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Tag: jackal

True Friends – A tale from Hitopadesha

Hitopadesha is said to have been written by a certain Pandit Narayana whose time period seems to be much later than Pandit Vishnu Sharma who gave us the Panchatantra. Pandit Narayana’s inspiration was from the Panchatantra and his stories are also somewhat similar to the Panchatantra stories. The story I am narrating comes under the section titled “Choice of Friends”.

Long ago, in the forests of Dandakaranya, there lived a deer named Hiran and a crow named Kakah who were thick friends. They used to meet every day and spend happy times together.

Once, a wily jackal by name, Shrugala, chanced to see the deer when he was grazing around.

“What a healthy deer he is!” thought Shrugala. “He would make a superb meal for me!” The very thought of relishing the deer’s flesh made him drool. But he was very greedy and so thought that he would make the deer fatter before he made him his prey. So he went and tried to befriend the deer.

“Hello Deer!” he called out. Hiran was surprised to see a jackal calling out to him with a smile on his face and so raised his head. Shrugala came nearer. “I want to be your friend. My name is Shrugala”.  

Hiran was confused and could not reply immediately and Shrugala went on. “You are wondering why I want to be your friend? Well I have heard elders say that the company you keep determines your character. And I know that all my friends are cunning and you are a simple straight forward deer and I admire your traits and want to become like you. So please accept me as your friend. We shall meet every day and spend the day together happily. By the way, what is your name?”

Hiran got flattered by the sweet words of Shrugala and nodded his head. “Okay! Shrugala, I will be your friend. Call me Hiran” said he. “Wait till my friend Kakah comes and I will introduce you to him. He will also be extremely happy to meet you”.

Kakah, however, was not at all pleased about Hiran’s new-found friendship. He chided Hiran. “How can you just accept somebody as your friend without knowing anything about them? You should always consider being friends with anybody only after knowing their nature” he said. He then told him the story of the Vulture and the cunning Cat which you can read by clicking here.

Shrugala became anxious that his grand plan would fail and so said to Kakah, “Well, even on the day you met Hiran, both of you were strangers to each other, but how is it that your friendship only grows stronger every day? Hiran has already accepted me as his friend and should not go back on his word.” With no other way, they accepted Shrugala in their group and they spent the days together. They used to find their own food and Shrugala always kept an eye on Hiran waiting for him to become fatter.

One day, after Kakah went in search of his food, Shrugala called Hiran. “Hiran, I have found a nice place for you to have tasty corn which you can eat to your heart’s content” said he, and took him to the field of a farmer at the edge of the forest. The field was full of lush corn crop ready to be harvested. Hiran was delighted. He thanked Shrugala for his good gesture and went to eat the corn. Day by day, eating the fresh corn, Hiran was becoming fatter and Shrugala was very happy to see this and waited for the right opportunity to strike.

As days passed, the farmer began to notice that the quantity of corn was reducing in one corner of his field and eventually found the culprit. He laid a net trap for him the next day in the field.

Hiran, unaware of the trap went merrily and got caught in the trap and suddenly found that he could not get out of there. He cried out aloud. “Shrugala!  Kakah!  please come and help me. I have been caught in a net” he shouted. The farmer’s house was a bit far off, from the field and he had not yet seen Hiran caught in the net.

Shrugala was lurking nearby behind some bushes and was waiting for the farmer to kill Hiran and thought that he could then pounce on the farmer and frighten him and take away Hiran’s body. But as time went by, the farmer also did not come out and see. So Shrugala went near Hiran, with a fake look of shock on his face, and started talking pitifully to Hiran.

Hiran on the other hand, was panicking and told Shrugala to somehow tear the net with his teeth and claws and set him free. “You are my good friend and a friend should always help another who is in need. Please help! Please!” he pleaded. Shrugala just did not bother and quietly slunk away much to Hiran’s anguish. He went and hid behind the bushes again waiting to see what would happen.

In a short while, thankfully Kakah arrived on the scene and he was really shocked to see his dear friend caught in a net.

“What happened Hiran? How did you get into this trap?” he asked with concern. Hiran told him how Shrugala had shown him this field and how Shrugala had refused to help now. Kakah was furious but he knew that saving Hiran was the priority and just at that time, he saw the farmer walking out of his house with a huge club in hand. He was coming towards the field.

Kakah thought fast and told Hiran, “Look, there is no time now. You lie down still and pretend to be dead. I will sit on you and pretend to peck your eyes. The farmer will think you are dead and when he removes the net, I will caw thrice and you get up and run for your life. We will catch up in the evening”.

Hiran agreed to Kakah’s idea and lay still. The farmer was coming nearer and he saw the crow sitting and pecking at the deer.

