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حكايات كليلة و دمنة - The Tales of Kalila and Dimna 1# - The Lark and the Elephant

Kalila and Dimna is a really old book dating back to the 6th century! It was originally written in Sanskrit and has Indian roots, but at around the 8th century it was translated into Arabic and made famous through Arabic. It has spread ever since, into Spanish [through Muslim rule of Spain], Italian, English [of course], French and many more.

When I say famous, I kinda laugh because I’m sure anyone reading this right now hasn’t ever heard of it before but it’s a well-known book in Arabia for sure!

Well what’s it even about? It’s a collection of fables that have a moral behind them, fixed into the plot of a fable with a moral. Get it? :o

So the main story is the tale of two jackals, one [in the Arabic version] called Kalila and the other called Dimna. Now Kalila is like the “better” jackal, but you know all jackals are bad in the stories [for some reason] so Kalila isn’t exactly the perfect guy and so he dies in the end [oops spoiler alert! XD]. Dimna is the typical bad, sneaky [also dead] jackal and so basically Kalila will often tell Dimna a tale with a moral behind it every time Dimna does something stupid [which is like a hundred times if you look at how many tales there are]. There are also other characters in the story which also tell each other tales and we’re here eating popcorn.

Now, I’m not gonna tell you the plot and everything because I don’t want to spoil it for you guys ;p .I’m just going to be posting a tale that Kalila tells Dimna in Arabic, and my translation in English, every now and then to whoever wants to read it. I know that this wouldn’t be so beneficial for those who are beginners, but rather those who are advanced, so I’ve also picked out a few more challenging words from the text that they can learn. If you’re just here to read the English, you’re welcome, and if you already know Arabic and want to read then “مرحبا بك”:

القبرة و الفيل

عششت قبرة على طريق فيل، فمر الفيل في يوم من الأيام و مشى على العش فكسر البيض و قتل الفراخ التي فيه. فلما رأت القبرة ما حدث لبيضها، عرفت أنا الفيل هو الذي كسره. فطارت و وقفت على رأسه و هي تبكي، و قالت: "أيها الفيل العظيم، لماذا كسرت بيضي و قتلت فراخي و أنا جارتك؟ هل فعلت ذالك لأنك قوي و أنا ضعيفة؟" قال الفيل: "نعم، هذا هو السبب

تركته القبرة و ذهبت إلى الطيور الأخرى و أخبرتها بما حدث. فسألتها الطيور: "و ماذا نقدر أن نعمل للإنتقام من الفيل و نحن طيور ضعيفة؟" فطلبت من الغربان أن تنقر عيني الفيل. فذهبت الغربان و نقرت عينيه، و صار أعمى؛ لا يرى طريقه إلى مأكله و مشربه. ثم ذهبت إلى غدير فيه ضفادع كثيرة، و أخبرتها بما فعل الفيل ببيضها، و طلبت منها أن تذهب إلى حفرة كبيرة و تنق فيها بصوت عال حتى يسمعها الفيل و يظن أن في الحفرة ماء و يذهب ليشرب. فذهبت الضفادع و تجمعت في الحفرة و بدأت تنق. عندما سمع الفيل نقيقها، ذهب إلى الحفرة من شدة العطش فوقع فيها

ثم جاءت القبرة و وقفت على رأسه و قالت له: "أيها الظالم المغرور، لقد احتقرتني و قتلت فراخي و إعتقدت أنني ضعيفة و لا أقدر على الانتقام منك. أنظر إلى حالك الآن!"

[قبرة = A lark]

[غدير = pond]

[تنق = to croak]

The Lark and the Elephant

A lark nested in the path of an elephant, and so one day the elephant passed by and walked on the nest, breaking the eggs and killing the chicks inside. When the lark saw what had happened to her eggs, she knew that the elephant was the one who broke them. So, she flew and stood on his head, crying, and said: “O’ Great Elephant, why did you break my eggs and kill my chicks and I am your neighbour? Did you do that because you are strong and I am weak?” The elephant said: “Yes, that is the reason”.

