The Snake and the Priest Kahaniya

Tale of Panchatantra

Nivedita Yohana

The Priest and the Snake — watercolour by Greg Suffanti

It was a busy day at the market and one of the villagers was selling Snake gourds. Suddenly, a snake crawled out from a bunch of gourds and frightened the villagers. As the villagers ran for their lives, the snake felt very happy and proud and said to himself:

“Funny people! How scared they are! I love playing pranks on them!”

And so the snake did this often to amuse himself.

One day, a priest stopped by the village. As usual, the snake crawled out of his pit and tried to scare him, too. However, the priest bravely stood his ground. “Hiss! Aren’t you afraid?” asked the snake. The priest replied:

“Scared? I find you funny! Why do you waste your time doing such silly things? Do you think anyone in the village respects you? People are only afraid of you. No one likes you! Try to change your ways and you will have a better life,”

Having said this, the priest went away. The snake was deeply affected by the priest’s words and he decided to change for the better. A few days later the priest visited the village again and what he saw shocked him: the snake was bruised all over. He immediately asked the snake:

“What happened to you?”

And the snake sadly replied:

“I just followed your advice. I stopped scaring people and I even stopped hissing at them. They beat me up all the time. What do I do, tell me oh great priest?!”

And so the priest offered the following advice:

“Oh, poor thing! I told you not to kill or scare people for fun. But did I ever tell you not to hiss? God has given you the power to hiss for your own safety. Use it when needed but don’t abuse it.”

The snake understood the priest’s point. He thanked the priest for his kind advice and slithered back to his home.

Moral: Use your skills wisely, and don’t abuse them.

  • Chowdhury, R., Vishnusharma, & Roy, N.S. (2017). Panchatantra. Gurgaon: Penguin Books India.
  • Das, V., & Joshi, J. (2002). The Jataka tales. New Delhi: Madhuban.
  • Hitopadesha: An ancient, fabled classic. (2002). Bombay: Jaico Pub. House.
Nivedita Yohana

Since early on I had the affinity to learn more about what lies beyond our mundane existence and that made me pursue my studies in that field. Even though my study is in the field of English Literature, I have always inculcated philosophical insights into my analysis. Quest for Wisdom Foundation is a great initiative by Dr. Heidi and when I first heard about it, I immediately saw amazing potentials in it.

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