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The Eye of the Beholder

In the holy city of Prayag the clear waters of the Ganga merge with the dark waters of the Jamuna. Creatures from both rivers are found in abundance criss-crossing this place where many a pilgrim comes to pray.

A large fish from the Ganga was seen one day swishing its golden tail in the waters of Prayag. It rolled its beautiful black eyes in anticipation of insects that swam on the surface. Leaping into the air the scales of the fish reflected the rays of the sun like miniature mirrors. Soon a dainty fish from the Jamuna came upon the scene. The silvery streamlined body of this creature wiggled in and out of the river plants like a streak of lightning. Both of them looked admiringly at each other. The Ganga fish remarked, “Oh you are so beautiful.” The Jamuna fish shook its head high and replied, “You too are endowed with great beauty.” The Ganga fish added, “Yes. Yes. I know I am beautiful. The fact is that I am more beautiful than you.” The Jamuna fish blew angrily a few bubbles into the water. “There is no comparison between our beauty. Look at the way other fish look at me. That should prove to you who is prettier.” The two ended up in a quarrel. Rubbing tails and fins, darting to and fro, they expressed their disagreements.

A gigantic turtle from the Jamuna was seen spreading itself on the ghats. The Jamuna fish decided to take the case to a third person. The Ganga fish followed. “Sir,” said the Jamuna fish. “The two of us cannot decide on who is more beautiful. Perhaps You can do this.” “I shall officiate gladly as judge,” said the turtle. He took a hard look at both of them and remarked to their chagrin. “Look here! The two of you lack a beautiful shell. There are no feet for you to walk on land. You do not even possess a neck like mine that can easily protrude out and hide within when needed. You do not have a single feature that I consider as a mark of beauty. Therefore I have to declare both of you as truly very ugly!”

Om Muni Muni MAHAmuniye Svaha