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Tales of Hitopadesha
Short Stories
The Elephant and the Jackal
Once in the forest of Brahmaranya there lived an elephant named Karpuratilaka. As he was roaming about the forest alone, a family of jackals saw him, what a feast we can have for many days", said one of the jackals.

"But he is so strong. It is impossible" said another.

"Nothing is impossible. By using a little intellect it is possible to bring about the downfall of even the mightiest" said the oldest jackal. "Watch me now" it continued. See how I shall bring about the elephant's death. Wait here and be ready to enjoy a feast.

The old jackal went up to Karpuratilaka. "O Great King" the jackal prostrated itself in front of the elephant. "You are our saviour. You must agree to be our king for there is none greater than you in this forest."

The elephant looked at the jackal in surprise. "Who are you? I have never seen you before" it asked, "O great one, how can your gaze fall on us lowly creatures. Now that we have no leader I am making bold to seek you out and beseech you not to refuse. Please rule over us. For one must have a good king first, then a wife and lastly wealth. If, there is no King at all how can we acquire others?" the jackal asked.

Greatly flattered by the clever jackal the elephant agreed to become their leader. "Your Majesty, please follow me this way where the others are waiting to coronate you" said the jackal and ran ahead into the forest. Karpuratilaka followed behind.

"Still how much further do we have to go? asked Karpuratilaka as the jackal led the way deeper and deeper into the forest.

"Not too far now" replied the jackal. "Its just here. Ah, here we are". The jackal stopped in front of a big clearing which seemed to be covered with weeds. "Your Majesty, just step over here in front of me and I shall bring the rest of the Jackals."

Without a second thought Karpuratilaka did as he was told. But the treacherous jackal had in fact led the elephant into a quagmire. "Help me, O jackal, I am stuck in this mud" it cried out as it realised it was sinking slowly.

The jackal laughed loudly. "A King who believes the words of unreliable ones fully deserves what he gets" said the jackal. "You will pay for your foolishness with your life". Soon the other jackals joined him and they fell on the helpless elephant and feasted on it. Moral When you keep good company, you will prosper. But as soon as you join wicked company, you will fall.
Next >>
  • The Golden Bangle
  • The Vulture and the Cat
  • The Greedy Jackal
  • The Elephant and the Jackal
  • The Donkery and the Dog
  • The Lion, the Mouse and the Cat
  • The Monkey and the Bell
  • The Crows and the Cobra
  • The Foolish Ass
  • Never Give Advice To Fools
  • The Blue Jackal
  • The Foolish Barber
  • The Cranes and the Serpent
  • The Wily Crow
  • The Gunning Merchant
  • Do good and don't worry to whom. Next
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