The lark left him and went to the other birds and told them what had happened. So, the birds asked her: “And what can we do to avenge the elephant and we are weak birds?” So, she asked the ravens to peck at the elephant’s eyes. And so the ravens went and pecked at his eyes, and he became blind; unable to see his way to his food and water. Then she went to a pond, that had a lot of frogs, and told them what the elephant did with her eggs, and asked them to go to a big hole and croak inside it, in a loud voice so that the elephant hears them and thinks there is water in the hole and goes to drink. So, the frogs went and gathered in the hole and began to croak. When the elephant heard their croaks, he went to the hole, of severity of thirst, and fell inside it.

Then the lark came and stood on his head and said to him: “You arrogant oppressor, you have treated me with contempt and killed my chicks and thought that I was weak and unable to avenge you. Look at yourself now!”

The END.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first tale in the collection! :D I also want to note that there are multiple versions of the mini tales, but this was one I had access to in Arabic.

  • Sorry for the left to right problem :/

Any other problems, please feel free to comment below and I’ll try to fix them ;)

July 26, 2019



Very interesting Arabic tale! Thanks for this post. I learned not to let elephants near eggs. LOL


Like you're ever going to own an elephant anyways XD That'd be cool tho ;D No problem at all! ;) [ who am I lying to? ;p it took me forever to retype the tale in Arabic while looking at the book at the same time]


When you wrote lark in Arabic, I kept seeing cow. Time to get my eyes checked out.

I've never heard of this story because I've never really heard of that many stories apart from the ones my parents tell me[they're weird]. Thanks a lot!


XD LOL well at least it's close! I kept accidently typing [قبر] "grave" instead ;p

It is an old story so I wouldn't be surprised at all XD It dates back to... 756 AD! But that's the original Sanskrit one.

You're welcome :)


Must've taken a long time. XD

It's freezing today and it's given me a bad cold. Guess that boat ride down the Thames has to wait a while.

When are you leaving for Libya though?????


Yup! And flipping back to the page in my book and reading the next word and typing it up then realising someone left the window open and the page has disappeared and I find it again and type the same mistake I made 2 secs ago and typing it again XD

اتمنى ان تتحسني قريبا :) Boat ride? Lucky! I went city centre yesterday and I came back with aching feet and a headache XD and no clothes.

MMmmm 18 days? Maybe? I'm planning to miss a few days off the beginning of next year YESS! ;D Anyways it's only a 3 week "holiday" cus my dad doesn't have a long holiday sooo phew! Less days of getting strangled by aunties ;p and aunties debating on your value -.-



Boat ride. Lucky????????? No not too lucky when you're afraid you're gonna drown.


Enjoy the boat ride! Those are really fun! I went on one last year with some friends and we did water tubing as well (Basically they were pulling a circular float behind their boat going as fast as they wanted to try to knock us off.) and that was really fun(ny)


Okay I will just cause you two said but it's not gonna be my fault when I drown and die.


You'll be fine! ;p I went on a boat ride with my dad driving it and we survived XD It was really fun! Especially when it goes over some waves!


Wow, the tale was easy for me to read because I hear Arabic at home (Sudanese). Still I feel like I learned somethings from the Arabic duo.


:D Cool! I'm glad you were able to read it easily. I don't think Sudanese dialect is that far from MSA, right? [well in comparison to Moroccan for example]

Yes, the Arabic Duo isn't bad for a BETA :)


Yeah not by much, if I could understand and read the story then my parents could read it 100x easier


didn't see you post for a long time ago.. great idea! thank you! have lingots ^^


*عرفت أنّ الفيل هو الذي كسره

*اعتقدت not إعتقدت


Lingots battle! ^-^


Don't you just HATE having to press 30 times? XD


:O My hand almost fell off from pressing XD They should change this! It's actually annoying when that pop-up comes up every time you press


Lingot battles?!

(I just got back from music boot camp so my reflexes should be good for this.) LOL



Sister Sassy & Savage Sousou VS Crunchy Andres!

YA? :D


I forgot about this completely XD Anyways, Andres lost badly :3

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