“Hmmm. He looks dead. Is he? Poor fellow! He must have died out of sheer fright” he mumbled to himself. “My effort is saved. I don’t need to unnecessarily kill this fellow. And I will get to eat fresh deer meat today Hahaha….”

He then shooed away Kakah. “Shoo, shoo” he shouted and Kakah went and perched on a nearby tree. The farmer carefully removed the net and turned to the other side to fold it since he thought the deer was dead anyway.

“Caw caw caw!” cried Kakah and the next moment Hiran was up on his fours and ran so fast even before the farmer realized what had happened. The farmer turned around and was furious that he had been outwitted. He saw Hiran run behind the bushes and raised his club and threw it with all force hoping that it would hit Hiran. It came and landed with a thud on Shrugala’s back instead, as Shrugala was hiding there.

With a shrieking howl, Shrugala ran out of the bushes limping with great difficulty as his back had almost been broken.

And he was never to be seen again near Hiran and Kakah!

The Talking Cave

This is again, a story from the Panchatantra. This is one of the stories told by the character Rakthaksha to his friends in the story Crows and owls.

Long long ago in the forests of Central India there lived a lion by name Kharanakara. He was very old and lately had not been able to hunt swiftly due to his old age and therefore remained hungry often. One day, as usual, he did not get any prey and he was angrily prowling about in the forests when he saw a cave.

“Ha, there is a cave. There should certainly be some animal in it. I shall go in and kill and eat the animal” Kharanakara thought to himself as he went into the cave.

Alas! There was no animal inside. It disappointed Kharanakara that there was no prey inside. However, he said to himself, “This cave must be the resting place of some animal and that animal will certainly come back at sunset. So, I shall wait here and kill it when it comes!” So thinking, he went to a dark corner and sat there waiting for the owner of the cave to return.

The cave was actually being occupied by a jackal by name Dadhipuchcha. Dadipuchcha had gone out in the day time and usually returned during sunset. That day also he was returning home by sunset when he suddenly noticed the pug marks of a lion leading to his cave. “Wait wait! What are these marks? Surely they are the marks made by the huge paws of a lion” he muttered to himself and walked towards the cave. Suddenly, he noticed that the marks were leading into the cave and no marks were coming out of the cave. He realised then, that the lion should be waiting inside and that he would be minced to pieces once he went in. He was in a fix and did not know what to do.

Suddenly, a brilliant idea struck him. He called out to the cave in a loud voice. “Hello Cave! Hope your day was fine. Can I come in please?”

Kharanakara who was inside was hearing the voice of Dadhipuchcha and was puzzled. “Strange! How can a cave talk?” he thought to himself.

Dadhipuchcha called out again, “Are you angry with me, cave? Why are you not replying to me?”

Kharanakara now started believing that the cave would answer. He waited. Dadhipuchcha again called out “O Cave! Do you not remember our agreement made on the day I moved in? Did I not tell you that the day you did not talk to me, I will move to another cave. Every day you have been answering me endearingly. What happened today my dear cave? Okay, if you will not answer now also, I will go away in search of another cave, Bye bye”

Kharanakara believed earnestly that the cave was not answering because he was inside and he being the King of the forest, the cave was also naturally frightened. Unwilling to let off his prey, Kharanakara decided to answer on behalf of the cave. “Come in dear!” he said in the sweetest voice he could put on. “Come in. I am waiting for you! How can I be angry with such a sweet being like you? Come in fast!”

The moment Dadhipuchcha heard the voice, his fears were confirmed that the lion was indeed inside waiting for him to go in and get killed. He took a last look at the cave and ran away as fast as he could and thus saved himself.

Therefore, one who anticipates a danger and acts to avert it survives and one who does not comes to grief.

 

The Blue Jackal

This is a story from the Panchatantra.

Long ago, there lived in the jungles of central India, a jackal by name Chandaraka. One day, Chandaraka did not get any prey in the jungle. Hunger drove him to the outskirts of the jungle and he entered the town.

Being new to the town, he was wandering aimlessly in search of some food, when a pack of dogs spotted him. They had not seen a jackal and so started chasing him. He ran and ran all over the town panting for breath and finally managed to enter the compound of a dyer. The dyer had kept a vat of indigo dye for his next batch of clothes and Chandaraka, in his hurry, tripped and fell over into the vat.

Startled and shaken to the core, Chandaraka managed to get out of the vat spluttering and spitting the blue dye. The dogs that had come chasing him saw this dreadful figure in blue and started running fast with their tails between their legs. “What is this? Why are the dogs running away from me?” thought Chandaraka to himself.

He looked at himself. He was totally blue from head to tail! He was ashamed and did not know what to do next. Slinking by the bushes, he slowly went back into the jungle. Another shock awaited him there. All the big animals like the lion, tiger and elephant stared at him at awe and started running away from him.

