The Lion, the Camel, the Jackal, and the Crow

The Lion, the Camel, the Jackal, and the Crow

The Lion, the Camel, the Jackal, and the Crow

Once upon a time, there was a jungle ruled by a lion named Madotkata. He had many animals at his service, including a leopard, a jackal, and a crow.

One day, as they were wandering through the jungle, the lion spotted a camel in the distance. The camel had strayed from its caravan and was grazing on the lush grass of the jungle.

The lion was intrigued by this unfamiliar animal and said to his companions, “Let us go and ask this extraordinary creature where it comes from.”

The crow, who had traveled far and wide, replied, “Master, that is a camel. It lives in villages and its flesh is said to be delicious. Let us kill it and eat it.”

But the lion disagreed. “No,” he said. “This creature is not from our jungle and is therefore our guest. I will not harm it. Go and assure it that it is safe and bring it to me.”

So the animals went to the camel and convinced it to come with them to meet the lion. The camel bowed before the lion and told its story of how it had become separated from its caravan.

The lion listened and then said, “Oh Camel, if you return to the village you will be made to carry heavy burdens once again. Stay here in my kingdom instead. You can eat your fill of the abundant grass without fear.”

The camel accepted the offer and they all lived together in peace.

But one day, the lion was severely injured in a fight with a mad elephant. He was so badly hurt that he could not even walk, let alone hunt for food.

As time passed without food, the lion grew weaker and weaker. His servants were also starving since they depended on him for their meals.

Finally, unable to bear it any longer, the lion called his servants to him and said, “Go and find an animal that I can prey upon even in my weakened state. That way I can provide food for both myself and for you.”

The animals searched the jungle but could find no suitable prey. On their way back, the jackal had an idea.

He said to the crow, “Why are we wandering around looking for food when it is right in front of us? The camel could provide enough meat for all of us for a long time.”

The crow replied, “Yes, but our master has promised to protect the camel. He will not agree to kill it.”

The jackal said confidently, “Leave that to me. I will persuade our master to feast on the camel. You wait here while I go speak with him.”

The jackal went to the lion and said, “Master, we have searched everywhere but could not find any prey for you. We are all so weak from hunger that we can barely walk. If you agree to kill the camel, its flesh will provide enough food for all of us.”

But the lion refused. “Shame on you!” he exclaimed. “How can I kill the camel when I have promised to protect it? It would be a sin!”

The jackal persisted. “Master,” he said smoothly, “it would indeed be a sin to kill the camel after giving it your word of protection. But if it offers itself as food willingly, then it would not be a sin for you to accept its offer.”

He continued persuasively, “What good are we if we cannot serve our master in his time of need? Please kill one of us instead so that you may live and save us all from starvation.”

The lion was swayed by the jackal’s words and said weakly, “Do what you think is best for all of us.”

The jackal returned to the other animals with a plan. He declared dramatically, “Our master is sick and weak! If something happens to him there will be no one left to protect us! We have failed to find any prey after searching throughout the jungle! The only way now to repay our debt to our master is by offering ourselves as food! That way at least some of us may be saved from starvation!”

As planned, all of them went before the lion and bowed low. They told him that they had failed in their search for food.

The crow spoke up first. “Master,” he said bravely. “We could not find any suitable prey for you. So I offer myself as your food instead. Please eat me so that you may live.”

But before the lion could reply, the jackal interrupted smoothly. “You are too small to provide enough meat for our master,” he said dismissively. “Even if he accepts your offer it will not be enough for his survival. But by offering yourself you have proven your devotion and repaid your debt to our master.”

He turned to the lion and said, “Please accept my offer instead.”

The jackal stood humbly before the lion. “Master,” he said earnestly. “Please eat me so that you may live. If you accept my sacrifice I will be honored with a place in heaven.”

But the lion shook his head in refusal. One by one the other animals offered themselves as well, but the lion refused them all.

The camel, who had been watching all this, thought to himself, “They all speak so beautifully of offering themselves, but our master refuses to kill any of them. I will try to impress him in the same way.”

So the camel spoke up. “You have all offered yourselves,” he said to the other animals. “But our master cannot eat you because you are all carnivores like himself. Stand aside and let me offer myself instead.”

With that, the camel stepped forward and bowed before the lion.

“Master,” he said nobly. “You need not kill any of these animals. Please eat me instead. I offer myself to repay my debt to you. If you accept my offer I will find my way to heaven.”

No sooner had he made his offer than the other animals cheered. The lion, already influenced by the jackal’s words, pounced on the camel and killed it. All the animals feasted on its flesh together.

And so the wise say: Always be on guard when in the company of wicked people. Do not be taken in by their sweet words.

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