Today is the Day of the Jackal... not by any tradition, custom or ritual... but for my yet another attempt to understand life and reflect on it! Here are 3 stories taken from Hitopadesh, Isapniti and Jatak Katha, with different morals but a same vice, I guess!
Once upon a time, a hungry lion went from one place to another in search of a prey. He was soon exhausted. He decided to hide in a jackal’s empty cave and eat him when he entered. The idea of an easy catch watered his mouth. He waited patiently for the jackal to return.
The jackal reached his cave. He was about to enter when he sensed some danger. He thought of a plan. “Hello cave, how are you?” he said. Nothing happened. He said again, “Dear cave, what is wrong with you?”, and waited. Inside, the lion thought, “May be the cave answers the jackal and if he does not get the answer, he will think there is something wrong…” The silly lion roared in reply. The jackal now knew about the presence of the lion in the cave and ran away...
Moral of the story...? Force is no match for wisdom.
One day long ago, Jackal was trotting through a narrow, rocky pass in the mountain. He was sniffing the ground trying to find something juicy to eat when he saw movement ahead of him in the pass. Jackal stopped in his tracks. The mighty Lion was coming straight toward him. Realizing that there was no way to escape, Jackal became very frightened. He had played so many tricks on the king of the animals in the past, and he was sure that Lion would take this opportunity to get his revenge. Suddenly Jackal thought of a plan.
"Help! Help!" cried Jackal. He cowered down on the cliff path, looking above at the rocks. Lion stopped in surprise. "Help!" Jackal howled, "There is no time to lose! See those huge rocks above us? They are about to fall and we shall both be crushed to death! Oh, mighty Lion, please do something! Save us!" And Jackal cowered with his paws over his head. Lion looked up, most alarmed. Before he even had a chance to think, Jackal persuaded Lion to put his strong shoulder against the rock and heave.
"Oh, thank you, great King!" yelped Jackal. "I will quickly fetch that log over there to hold the rock, and we will both be saved!", and with that he bounded out of sight.
So Lion was left all alone to struggle under the weight of the rock in the hot sunshine. We will never know how long he stayed before he realized that this was another trick, but the clever Jackal had once again escaped from the mighty Lion!
Moral of the story...? Wisdom is more powerful than strength!
Once there lived a mighty lion in a cave of the Himalayas. One day, after killing and eating a buffalo, when he was on his way back to his cave, he found a jackal prostrating before him. The jackal, in fact, wanted to enjoy the leftovers of the lion.
He asked him, “Why do you lie like this, Jackal”. The jackal said, “Sir! I would like to be your servant”. The lion accepted his proposal and treated him affectionately.
Since that day the lion offered him the leftovers of the animals that he killed. Being fed on those the emaciated jackal soon bulged; and so did his pride. Further, he fostered the false idea of having equal power like that of the lion. So, one day, he said to the lion, “O lion! So far I am fed on your leftovers; but today, I shall offer you my left over as I shall kill and eat an elephant…!”
The lion advised him to refrain from any such act, as he did not belong to the species of lion-like animal to kill a strong elephant.
The haughty and foolish jackal did not listen to the lion. Feigning like a lion he moved out of the cave and uttered the cry of a jackal thrice, as if it was the cry of a mighty lion. He then looked for an elephant; and saw one at the base of the mountain. He jumped at the large animal from the top of the mountain. But instead of falling on elephant’s back he fell on his feet. The elephant without paying much notice to the existence of the jackal lifted his fore-leg and placed it on his head and mashed his skull. Thus the foolish jackal was killed instantly.
Moral of the story (Uncut, uncensored and unsolicited)...?
Surviving on leftovers of a lion doesn’t make a Jackal a Lion and cunningness is no match for bravery…!