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Tibetan Folk Tales, by A.L. Shelton, [1925], at

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The Three Friends

The man who agrees with every one and has no opinion of his own is like a horse who with a bridle is driven in every direction.
                       Tibetan Proverb.

ONCE, a long, long time ago, in a little mud village tucked in between the mountains, there lived three friends. Two of them were very rich, but one was poor. Nearly every week they went out to have a jolly time and always took food along with them and spent the day playing in the woods and talking together. The two that were rich always carried the lunch, but the poor one never brought anything at all. He was the biggest eater of the lot and would finish about everything left over from what the others had brought with them. So the two began to think of a scheme that just once they might get ahead of him.

One day, fixing up their lunch bags, they slipped away from him and followed the river around the mountain until they came to a nice shady place well hidden among the trees, and there decided to have their dinner and a good time without the other man. He hunted and hunted, but couldn't find them, and said, "They didn't tell me the truth to-day as to where they were going and I can't

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find them, but I expect they have gone down the river." So he said to his sister, "You get me a box quick, bring it here and put me in it and shove it out into the stream, and I'll float down the river and come to the place where they are hiding. They'll see the big box and think they have found something worth while, and will pull me out."

Sure enough, in about an hour, the rich men saw the big box come floating down and were very much excited. They got a rope, threw it over the box and drew it to the bank.

"I expect we have found something great," one of them said, and could hardly wait until, with stones and knives, they had the board off the top; but when they found the man they were running away from they were as angry as could be.

The poor man said, "What in the world did you pull me out for? Heretofore I have always eaten your food and had nothing to bring, until I was so ashamed I decided to drown myself and got in this box to do it. Now it's just my luck that you pulled me out. You have saved my life, so bring your food and I will help you eat it up. It is your own fault, for you pulled me out of the water; so we will eat good and full." He proceeded to do so, and as everything was finished, he remarked, "Well, when you have anything good to eat another time, just tell me about it and I won't trouble you to pull me out of the water again."

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