sound in the forest, the Jackal, instead of running away, investigates its true source to find it quite harmless!
The Lion, Camel, Jackal And Crow:
Don’t trust easily! Through carnivores in the jungle, this simple story stresses on how to be wary of others’ ulterior motives and what happens when you trust too easily.
The Crane And The Crab:
What happens when things go wrong? Use your wit and quick! This interesting Panchatantra story is about how a smart Crane takes advantage of the innocent sea creatures – and how only quick-thinking can save you in certain situations.
The Rat That Ate Iron:
An eye for an eye may make the world go blind, however, sometimes, a tit-for-tat policy sure comes in handy! Here’s the story of a smart merchant who cleverly uses this policy to get back his iron balance from a wicked merchant. Your child is sure to enjoy this!
Right-Mind And Wrong-Mind:
Your child will learn a lot from this story where a wicked man faces consequences for his evil actions, while a virtuous man learns not to be naive in the company of others.
The Tale Of The Three Fish:
This riveting Panchatantra story talks about how your actions during times of danger can save you. When three fish were faced by a situation, 2 saved themselves while the other stayed back to its unfortunate death.
The Hermit And The Mouse:
This interesting story talks about how a sage outwitted a mouse by attacking it at its weakest point. The Hermit was losing his food because of a really smart mouse. But when he understood the source of its power, he was able to get rid of the mouse!
The Elephants And The King Of Mice:
Ever thought Elephants would need the help of tiny mice? Well, this story teaches children about how to never judge based on size or appearance! Read it right away!
Shandili And The Sesame Seeds:
Is niceness too good to be true? In today’s world, some would agree! Well here’s a story that teaches children about how instead of trusting easily, one must analyse the situation.
The Story Of The Merchant’s Son:
It’s all to do with destiny, isn’t it? This little story about a merchant’s son talks about how he faced several situations while leaving it all to destiny! And the best part, he gets rewarded for it!
The Unlucky Weaver:
Here’s the story of a weaver who decides to leave his happiness behind to earn pots of gold coins. During this journey, however, he learns about how it’s best to just work hard, be happy and leave the rest to destiny! A great lesson to teach kids!
Of Crows And Owls:
Is it good to speak out your thoughts or will it backfire? The story ‘Of Crows And Owls’ teaches this – how the outspoken crow won itself an ego boost but lost its friends!
Elephants And Hares:
When you’re facing a stronger opponent, use your wit to save yourself! This story’s about a smart hare that saves its group with its quick thinking skills. A great one to entertain your kid!
The Brahmin And The Crooks:
If lies are spoken repeatedly, do they turn into the truth? Well, this story talks about three crooks who outsmart a Brahmin by repetitively fooling him!
The War Of Crows And Owls:
The war continues between the crows and owls! And with the owls getting stronger, the crows decide to send over a spy. Consequently, the spy takes advantage of the scenario and outsmarts the owls!
The Cave That Talked:
Your child is sure to love this one! A clever jackal used its quick-thinking skills to save himself from a hungry Lion – and as a result, saved its life!
The Monkey And The Crocodile:
This famous story talks about the importance of being faithful and grateful. The crocodile and monkey lose their friendship because of the crocodile’s ungratefulness. It all came down to quick-thinking that saved the monkey!
The Story Of The Potter:
This story is about being who you are and how if you don’t, you end up paying for it! A potter’s simple wound is mistaken as a warrior’s wound when he enters a palace. Consequently, the king mistaking him pushes him to the battleground and he almost loses his life!
The Greedy Cobra And The King Of Frogs:
Here’s an excellent story to teach your little ones – fight your own battles! The greedy cobra depended on the cruel king of frogs, only to be left starving to death!
The Donkey And The Washerman:
This one tells your child about what happens when you pretend to be someone you’re not! A donkey that was disguised as a tiger had to face severe consequences.
The Jackal’s Strategy:
The Panchatantra series never fails to be witty, and this is another such example for your little one! The Jackal uses its cleverness to eat his food while smartly fighting against different challenges thrown at it!
The Brahmani And The Mongoose:
Panchatantra stories can sure teach your child a thing or two about acting in haste and how it will do no good – and here’s another example! On mistaking the mongoose for attacking her son, the Brahmani makes a terrible mistake in haste!
The Brahmin’s Dream:
Building casltes in the air won’t bring you any happiness! Here’s the story of a miserly Brahmin who got over excited with his huge colleciton of rice gruel. However, he gets a dream that changes his life!
The Lion That Sprang To Life:
What good is knowledge when you lack common sense? This interesting story talks about four young men who venture out to use their learnings to make earnings. However, when they meet with a scenario, they cause unnecessary trouble to themselves without thinking clearly.
The Musical Donkey:
This is a hilarious one where a donkey knows not that there’s an appropriate place and time for everything. The donkey uses its not-so-musical voice to sing loudly while stealing food from nearby farms – only to receive a garland of hits!
The Bird With Two Heads:
Unity is strength! Wouldn’t you agree? Well, this story focuses on exactly this moral! A two-headed bird loses its strength when it thinks only for its individual needs.
So these are some of the many fabulous Panchatantra stories. You can read them out to your child, or watch the short videos provided! We’re sure your child will enjoy these ancient fables and you will love them too!
What’s your child’s favourite story from the Panchatantra series? Leave a comment below to let us know!