26. The Lioness and the Young Jackal

The Lioness and the Young Jackal

Long, long ago, there lived a lion couple in a dense forest. One day, the lioness gave birth to two cubs. Now the lion would go out hunting and bring home a prey, to be fed upon by the lioness and the cubs.

However, one day, the lion wandered for a long time in search of food, but all in vain. Soon the sun set and the desperate lion decided to return home. While on his way back home, he came across a baby jackal. The lion taking pity on the baby jackal didn’t kill it. Instead, he fetched it home safely and presented it to his wi~

“My dear”, asked his wife, “What’s it? Is it foe my meals?”

“It’s a baby jackal, which I found on my way back – home. I didn’t kill it. because it’s simply a baby. However, it is upto you; if you wish, you can kill this baby and eat it.”

“Since you didn’t kill this baby yourself. I too spare its life. I shall look ,after this’ baby jackal as my own third son,” said the lioness. Thus, the couple decided to rear the newcomer as their own baby. She began to feed the baby jackal also on her own milk. Soon the baby jackal became fat and healthy. The three babies grew up together without realising any diff erence between them. The baby jackal played with the lion’s cubs, as if it were one of them.

One day, while the three were playing outside their cave, they saw ar7 elephant trumpeting near the cave. Despite the enormous size of the elephant the lion cubs became furious to see it and took an attacking posture instinctively Whereas, the young jackal shouted, “Hold it! don’t go near this huge animal. He is our enemy” Howling like this the young jackal ran back towards his home. For the first time, the cubs were face-to-face with cowardliness. This was not in their traitsi but since they were young and quite inexperienced, they were discouraged to see the baby jackal running away from the battle-field. The cubs also returned home gloomy and dejected. They went to their mother and narrated to her the story of their brother’s cowardice.

The young jackal was irritated to see his brothers making complaints to their mother about him. He abused his brothers in great anger and shoved them about.

The lioness sank in deep thought and decided to reveal the truth of the origin of the baby jackal to him before it was too late and became dangerous for his life. She also felt that since it was time of the growth of the cubs, and development of their natural instincts and traits, the company of the cowardly baby jackal will only hamper the prospects of their growth. So, she said to him with deep concern , Listen son, the truth is that you are the son of a jackal. Since you were an orphan, I took pity on you and reared you as my own child. You’re no doubt, smart and intelligent, but no elephants are ever killed in the family you were born in. Better you return to your clan before our sons come to know this truth about you and kill you.”

The young jackal was terrified to know this truth. He immediately fled from the cave, into the deep jungle to live with his own clan.

Moral:- One should always be in ones own company.

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