Wednesday, March 6, 2013



When I was a small boy someone told me a fable.

It was an apocryphal teaching story of an Arab and his Camel.

I remember this insightful fable even today and the “moral of the story” I try to apply in my life whenever the need arises.


It was a cold winter night.

An Arab was resting in his tent.

He had tied his Camel outside.

Suddenly his camel peeped inside the tent.

“What is it?” the Arab asked.

“Master, it is very cold outside. Please allow me to put my head inside your tent,” the Camel said.

The kind master took pity on the poor animal and agreed to the camel’s request.

The camel put his head inside the tent.

A little later, the camel asked, “Master, my neck feels very cold. Please let me put my neck inside your tent as well.”

Once again the master allowed him to do so.

Next, the camel asked if he could put his forelegs inside the tent.

Once again the compassionate master agreed.

This went on and on and very soon the entire camel was completely inside the tent.

But now the tent was too small for both the master and the camel.

They both struggled to remain inside the overcrowded tent.

There was a scuffle and the much stronger and bigger camel pushed his master out of the tent.

Now the Camel slept comfortably in the warm tent while his Master shivered outside in the freezing cold.


You should be careful before you extend your hospitality lest your guests take undue advantage of your magnanimity and generosity.

This fable teaches us lessons at both the macro as well as micro levels.

Let us see a “macro level paradigm” ramification.

Suppose there is a war ravaged or strife torn country where there is so much violence that the life of citizens is in danger.

As a humanitarian gesture, a benevolent neighbouring country may open its borders to allow refugees to come in and live in safety.

Some countries may allow immigration of foreigners as a gesture of goodwill.

In other cases illegal immigrants may enter another country and settle down there and the “host” country may be charitable not to deport them. 

Many “magnanimous” countries have such “guests”.

Now like the “Camel” in the story the “guests” may soon throw out the “host” from his own “tent”.

Even if they don’t evict the “host” out of his “tent” these “guests” may make life uncomfortable for the “host” in his own “tent” just like the Camel did to the kind hearted Arab during the fable before pushing him out of the tent.

At a micro level this can happen in your own home.

I have seen so many “guests” who overstay their welcome and so many who take undue advantage of the magnanimity of their “hosts”.


I have seen a case where a benevolent big-hearted person rented out his new locked-up house to a friend who was in dire need.

The owner was in a transferable job and served all over India while his friend stayed as a tenant in his house.

Many years later, when the house owner retired and wanted to settle in his own house the ungrateful tenant refused to vacate and the hapless owner had to live on rent in another house.


I have heard a story, maybe apocryphal, where a compassionate caring kind-hearted woman invited a cousin sister to live with her, since the newly arrived cousin sister was finding it difficult to find an accommodation in the city where she had found her first job.

The scheming cousin sister responded by seducing and stealing the woman’s husband.

Finally, the wily cousin sister settled down with the woman’s husband and the hapless kind-hearted woman was turned out of her own house.


This fable has a lesson to all of us that you must not be too magnanimous and over generous in extending your hospitality.

Be careful, otherwise there is a danger that you may become a “guest” in your own “homes”.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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