The Jackal and The Drum - Panchatantra Stories

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Once upon a time, there was a jackal called Gomay. One day, he was very hungry. He wandered about in search of food. At last, he came to a battlefield. The fighting armies had left behind a drum, lying near some creepers. Because of a strong wind, the creepers were rubbing against the drum and making a noise.

The jackal heard this, he got frightened and thought to himself, “Unless I can make myself scarce before whoever is making this noise sees me, I am done for. But then, it is unwise to desert one’s house suddenly, so instead, I must try to find out who is making this type of noise.”

He with all his courage crept forward and he realized that it was only a drum. He continued his search and nearby he found sufficient food to last him a long time.

“And, so you see,” Damanak went on, “you shouldn’t be afraid of a mere noise.”

“How can I be brave,” said Pingalak, “when my whole court is trembling with fight and wants to get away from here?”

“Lord said,” Damanak, “servants should not be held responsible for they only follow their master’s example. So be brave and wait here patiently until I return. I am going to find out the noise.”

“Are you brave enough to go?” asked Pingalak.

“Certainly,” said Damanak, and Damanak bowed before the king and set out, following the noise made by Sanjivak.

After the jackal had gone Pingalak got frightened. He began to think to himself, “I have made a mistake in confiding my intentions to him. As deprived him of his position, he may join hands with my enemy and thus revenge himself on me. And so I shall hide somewhere so as to find out what he is up to and to make sure that he does not lead my enemy straight here to kill me.

Thinking thus Pingalak took off and waited anxiously for Damanak return.

Damanak went near to Sanjivak was, and realized that it was only a bullock, making the noise.

He was overjoyed, thinking to himself, This is a lucky omen-now I shall have Pingalak under my thumb because I have the power to make him and this bullock friends or enemies, whichever I choose.

With these thoughts, Damanak returned and came to Bowing before him, he said “With your good favor I have seen him,” replied Damanak.

Pingalaka asked, “Are you telling the truth?”

How can I dare to lie before you Sir? said Damanak.

“So, its true?” said Pingalak, “You have seen him. The great do not assert themselves against weaklings, that’s why he did not kill you.”

“Well, however great he may be, and however helpless we seem by comparison,” said Damanak, “Just say the word and I will make him your servant!”

Pingalak breathed a sigh of relief and asked “Could you really do that?”

“What is impossible for a man of intelligence?” replied

“Well,” said Pingalak, “if that is the matter then. I appoint you my minister immediately from this very day.”

Damanak took his leave and went straight to Sanjivak. He began to scold him, “Despicable bullock! Aren’t you afraid of your master Pinagalak that you bellow at such odd hours? Come with me. My master Pingalak has summoned you.”

Sanjivak heard, this he asked, “My dear jackal who is this Pingalak?”

“What!” exclaimed Damanak. “You haven’t heard of Pingalak? Just you wait, you’ll get to know him alright soon! He is over there, sitting under the tree, surrounded by his retinue.”

When Sanjivak heard this, he thought that his end had come and his heart sank.

Frightenedly he said to Damanak, “My friend, you seem sympathetic and an expert in the art of conversation. If you want to take me to the lion, get me a guarantee that my life will be safe.”

“You are right, said Damanak - It is said that a man can reach the ends of the earth or the depths of the sea or the tops of the mountains, but none can fathom the deep thoughts of a king.’ “So wait here. I shall take you to him when the ripe time will come.”

Then Damanak returned to Pingalak and said, “My Lord, he is not an ordinary animal. He is an ox and a special mount of Shiva. When I asked him he explained to me, ‘My Lord Shiva was very pleased with me and gave me leave to enjoy the tender grass of the river Yamuna. And Lord Shiva said that the whole jungle should be my playground’.”

“Now I know the truth!” exclaimed Pingalak terrified. “How else could a grass-eating animal wander fearlessly in a jungle full of dangerous beasts, except he had the blessings of Lord Shiva. But what did you say to him when you heard that?”

“Master,” said Damanak, “I told him, ‘This jungle has already been presented to our master by the goddess Durga, whose mount he is. But, all the same, you are welcome. Come and stay with king Pingalak as if you were his own brother, spend your time making merry with food and drink and games. He agreed but has requested that you should guarantee that his life will be safe.”

Hearing this Pingalak said, “Well done. You have acted exactly according to my wishes. I do assure him that his life shall be safe but get me a similar assurance from him too and bring him to immediately.”

Damanak bowed before Pingalak and, on his way to Sanjivak, he thought, “My master is very gracious towards me and is behaving exactly as I hoped.”

He reached Sanjivak, and said to him respectfully, “Dear sir, I made a request to my master that your life should be spared. He has promised so, accompany me. But when we arrive at the king’s place, you should respect me as much as you respect yourself.”

In this way, we can both enjoy good life. It is said that a man who, out of pride, does not properly handle the high, the middle and the low, shall be ruined, as Dantil was ruined, even though he was the favorite of the king’.”

On this Sanjivak asked, “Who was this Dantil?! asked Sanjivak. And Damanak told him - The Story of Dantil.

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