The Mice That Ate Balance is an interesting tale from the Panchatantra.

The Mice that ate Balance

The Mice that ate Balance
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Here is another interesting story from the album of Panchatantra. Once upon a time, there lived a rich merchant in a village, by the name of Jveernadhana. He was the owner of a big business. The village, in which he lived, was situated near a river. Once, due to heavy rains the river was flooded. The whole village got submerged in neck deep water. The crop, houses and factories in the village were damaged and hundreds of people and cattle perished in the flood.

Due to this flood, the merchant had to suffer heavy losses in the business. He decided to leave the village and try his luck in a new place. His plan was to earn a lot of money and then come back to his native village to restart his business. With this intention, he sold off all his possessions and paid off his debts. Now, Jveernadhana was only left with a heavy iron balance that belonged to his ancestors. It was not possible for him to carry such a heavy iron balance. 

Jveernadhana went to say goodbye to his friend Janak and requested him to keep the balance for him till he returned. Janak readily agreed to his friend's request and said, "Don't worry; I'll keep it safe for you. You can take it back after you return home." Jveernadhana thanked Janak for his helping attitude and kept the balance with him. Jveernadhana left the village in order to accomplish his target.

For many years, Jveernadhana traveled far and wide, trying his luck. By this time, Jveernadhana had done good business and earned a lot of money. He returned to his village. He started his business again. He went to visit his friend Janak, who greeted him warmly and both of them talked for hours. When it was time to leave, Jveernadhana asked his friend to return his iron balance. 

Janak replied, “Friend, I am sorry to say that I don't have your balance with me anymore. There are a lot of mice in my house. They ate up your balance." Janak knew that the balance would fetch him good money so he was reluctant to return it. Jveernadhana was amazed to hear Janak's explanation. He thought, “How can mice eat iron”. Still, he kept calm and said, "Don't feel sorry, Janak. The mice have always proved a threat to everyone. Let us forget about it."

Janak was happy to hear such words from Jveernadhana. While leaving the place of Janak, Jveernadhana said to Janak,” Can you send your son with me? Actually I have brought a gift for you and your son will come with me, I‘ll handover the gift to him”. Janak happily sent his son Ramu with Jveernadhana.

Jveernadhana locked up Ramu in a room of his house. By the night, Janak got worried and came to ask about the whereabouts of his son. Jveernadhana replied, “I’m sorry friend. When we were on the way, a hawk swooped down and carried away the boy”. Janak shouted, “How can a hawk carry off a young boy?” Janak accused Jveernadhana of lying. He insisted that a hawk could not carry off a fifteen year-old boy. 

Jveernadhana repeatedly claimed that a hawk carried away Janak’s son. A big fight ensued and ultimately, the matter was taken to court. When the magistrate heard Janak’s side of the story, he ordered Jveernadhana to return the boy to his father. Jveernadhana said, "My Lord, How can I, when a hawk has already carried away the boy." The judge reprimanded Jveernadhana, "Shut up! How can a bird carry away a young boy in his talons?"

Jveernadhana politely replied, “It can, my lord. If mice can eat my iron balance, why can't a bird carry away a grown up boy." The magistrate got confused and then Jveernadhana narrated the whole story to the judge. Everyone in the courtroom burst out laughing. At last, Janak apologized for his mistake. The judge ordered him to return the iron balance to Jveernadhana and asked Jveernadhana to return the boy to Janak. 

Moral: Never try to deceive a friend