Just then Chandaraka got an excellent idea.

He called out to the animals, “Hey lion, tiger, elephant and all others! Here, I have come from the heavens to rule over you! Do not be afraid, I am your king”. The animals cautiously and curiously looked at him as he continued, “I am Kakadruma, your guardian and king, sent by the heavenly beings. I will take care of all of you as long as you all serve me faithfully”

The animals were confused and decided to submit themselves to this mysterious blue creature. Kakadruma said in a stern voice, “The lion will be my bodyguard, the tiger will be my Prime Minister and the elephant will be my door keeper! But all the jackals of this forest are banished from this moment. All jackals should get out of the jungle by tomorrow or all of you will earn my wrath!”

He was banishing the jackals as he feared they would find him out. Once the jackals were gone, it was totally a royal treatment for Chandaraka aka Kakadruma. The lion brought him food everyday and after he had his fill, he distributed the rest to the others. The elephant accompanied him, everywhere he went, clearing the way for him and he really enjoyed life.

As they say, ‘All Good Things Come to an End’, one fine day, a new pack of jackals came into this forest from the neighbouring forest. They were blissfully unaware of the ‘King’ and his orders and had had a good meal and while passing the King’s resting place, were howling away with joy.

Our ‘King’, who had, all these days controlled his instinct, could control it no more. He started to howl away in a high pitch and that was it! The giveaway startled all the animals as they realised how they had been fooled into believing that this blue creature was from the Heavens whereas he was no more than a jackal. The next minute, all of them pounced on him and that was the end of Chandaraka.

Morals:

  • You can never hide your true colours for long.
  • Truth always comes out in the end.

The Foolish Camel

Once upon a time, in a town in central India, there was a rich merchant. Once, he found that he had acquired lot of camels and therefore wanted to sell some of them. The animal market was in a village at a distance from the town an one had to pass through a thick jungle to reach the village. The merchant started with his retinue of about four or five men and five camels which he wanted to sell.

The journey through the jungle was about four to five hours and on the way, one of the camels hit its foreleg on a boulder very badly. It could not walk. It sat on the grass. The merchant tried to make it get up but of no avail. It was getting dark and the merchant decided to leave the camel there as he could not risk his own life and therefore left the camel to fend for itself and went away with his team.

The poor camel was frightened of the dark but nevertheless had enough grass to feed on and also found some other plants which were actually medicinal plants. After eating the plants for two days, the camel to its surprise, found that his leg had healed. But he did not know where to go and started roaming aimlessly.

In the same jungle, there lived a jackal-crow duo who were both equally cunning and depended on an lion for their food. They used to flatter the lion all day and feed on the remains of the lion’s hunt. But slowly, the lion became weak with age and could not hunt as swiftly as he did earlier. The jackal-crow duo were wondering about the fate of their food at this rate. Just then, they sighted the camel and thought that it could be of some use to them. So they went and slowly befriended the camel with their sweet words and asked the camel to join their group.

The camel unwittingly joined the group as it was a town-bred camel and did not know the ways of the jungle. He also felt safe in their company as he knew that no other animal dare attack an animal in the company of a lion. Days passed and the lion was hunting prey once in 2 days and once in 3 days and sometimes only once a week. It was hard for the jackal and the crow to be without food for long periods. But the camel simply fed off the grass and was growing fatter by the day. He was happy that he had good friends and a carefree life.

It so happened that the lion could not hunt for the next 10 days. The jackal and crow were very hungry and did not know what to do. It was then that they plotted against the camel. With a plan in their mind, they called the camel along and went to see the lion. They talked to the lion about the dwindling food and their ‘concern’ about the lion’s health, which would deteriorate if there was no food.

Suddenly, the crow fell at the feet of the lion and said, “O King, I offer myself to thee. I pray that you eat this small body of mine and satisfy your hunger.” The jackal immediately followed. He pushed the crow aside with his paw and a disgusted look on his face. “What do you think you brat?!! Do you think the king can even satisfy his hunger for a day by eating your puny body??? Eat me, O king. I offer thee my flesh, bone and skin.” The lion was wondering as to what was happening. The camel too, thought that when both the jackal and crow were offering sacrifices, he should also do so to show his loyalty. Moreover, the lion would not eat his friends.

So he fell flat in front of the lion and said, “O king, you have given me asylum in this hostile jungle and what more is there to offer to you than my body?? How will your hunger be satiated by eating a skinny jackal? Therefore, please eat me, O king” and he closed his eyes. Little did he know that it would be the last time he would do so.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrraaaar.” There was a deafening roar and the next second, the camel’s neck had been torn apart. The lion and the cunning duo feasted on the camel till all that remained were the bones.

sdgbseth

 

Thus, the camel learnt the hard way that friends must always be chosen with care.

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