Gandhi narrated to a colleague an incident that had happened the night before. “Yesterday I could not sleep till late night,” he said. “When I went to sleep last night, I heard sounds coming from the fence on the rear side. When I looked, I saw something that looked like a serpent and I naturally thought it was a snake.” “Did you call the warder to kill it?” the colleague interrupted. “If I had called him, he would have definitely killed the serpent.”
I thought that, if the serpent came inside and bit me, with regards to my life I wouldn’t mind, therefore I took a decision not to call the warder. Later on though I thought what if it was a poisonous snake and instead of biting me, it bites the warder and he dies?, and that I was not going to allow it to happen. If I don’t tell the warder, his life would be in danger and if I tell the warder then the warder will kill it.”
Gandhi continued, “I was confused and then the moon rose in the sky and the brightness of the moonlight spread over the fence. Then I saw that the serpent was not a snake, but a lizard. Thereafter, I went to sleep.” The colleague smiled at the happy ending of his story, but then asked, “What is wrong in killing a poisonous snake, which can be dangerous to people?”
Moral – Gandhi told him that as much as we love our own lives, likewise animals love their own. True ‘Ahinsa’ the practice of respecting the life of all living beings, even the smallest ones such as insects is practiced when one should not kill animals out of fear of being harmed.
Mahatma Gandhi Short Stories in English
Bapu was in Orrisa for the Khadi movement (boycotting foreign goods including cotton and promoting Indian goods.) He addressed a meeting there and after the meeting was over, an old woman came to see him. She had gray hair and a hump. Her clothes and overall appearance indicated that she was very poor.
She struggled with the volunteers before reaching Gandhi and touching his feet. “I wanted to see you,” she said and took out a copper coin and placed it on Gandhi’s feet. He picked up the coin and carefully put it away. The responsibility of managing all funds for the movement was under the charge of his associate Jamnalal Bajaj. Bajaj, who had witnessed the scene, later on asked Gandhi for the coin. But Gandhi refused.
“I handle Charkha Sangh’s cheques worth lakhs [thousands] of rupees and yet you won’t trust me with this petty coin?” Bajaj exclaimed. Gandhi then replied, “This pity coin is worth lakhs of rupees too. If a person has several lakhs [thousands] of rupees and gives a thousand rupees to someone there’s nothing extraordinary about it.
But this coin from the poor old lady is worth much more. Just imagine how generous she is, giving away such a big part of her fortune! What a great sacrifice she has made. That is why I value this copper coin more than a crore [millions] of rupees.”