The Friendly Mongoose

The Friendly Mongoose

By a story from The Panchatantra

This story discusses the human tendency to jump to conclusions too quickly and how this tendency disrupts and disturbs the system. This moral is portrayed through the eyes of a farmer's wife.

The chapter begins with the introduction of a farmer who used to live in a village with his wife and a newborn child. When the farmer told his wife that he wanted a pet for his son, she agreed. His wife agreed, and the farmer brought a baby mongoose with him the next day. The farmer's wife went to the market one day, leaving their son and the mongoose alone in the house. The farmer was also working in the field at the time.
When the farmer's wife returned home, she discovered the mongoose's mouth and paws smeared with blood. She assumed it had killed their child. So she killed the mongoose by hitting it with a grocery basket. She then noticed that her baby was fast asleep and that a black snake was dead. She realised the mongoose had killed the snake and thus saved her son. She was sorry for what she had done, but it was too late.

ONCE a farmer and his wife lived in a village with their small son. They loved him very much. “We must have a pet,” the farmer said to his wife one day. “When our son grows up, he will need a companion. This pet will be our son’s companion.” His wife liked the idea. One evening, the farmer brought with him a tiny mongoose. “It’s a baby mongoose,” said his wife, “but will soon be fully grown. He will be a friend to our son.”
Both the baby and the mongoose grew. In five or six months the mongoose had grown to its full size — a lovely animal with two shining black eyes and a bushy tail. The farmer’s son was still a baby in the cradle, sleeping and crying alternately.

  • Cradle :a small bed for a baby

A farmer, his wife, and a small baby used to live in a village. He and his wife both truly loved their child. One day, the farmer told his wife that he wanted to bring a pet to his house to be a companion for their son. His wife liked the idea and agreed with him. As a pet, the farmer brought a baby mongoose. Within five or six months, both the baby mongoose and his son had grown. The mongoose had reached full size, whereas the farmer's son was still a baby.

One day, the farmer’s wife wanted to go to the market. She fed the baby and rocked him to sleep in his little cradle. Picking up the basket, she said to her husband, “I’m off to the bazar. The baby is sleeping. Keep an eye on him. Frankly, I don’t like to leave the child alone with the mongoose.”

  • Rocked : to move or sway from one side to another
  • Frankly : honestly

The farmer's wife had to go to the market one day. She fed the baby and moved him around a little to get him to sleep. She picked up the basket and asked her husband to keep an eye on the baby while she went to the market. She stated that she disliked leaving her baby alone with the mongoose.

“You needn’t be afraid,” said the farmer. “The mongoose is a friendly animal. It’s as sweet as our baby and they are the best of friends, you know.”
The wife went away, and the farmer, having nothing to do in the house, decided to go out and take a look at his fields not far away. He ran into some friends on the way back and didn’t return for quite some time.

The farmer assured her that the mongoose was as gentle as their own child. Furthermore, they were both good friends.
The wife went to the market, and the farmer, who was bored at home, went to his fields, which were not far from the house. On the way, he ran into some of his friends and became late.

The farmer’s wife finished her shopping and came back home with a basketful of groceries. She saw the mongoose sitting outside as if waiting for her. On seeing her he ran to welcome her, as was customary. The farmer’s wife took one look at the mongoose and screamed. “Blood!” she cried. The face and paws of the mongoose were smeared with blood.

The farmer's wife returned from the market with her basket overflowing with groceries. She began shouting and crying when she noticed blood on the mongoose's face and paws. She assumed it was her baby's blood.

“You wicked animal! You have killed my baby,” she screamed hysterically. She was blind with rage and with all her strength brought down the heavy basket full of groceries on the blood-smeared mongoose and ran inside to the child’s cradle.

She assumed the mongoose had killed her child. She was blinded by fear and hit the mongoose with the heavy basket with all her strength. She then ran inside to her child's cradle.

The baby was fast asleep. But on the floor lay a black snake torn and bleeding. In a flash she realised what had happened. She ran out looking for the mongoose.

She noticed the baby sleeping and a black snake on the floor. She understood the entire plot in a moment. She ran outside in search of the mongoose.

“Oh! You saved my child! You killed the snake! What have I done?” she cried touching the mongoose, who lay dead and still, unaware of her sobbing. The farmer’s wife, who had acted hastily and rashly, stared long at the dead mongoose. Then she heard the baby crying. Wiping her tears, she went in to feed him.

When she realised her mistake, she burst into tears. She reached out and touched the dead mongoose. The farmer's wife, who had acted rashly in her panic, was repenting, but it was too late.