The Lion and The Donkey - Panchatantra Stories

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In a jungle, there lived a lion, named of Karalakesar. He had a servant, a jackal named Dhusarak, who was his constant companion. Once the lion fought a very fierce battle with an elephant and his body was so severely wounded that he was unable to walk. And thus, Dhusarak too began to starve and become very weak.

“One day, he said to the lion, ‘Master! I am starving and I can’t even walk a single step. How then can I serve you’!”

Well, my friend, said the lion, go and search for an animal that I can kill even in my present condition.

Hearing this the jackal started on a search and arrived at a nearby village. There he noticed a lean donkey, by name Lambakaran, eating grass along the bank of the river with great difficulty.

The jackal approached the donkey and said, ‘Uncle! - Good day! I am seeing you after a long time. Tell me, why have you become so thin?’

‘Nophow!’ he replied. ‘What can I tell you? The cruel washerman, my master, tortures me with heavy burdens and never gives me so much as a handful of clean grass. So I have to eat this grass, mixed with dust. How then I can become healthy.’

‘Uncle!’ replied the jackal. ‘If that’s the case, then I know a very pleasant place where the grass is as green as emerald. Come along with me and you can stay there. We will pass our days happily.’

‘Nephew!’ said the donkey. ‘How nice of you to say so! But we are easily killed by jungle animals.

‘Uncles,’ said the jackal, ‘Please don’t talk like that. That part of the country is well protected by my powerful claws. No other animal dared enter there! For the very same reason, because they were being tortured by their masters, three she-donkeys are living there too. They are young and well-fed. They said to me, “If you are really our uncle, please find us some suitable husband in one of the villages.” That’s why I am taking you there.

When the donkey heard the jackal’s words, he was fired with lust and said, ‘Well, if that’s the case, you go ahead and I’ll follow you.

Enticed in this way, the donkey went with the jackal to the lion. As soon as the suffering lion saw the donkey, he got up and tried to strike him with his paw, but missed. And the donkey ran for his life.

When the donkey had gone, the jackal said angrily of the lion, ‘Is that the way you aim a blow! Even a donkey can escape from you. So, how could you fight an elephant?’

‘The lion said, ‘What could I do? I wasn’t ready to attack him, otherwise even an elephant would not escape me.’

‘Well,’ said the jackal, ‘I will bring him to your presence once more, but this time stay on the alert to attack him.’

‘My dear fellow’ said the lion, ‘how will he come back, when he actually saw me and ran away? Please find some other animal.’

‘What’s that to do with you?’ said the jackal. ‘All you have to do is to stay ready to attack.’

“The jackal followed the donkey’s trail and saw him grazing in the same place. When the donkey saw the jackal, he cried, Nephew! You took me to a really nice place! I nearly fell into the jaws of death! Tell me, who was that animal whose lighting blows I so narrowly escaped?’ The jackal said with a smile, ‘Uncle! It was a female donkey, who wanted to embrace you when she saw you. But you, like a coward, ran away. So, come on now. She has said that she will starve herself to death because of you. If Lambakaran does not become my husband,” she told me, “I shall burn myself in fire or drown myself in water. So please come to her or you will be responsible for the death of a female.

The donkey was once again coaxed into going with the jackal. This time, the lion was lying in wait for him and thus the donkey was killed.

Afterward, the lion asked the jackal to guard the donkey and went to the river to take a bath.

The jackal could not control his hunger and ate up the donkey’s heart and ears. “When the lion returned from taking his bath and worshipping the gods and his forefathers, he found that the donkey’s heart and the ears were missing.

He turned on the jackal angrily and said, ‘You Rascle! What have you done? You have polluted my food by eating his heart and ears.’

‘Please, master,’ said the jackal, ‘don’t speak to me like that. This donkey had no heart or ears. Otherwise, how would he have come back after once seeing you?’

On this lion believed him. He had his fill of the donkey and left the rest to the jackal. And so, continued the monkey, “that’s why I said - He came, then ran away, when he saw the prowess of the lion, but fool that he was, without heart or ears. He came back once again and was killed.” “And you too are a fool,” monkey went on. “You wore out to deceive me.” Just like Yudhisthir, the potter.

“How was that?” asked the crocodile. Hearing this the monkey told this story. THE STORY OF THE POTTER

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