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The story of the Brahmin and the Cobra

The Brahmin and the CobraIn a certain town, there lived a Brahmin.In spite of the fact that he worked extremely hard on his farm, he did not prosper. One day, the heat was unbearable and he was resting under the shade of a tree, on the farm when a cobra emerged from an anthill and confronted him with his hood raised.He thought to himself, "Perhaps this cobra is the deity of the farm.As I have not worshipped him before, my labour on the farm has proved to be fruitless. So, from today onwards, I shall start offering oblations to him."With this thought, the Brahmin brought milk and poured into a plate in front of the anthill and said, "Oh, protector of the farm, I did not know of your presence here, that is why I have not worshipped you until now. Please forgive me."And when he had offered the milk to the cobra, in the traditional way, he went home.

Next morning, when he returned, to his farm, he saw a gold coin lying on the plate.In this way, everyday the Brahmin would make an offering of milk to the cobra and get a gold coin in return.One day, the Brahmin went to visit another village, after duly instructing his son to make an offering of milk to cobra.Accordingly, on the following day, his son did so and then went home.Next morning, when he returned, he found a gold coin lying on the plateHe was astonished and thought to himself. 'This anthill must be full of gold coins. I'll kill the cobra and get all the gold at once.'

And so, the morning, when he should have been making an offering of milk, the Brahmin's son hit the cobra with a stick.But, luckily for the cobra, it was not a death blow and the cobra turned angrily on the Brahmin's son and bit him.The boy died on the spot and the Brahmin's relatives burnt his body in the field.Next day, when the Brahmin returned, his relatives informed him of his son's death and described to him how he had died.The Brahmin expressed his grief for his son's rash behaviour and subsequent death but defended the cobra's action.

The following morning the Brahmin went to the cobra with an offering of milk, stood before the anthill and prayed in a loud voice.The cobra, sitting at the entrance of the anthill, said, 'Good Heavens! You're so greedy for gold that you have even forgotten your son's death to come here! Our friendship will not last long now.Your son, in his youthful rashness attacked me and I, in retaliation, bit him.How can I forget your son's attack, and how can you forget his death? Look at the funeral pyre and then at my injured hood.

Love, once shattered, can never be restored by a show of affection.'

When the cobra had said this, he handed to the Brahmin a priceless diamond and re-entered the anthill, saying 'Never come here again!' "The Brahmin accepted the diamond, and went home, regretting his son's foolishness.

Moral: Greed crosses all borders of reasoning and ends in disaster.