Kid’s Stories, Hitopadesha Tales – The Wily Jackal
Good friends are had to come by.
Once there was a big and strong bull, who lived in a village. The bull loved to roam around a lot. Once he roamed out of the village and entered a nearby forest. After looking around a while, the bull decided to return home, but it was not to be, because he had lost his way. He stayed on in the forest.
One day, while roaming in the forest, he saw green grass and leafy bushes growing around a pond. He grazed on the grass happily and ate the soft leaves and bushes to his fill. He felt fresh and let out a loud bellow. At the same moment, the king of the forest, the lion, had come to drink water at the pond. The bull’s loud booming voice echoed through the forest. This frightened the lion. He thought…
Lion: It seems some strange and big creature is hidden nearby. He must be very strong to have such a loud voice. I must hurry away before he comes upon me.
So the frightened lion went away from the pond without drinking water. As he ran back in fear, two jackals saw the lion run in fear. They realized that the mighty lion was frightened of something.
First jackal: I think our mighty king has been frightened by something. So he is running back without quenching his thirst at the pond.
Second jackal: Yes, you are correct. I think we have a chance now, to impress the lion with our intelligence. If we do it, we can earn a position as ministers of the king.
First jackal: Yes, you are right and I already have a plan to do just that. Wait and see.
With these words, the two jackals left to meet the lion. When the jackals reached the den of the lion, they saw the lion sitting inside his den breathing heavily and looking around in fear. The jackals bowed low to the king and said…
First jackal: Your majesty, here I am, your humble servant. I seek your kind permission to pose a question to you.
Lion: Yes, jackal, just proceed. What do you want to know from me?
First jackal: Your majesty, you are a brave and strong king. But I saw you a while ago as you ran away from the pond without drinking a drop of water. Am I wrong to think that you were frightened of somebody?
Lion: Yes, dear jackal, you are right in thinking that I was frightened. As I started to drink the water at the pond, I heard a loud, strange and fearful sound that I had never heard before in my whole life. I believe it must be a big and strong unknown animal that is now in our forest.
Oh! That fearful voice! I heard it, too, your majesty. It was a large bellowing of a bull. Don’t worry. I will bring him here to meet you.
Lion: Ok, come back along with the bull.
Jackals: Yes, your majesty.
On meeting and talking to each other, the bull and the lion became good friends. The bull started living with the king and became his trusted advisor and guide. The two jackals were surprised to see that the bull had become the lion’s best friend and advisor. Now the jackals were jealous. They made a wicked plan. One of the jackals went to the lion and said
First jackal: Your majesty, I am your humble servant. I cannot see anyone thinking of harming you. You trust the bull too much but he speaks ill of you in your absence. You must learn that he intends to become the king of the forest, once he gets rid of you. I heard this from him and so came to tell you all about it.
Lion: Is that so! But I do not believe you at all.
Second jackal: Your majesty, he has not shown his true character to you. I merely did my duty by warning you. The rest is all up to you.
Lion: Thanks to you my friends. Thanks for this information but I must confirm this somehow.
First jackal: Your majesty, when you see him charging at you with his lowered head trying to butt you with his sharp horns, you will know that he wants to kill you.
The lion slowly started believing the jackal’s words.
Then the two wicked jackals went to the bull and said
First jackal: Dear friend, I am a humble servant of the lion king but I have something to tell you. You are his best friend and advisor. I have come to warn you against him. He is waiting to kill you and eat you. He is acting as your friend to win your trust. But at the first chance he gets, he will surely attack and kill you.
Go away, you liar! My friend can never think of such things about me.
Second jackal: You can make sure of this when he looks at you ferociously with his mouth wide open as he snarls and jumps at you. After that, you must fight to save your life. Why don’t you get ready now itself?
At these encouraging words, the bull was filled with anger. In full rage and with great strength, he charged towards the lion’s den. The cunning jackal took a shortcut to the lion’s den and told him that the bull was coming to attack him. When the bull neared the lion’s den, he saw the angry lion in his attacking posture. Both the foolish friends now thought that the jackal’s word had been true. So they rushed at each other with vengeance. A violent fight followed and, at last, the bull lay dead. Thus, the wicked jackals ended a beautiful friendship. The lion made the jackals his important ministers, as a favor for saving him from an unfaithful friend. At last, the jackals got what they wanted but the lion never realized what he had lost.
Children, do you understand the moral of this story? A good friend is difficult to find but easy to lose. So never have any misunderstandings with your friends.