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The Story of the Old Tiger and the Greedy Traveler

old tiger who offered bangles to travellers, HitopdesaOnce upon a time, there was a tiger who was large and fearsome. He lived by hunting animals and was a terror wherever he went. However as he grew old, age started showing its mark on him as well. Now he could barely go out and hunt. Having been in pains of hunger for a few days, he hit upon a plan to have food for himself.

The other morning, he stood in a lake and holding a gold bracelet in the other, shouted out, "Here you are, Ladies and Gentlemen! A gold bracelet! Just for you! "A traveler passing by liked the look of the gold bracelet and was filled with greed in acquiring it without any effort. However, there was this element of risk involved. So he decided to play safe.

Then the man said to the tiger, "Where is this gold bracelet?” The tiger opened his paw and showed it to him.” But how can I trust you," asked the man, "Knowing that you are a killer?" "Listen traveler, "said the tiger, "I admit, in my youth, I was wicked and killed many cows and human beings. My wife and children died because of my evil deeds. Then I consulted a holy man who advised me to give alms. So now I take a bath and give things for the sake of charity. Besides, I've gone old. My teeth and claws have fallen off. So what have you to fear from me?"

The traveler was taken in by this clever talk and was fully convinced. He got down in the lake, but immediately he was tangled in a quagmire of mud. When the tiger saw this, he comforted him. "Oh! Don't worry. I'll help you," he said, and slowly waded towards the traveler and seized him.

As he was being dragged out, onto the bank, the poor man gasped, "Ah! This Villain's talk of holiness completely took me in. A rascal is always a rascal. Like a fool I believed him and now I must pay for it."

Soon after that, the tiger killed the traveler and ate him up.

Moral: One’s nature never changes.