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The Story of a Rich Mouse and the Holy Man

rich mouse and holyman, Hitopdesa talesOnce upon a time there lived a holy man who supported himself by begging for food daily. Having collected his foods, he would eat a little and keep the rest in a begging bowl which he used to hang high up on a peg. A mouse noticed his peg. When all his efforts to reach the peg failed, he jumped at it and helped himself with the food. Slowly it began a regular habit with him a and he kept jumping at all odd times in order to reach the peg. Greatly tormented, the holy man brought a bamboo stick kept tapping the ground to scare the mouse away.

One day, a friend of the holy man came to visit him. The holy man welcomed him and offered him food. They then retired to have a heart to heart talk. However the holy man couldn't concentrate on the conversation as he kept on tapping the ground. The friend noticed this and asked, "What's this you're doing? It seems I am disturbing you by coming here and you don’t want to speak to me." "Oh please forgive me!" the holy man exclaimed. "It's just that dreadful mouse. Every day he eats away whatever food I manage to save."

His friend looked in the direction of the peg and said, "But how can a mouse jump so high? There must be a reason for his achieving such a feat.” The holy man's friend thought it over some time and said, "There can be only one reason. The mouse must have put aside a lot of food and having so much food, gives him extraordinary energy to jump so high.” Soon they began to look for the hoard of food that the mouse had accumulated. When they found it, they dug it up and took it away.

When the mouse returned and found that his hoard of food was missing, he was disheartened. He lost all his enthusiasm. Slowly bereft of food he lost his strength and could not jump again at the peg.

And so the holy man was free from the trouble of keeping watch over the food he saved in the begging bowl.

Moral Strike at the source of an enemy's strength to destroy him.