In a city named Growing City, there was a very smart merchant named Strong-Tooth. He was in charge of making sure everything in the city ran smoothly. Because he did his job so well, everyone was happy.
One day, Strong-Tooth had a big wedding party for his daughter. He invited lots of people, including the king and his friends. Everyone had a great time with lots of food and presents, and Strong-Tooth made sure to walk the king back to his palace afterwards.
But there was a servant named Bull who worked in the palace, and he sat in a place he wasn’t supposed to. Strong-Tooth told him off and made him leave, which made Bull feel very embarrassed and upset.
Bull couldn’t stop thinking about how embarrassed he was, but he also knew he couldn’t do anything to get back at Strong-Tooth. One day, while the king was still half asleep, Bull mumbled a silly lie, saying that Strong-Tooth had kissed the queen.
The king overheard this and got very upset. Bull pretended that he was just talking in his sleep because he was so tired. The king started to think maybe what Bull said was true because Strong-Tooth was allowed in the palace. He got really jealous and stopped letting Strong-Tooth come to the palace.
Strong-Tooth was sad and confused because he had never done anything wrong. He remembered sayings about how fortune can make people proud or bring them down, how love can cause pain, and how nobody can ever be sure of being loved by a king or by anyone.
Later, Bull saw Strong-Tooth being stopped at the palace gate and made fun of him. Strong-Tooth realized that Bull was the one who caused his trouble. So, that evening, Strong-Tooth gave Bull two nice shirts and explained that he only told Bull off because he wasn’t sitting in the right place.
Bull was so happy with the gifts that he forgave Strong-Tooth and promised that things would get better. The next day, Bull made another silly comment while the king was half awake, saying that the king was eating cucumbers in a funny way.
The king realized that Bull was just saying nonsense and that he had made a mistake by not trusting Strong-Tooth. He called Strong-Tooth back, gave him gifts, and let him be in charge again.
And that’s why it's important to treat everyone well, because you never know how things will turn out.
The moral of the story "Merchant Strong-Tooth" from the Panchatantra is about the consequences of deceit and the importance of honesty and integrity.
In the story, a merchant named Strong-Tooth is falsely accused of kissing the queen by a house-cleaning drudge named Bull. Bull, who is envious and holds a grudge against Strong-Tooth for an earlier humiliation, uses a moment of opportunity to slander him. The king, without proper investigation, believes this accusation and unjustly punishes Strong-Tooth, causing him great distress. Later, when Bull makes another outrageous claim, the king realizes his mistake and understands that Bull had been lying. Strong-Tooth is reinstated, and Bull faces the consequences of his deceit.
The story illustrates several important lessons:
The Dangers of False Accusations: It shows the harm that can come from false accusations and how they can unjustly damage someone's reputation and life.
The Need for Critical Thinking and Investigation: The story criticizes the king's hasty judgment without proper investigation. It underscores the importance of not jumping to conclusions and the need for critical examination of claims, especially when they can harm others.
The Consequences of Deceit: Bull's dishonesty eventually leads to his downfall, highlighting that deceit and malicious intent can backfire.
The Value of Integrity: Strong-Tooth’s situation also serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining integrity, even when falsely accused.
Overall, the moral centers around the themes of truthfulness, the importance of fair judgment, and the impact of deceitful actions.