The Brook – Jataka Tales

Kriloff’s Original Fables
A Shepherd, by a Brook, once plaintively bewailed
His ill luck in a loss irreparable to him
:
His favourite lamb to save he’d failed, Drowned in the neighbouring river grim.
On hearing him the Brook’s soft purling wrath
expressed :
‘ Insatiable stream ! what, if that bed of thine Were now, like mine,
Open and clear, by lucid waters pressed ;
If passers-by could see, upon its depth now shaded,
Thevictims that thygreed hath swallowed, thou,upbraided
E’en by thyself with shame, through earth unaided
Hadst broken into some abyss, to hide
Thine ill-famed tide.
I think, if unto me by fate Such wealth of waters had been given,
I should have been earth’s ornament from heaven,
And not a hen had suffered from my hate
;
How carefully had flowed my current then,
Nor injured either bush or hut of men ! Had I been only favoured in my banks,
Valleys and meads refreshed had given me thanks,
And not a leaf been found astray. In one word, working good upon my way, Nowhere the cause of grief or ill, My waters to the sea had reached, and still Flowed clearly, brightly on, like silver in a ray.” Thus spoke the Brook, and thus indeed it meant. What followed ? Ere a week o’erwent,
A bank of clouds upon the neighbouring hills
Burst, and came down in rain ; The Brook e’en higher than the river fills
;
Was then, alas, the mild Brook’s promise vain ? Above the banks the Brook’s now turgid stream
Boils, rages, twists its soiled foam into balls, As ‘neath its fury falls
Full many an aged oak that safe did seem : A crash is o’er the distance heard,
And lo—the shepherd, for whom late was stirred
The Brook’s compassion, to the river pleading
Scarce artlessly but well, Perished with all his flock, crushed, drowned, and
bleeding,
And of his hut all trace bore off the torrent’s swell. How many a brook there is, that mildly flows,
And whose sweet gurgling to the heart straight goes, Only through this—th,at not A good supply of water it has got
!
— —
[Kriloff is said to have been particularly pleased with
this fable, and his being so accords with all that we know
of his character.]