The Tale of Three Fish, A Story from the Panchatantra



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There lived three fish in a reservoir. The first is called Anna. She is proactive and believes in strategically avoiding danger as soon as you sense it. The second fish is called Pratyu, and she only likes to avoid things that are really dangerous. She doesn't believe in the threat of anticipated danger. Last but not the least in the gang is Yaddi, who believes that everything is destined and one can never avoid fate. We must leave everything to destiny. One day some fishermen discover the reservoir and plan on catching all the fish the next day. Anna, Pratyu, and Yaddi overhear their plan. Anna immediately leaves the reservoir after suggesting her friends to do the same. Pratyu and Yaddi stay behind but when the fishermen come next morning, Pratyu immediately starts planning an escape. She finds a dead beaver in the reservoir and quickly wraps herself in it’s dead, stinky body, ultimately getting caught in one fisherman’s net. Although all the other fish start suffering out of water, Pratyu manages to hold her breath for some time. The fisherman discovers the dead beaver, and throws it into the reservoir again. Upon reaching the bottom of the reservoir, Pratyu jumps out of the beaver’s body and feels proud of her resourcefulness. Yaddi, who left everything to fate gets caught in another net and ends up dying with other fish in agony. The moral of this story is God helps those who help themselves.

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Approximate Publication Year

1210 CE

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Language Interpretation and Translation | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies


Read by Eva Nautiyal, IWU student, class of 2020

About the Hindi Language in India: Hindi (Devanagari script, हिन्दी) is an Indo-European and Indo-Aryan language. It is one of many languages spoken in India today, and one of the twenty-two official languages used by the Government of India along with English. It is spoken mainly in the Hindi belt (parts of Northern, Eastern, Western, and Central India) by more than 340 million people. Hindi, in all its linguistic varieties, is the fourth most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish, and English.


The Panchatantra (in Sanskrit, “five discourses”) is an ancient collection of animal fables written originally in Sanskrit. The original manuscript is lost. The story of how the Panchatantra got to us is in itself fascinating. Many Persian translations were lost. The Arabic translation known as Kalilah wa Dinmah by Abd-allah ibn al-Muqaffa (who was executed in Basra in 757 amidst the political intrigue of the Abbasid dynasty) led to other versions including Hebrew, Greek, and Latin in the 11th and 12th-centuries. The Hebrew translation by Rabbi Joel in the 12th century is the source of the Latin version by John of Capua ( Directorium Humanae Vitae, printed in 1480) which was translated into Italian by Anton Francesco Doni (1513-1574) in 1552. This translation became the basis for the first English translation, in 1570 by Sir Thomas North The Fables of Bidpai: The Morall Philosophie of Doni (reprinted by Joseph Jacobs, 1888). (Sources: Encyclopedia Britannica, Oxford Dictionary, Scroll In, and Wikipedia).

The Tale of Three Fish, A Story from the Panchatantra


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