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.
Ram Mohan Narasimhan
Nice story! It pays to tarry a little and evaluate the consequences before jumping headlong into anything – sometimes it saves your life, as this story demonstrates.
Thank you. Such valuable advice packed into nice little stories in Panchatantra. It is really great to see in what simple form this knowledge was imparted!