158. The Man in the Tree
A foolish man was stuck in a tree.
An elephant-driver riding an elephant came by. "I'll help you!" he said.
But when the elephant-driver reached up with his elephant-hook to grab the man in the tree, the elephant bolted.
Now the elephant-driver was dangling from the man in the tree.
"Let's sing loudly!" said the foolish man. "Someone will hear and come help."
The elephant-driver began to sing.
"Bravo! You're a good singer!" said the foolish man, and when he applauded, they both fell out of the tree and were killed.
If you want to help a fool, be careful.
Inspired by: The Ocean of Story by Somadeva, translated by C.H. Tawney: Volume 5.
Notes: This is Story 153. The original story explains that the fool had gotten stuck in the tree by literally following directions that someone had given him. Also, the tree in the story is by a river; when the men fall out of the tree, they fall into the river and drown. You can read about mahouts and their tools at Wikipedia.