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Tales of Hitopadesha
Short Stories
The Monkey and the Bell
Once in the'mountain Sriparvata near the city of Brahmapura, a robber was passing through. A hungry tiger attacked and killed him. Now the robber had stolen some jewellery from a temple along with a brass hand bell. A few monkeys who were living there saw these scattered nearby. One of the monkeys picked up the bell, and liking the ringing sound of the bell it began to swing the bell to and fro.

The people in the city heard the ringing of the bell in the mountains and were mystified and a little scared. They began to wonder as to who could be ringing the bell. At last the bravest among them offered to go and investigate the cause. He went on the mountain road and saw the dead robber. Hearing the ringing of the bell suddenly from somewhere above, he lost his courage and came running back in fear. He told the others that the mountain was inhabited by an evil spirit who would kill men and and ring the bell to announce their death. Now the simple folk of the city believed this and became thoroughly frightened. Nobody ventured near the mountain. Each time the sound of the bell was heard they shivered with fright. Many started to flee from the city.

Meanwhile the monkeys were so fascinated by the sound of the bell that they continued to ring it every now and then. The King announced a handsome reward to anybody who could drive away the evil spirit.

An old woman who lived in the city did not believe in evil spirits. She decided to find the cause of the ringing of the bell. She went up the mountainside and soon came upon a group of monkeys happily ringing the bell. The old woman burst out laughing with relief on seeing this.

She also saw the remains of the dead robber and the footprints of a tiger nearby. The old woman collected the pieces of jewellery lying near the robber and concluded that he must have been killed by a tiger.

The clever old woman went to the King and said that she would drive out the evil spirit from the mountain and would bring back the bell as a sign of proof. The King was very happy to hear this & offered to send his soldiers along with her. The old woman refused and said that it would be better if she went alone. But she asked for plenty of fruits and nuts to offer to the evil spirit.

So armed with all the things that monkeys were fond of, the old woman set off towards the mountain once again. As she neared the place where the monkeys lived, she scattered the fruits and nuts all around. The monkeys at once cast the bell aside and came to pick up the fruits. The old woman at once picked up the bell and returned back. She then went to the King and presented him the bell. "Your Majesty, as I had promised, I have driven out the evil spirit forever. Here is the bell which caused such a scare to everyone".



The King was immensely pleased with the bravery of the old woman and rewarded her handsomely.
Next >>
  • The Golden Bangle
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  • The Greedy Jackal
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  • The Donkery and the Dog
  • The Lion, the Mouse and the Cat
  • The Monkey and the Bell
  • The Crows and the Cobra
  • The Foolish Ass
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  • The Wily Crow
  • The Gunning Merchant
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