The Brahmin and Three Rogues, a story from The Panchatantra



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The story starts off with a Brahmin carrying a goat on his shoulder, gifted to him by a rich merchant for fulfilling his priestly duties. The Brahmin is tricked by three thugs into leaving the goat on the streets for the fear that the goat is actually a dog and not a goat. This happens when all three thugs question the Brahmin for carrying a “dog” on his shoulder. Being a Brahmin, he must not carry an unclean animal like a dog with himself. Even though the animal is a goat, the fact that three men (the rogues) see a dog and not a goat convinces the Brahmin of his illusion and he leaves his goat on the street. The rogues finally capture and cook the goat for themselves, basking in the glory of their cleverness tricking the Brahmin. This fable is commonly used to teach children that we must have immense faith and confidence in ourselves and must not be affected by external influences. A lie repeated a thousand times seems like a truth and all the knowledge in the world couldn’t save the Brahmin from being tricked because he didn’t have the self-confidence to believe what he saw was right.

Approximate Publication Year

1210 CE

Geographical region for language spoken

Indore, Madhya Pradesh State, in Central India


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.

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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 Brahmin and Three Rogues, a story from The Panchatantra


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