The Lion and The Jackal

In the Dandaka forest was a lion which was in the habit of attacking and consuming all the beasts thereof. To rid themselves from the constant fear in which they were kept on his approach, all the other animals proposed to supply the lion with an animal a day if it would not attack them any longer. This promise was agreed to, and kept up for some time. Some time after, it fell to the lot of a fox to be sent to the lion, who, by no means relishing the idea of being devoured, walked slowly along, thinking all the while of some plan by which to put an end to the lion and save his own life. The lion, not finding the animal at the proper moment, was very much enraged, and insisted upon an explanation of the delay.

The fox rejoined, “Sir, another fox was sent under my charge by all the animals of the forest as an offering for you, but on the road I met another lion, who took away your meal, and told me to tell you of it.” The lion ordered the fox to take him instantly to the place of his enemy. The cunning fox took the lion to the side of a well, and, saying that the other lion was in it, begged the lion to take him in his arms that he might also have a peep into the well. When the lion saw the reflection of himself in the waters with the fox in his arms, he instantly came to the conclusion that he was looking on his enemy; and having let the fox drop, made a furious leap into the well and immediately perished.

Image Attribution: The image above, sourced from Wikimedia Commons, shows a golden jackal (Canis aureus) in Powalgarh, Uttarakhand. It was uploaded by Soumyajit Nandy.

References:

  • Folk-lore of the Telugus by GR Subramiah Pantulu (1919)