The Lion and The Jackal - Panchatantra Stories

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In a jungle, there lived a lion Vajradaunstar. A jackal called Chaturak and a wolf called Kravyamukh were his attendants.

One day, an expectant female camel, who was in labor pains, was left behind there in the jungle, she fell a prey to the lion.

When he had torn off her womb, a little baby camel came out.

The Lion and the other animals fed themselves on the female camel’s flesh and were all very content.

The lion spared the young camel and brought him home alive.

He said to him, ‘Little camel, you have nothing to either from me or from anyone else, so live fearlessly in the jungle, just as you please. We’ll call you as Shankukaran.

Thus the four of them began to live together very happily. They entertained one another telling stories.

“Shankukaran began to grow up but he would never leave the lion even for a moment.

“One day, the lion had a fight with a wild elephant. The elephant wounded the lion so badly with his tusks that Vajradaunstar was unable even to walk. Exhausted with hunger, he said to the others, ‘Look for some animal that I can kill, even in this condition, so that your hunger and mine can be satisfied?

The jackal; the wolf, and the camel, wandered in the jungle until evening, but they could not find any animal at all. They returned empty-handed. “Chaturak the jackal began to think, ‘If the lion would only kill Shankukaran, then we could all feed on him for a couple of days. But our master will not kill him, because he has given him the assurance that his life will be safe here. However, with the help of my wits, I shall influence the camel in such a way that he will offer himself, of his own accord, to the lion - There is nothing in this world that a clever man can’t achieve. So a wise man should make the most of his wits.” with this thought Chaturak approached the camel and said to him, Shankukaran! the Master is dying of hunger. If he does die, we too shall be destroyed. So I am going to tell you how you could be useful to him.

Do tell me, said Shankukaran, and I shall attend to it quickly. How I can serve my master.

Then friend, said the jackal, you should offer your body to the master to save his life, and for this sacrifice, the master will guarantee that you will be given a body, twice your present size, in your next life.’

‘Very well then,’ replied Shankukaran, ‘I agree.’

“Then all the animals went to the lion and said, "Master! The sun has already gone down and we have still not been able to find any animals. But if you will guarantee that Shankukaran will have a body twice his present size in the next life, then he is prepared to offer himself to you as a holy sacrifice.’

Indeed, I do promise that it shall be so/ replied the lion.

Hardly had he uttered these words when the wolf and the jackal fell upon the camel and tore up his body, the lion said to the jackal, ‘Chaturak! Watch this carcass carefully while I go to the river for a bath and worship the gods.’

And the lion went off. When he had gone, the jackal thought to himself, ‘How can I contrive to enjoy this carcass all to myself?

He thought about it for a little while, then he hit upon a plan. He said to the wolf, You’re hungry, aren’t you? Until the master comes back, have a few mouthfuls of this camel’s flesh. I’ll make up a story to tell him, as an excuse, when he returns.’

But the wolf had hardly begun to eat, when the jackal shouted, ‘Look out, Kravymukh! Here’s the master coming back! Leave it alone! Get away from it!’

The wolf immediately stopped eating. When the lion arrived, he saw that the camel’s heart had been removed.

He frowned and said angrily, ‘Who has contaminated my food? Tell me his name and I shall kill him on the spot!’

The wolf started looking at the jackal. “But the jackal only smiled and said to the wolf. ‘You ate the heart when I told you not to. Now enjoy the fruit of what you have done.’ When the wolf heard this, he was afraid for his life and took to his heels.

At this point, a caravan, heavily loaded, was coming along the same path. The leading camel had a large bell round his neck.

The lion heard the jingling sound in the distance, he said to the jackal, ‘Go and see where this terrifying noise is coming from. I’ve never heard it before.’

“The jackal went a little way off, then returned and said, ‘Master! Leave this place as quickly as you can, if you want to stay alive!’

‘Friend,’ said the lion, "why are you frightening me? Tell me, what is it?’

‘Master,’ said the jackal, The God of death is very angry with you, because you have killed a camel before the hour appointed for his death. He has come personally and has brought with him the father and grandfather of the dead camel, to have revenge on you, and the noise you hear, comes from the bell that he has tied round the leading camel’s neck.’

When the lion saw the caravan approaching, he left off eating the camel and ran for his life.

After that, the jackal ate the camel’s flesh all to himself and it lasted him for many days.

Moral of The Story “And so,” continued Damanak, “that’s why I said, ‘A cunning man, even at the cost of tormenting others, artfully looks after his own interests and keeps his plans a secret, as Chaturak the jackal did in the jangle’.”

After Damanak had left, Sanjivak started thinking, “I’m a grass-eater, but I have become the follower of a flesh-eater. What shall I do? Where shall I do? How can I get back my peace of mind? Perhaps if I go to Pingalak and humbly beg for my life, he may not kill me, then again, suppose I leave this place and go somewhere else...? But no, then some other flesh-eater will kill me. I think it is better to go to the lion.”

Having made up his mind, Sanjivak went slowly to the lion’s den.

He found Pingalak sitting in exactly the same attitude as Damanak had described.

So shocked was Sanjivak that he immediately backed away from the lion and stood, at a distance, without even bowing to him. And so it was that Pingalak too saw Sanjivak in the same attitude as Damanak had described.

So, he fell upon the bullock, tearing his back with his sharp claws.

Sanjivak pointed out his hands against Pingalak’s belly and stood, ready to fight.

When Karatak and Damanak saw the lion and the bullock thus confronting each other.

Karatak said to his brother, “You did wrong in creating enmity between these two. This proves that you don’t really know the ethics. ‘Only a man who can reach his goal through cunningness and intrigue, avoiding war, deserves to be a minister.’ “So if you are really shrewd, you must now find a way to bring this conflict to an end. Otherwise, both of them will be destroyed. “But what is the use of giving advice to a fool; no good comes of it, for, ‘Advice given to fools, instead of calming them, only makes them more excited.’ “That is what the bird found out when he gave advice to the monkey.”

“How was that?” asked Damanak. On this Karatak told this story. THE MONKEY AND A BIRD

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