The Hermit in the Forest

A hermit had retired to the forest, setting aside the cares of the world, and a piece of cloth was his only possession.
But rats came and nibbled holes in the cloth, so the hermit got a cat.
The cat needed milk, so the hermit acquired a cow.
To care for the cow, he employed a cowherd.
The cowherd wanted a house, so they built a house.
To clean the house, they employed a maid.
The maid was lonely living in the forest, so they built more houses.
The result was a village, and all the cares of the world.


Inspired by: Indian Fables by Ramaswami Raju.
Notes: This is one of the "chain tales" that appears in Stith Thompson's motif index. This painting, attributed to the Mughal artist Basawan, circa 1600, shows a Jain ascetic (Wikimedia):



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