ONCE upon a time two brothers lived in one village; one was a potter and the other was a drum-maker.
One day the potter found some beautiful clay, and he brought it home and prepared it carefully until it was as fine as powder, and he mixed the clay very smoothly with water, and made it into a cooking-pot, large and smooth and round, and he made an ornamental border round the edge, and put fresh grass down in his courtyard and left the pot to dry in the sun.
When the cooking-pot was dry he baked it in a kiln, very carefully seeing that the fire was not too hot, and when he took it out of the kiln it was the most beautiful cooking-pot he had ever made. Meanwhile his brother, the drum-maker, had been at work. He found a log of good wood, and hollowed it out and shaped it with an adze, and smoothed the wood with rough sandpaper leaves.
Then he bought a beautiful cow-skin and stretched a piece over the top, and another piece over the bottom, and joined the pieces together with long strips of twisted hide, and when it was finished it was the most beautiful drum he had ever made.
The two brothers rejoiced very much over their work, and their friends rejoiced, too, and said:
"These things are fit for a King." And the cooking-pot and the drum heard what was said, and because they were foolish creatures they were very much flattered, as though the credit of being beautiful was all their own, and they became so vain and silly that at last they quarrelled as to which was the most beautiful, and none of their friends could decide between them.
Now a very mischievous monkey was passing by and heard them quarrelling, and inquired the cause.
So they told him, and he said:
"If I decide this case will you abide by my judgment?" And they both promised:
"What you say shall be law."
So the monkey said: "Make a fire and put the drum on it, and beat the cooking-pot with drumsticks, and then you will see which is the most beautiful." And when they did this the cooking-pot broke in pieces and the drum shrivelled up and was burnt.
When the monkey saw what was done he danced for joy and shouted, but the two brothers returned while he was still doing this, and they were very angry and speared him, for they saw that it was his mischievous advice which had spoilt all their beautiful work.
This story has a moral, but you must find that out for yourself.