The Blue Jackal – Panchatantra

Once upon a time there was a smart jackal that lived in a forest close to a village. The forest was the home to many animals including a pack of jackals. Unlike the other jackals that always moved in a pack, our smart jackal was adventurous and often strayed into the village in search of food. He had tasted the wonderful things the human beings cooked would try to get some whenever he could.  It was not an easy task as he knew that he would get a sound beating if caught by the humans. Besides, the city was full of dogs and the jackal was afraid of them. They were sure to kill him or hurt him badly if they ever managed to catch him. But the lure of food proved too strong for him and the jackal went to the city again and again.

One day just as he was about to enter a big house he saw a group of dogs running towards the house. They looked fierce and the jackal was soon trembling in fear. He ran and tumbled right inside a tub of blue dye. The dogs missed him and ran the other way. By the time the jackal climbed out of the tub he was dyed blue from head to toe. He looked really strange and totally unlike any other animal. The jackal was very happy. “No one will be able to recognize me now” he told himself, “I can easily fool everyone in the forest.” The jackal was quite right. When he entered the forest once again everyone was surprised to see such a strange animal. There had never seen any animal of that colour before.

“Who are you?” the animals asked him. “Where have you come from?” asked the mighty lion with a frown. “Did anyone send you?” asked the fierce tiger giving him a keen look. “Lord Indra, king of heaven, has sent me to look after you” said the blue jackal in a grand voice, “I’ll be your king from now on.”

“But I have always been the king of the forest” protested the mighty lion. “All that must change now as I am the king” said the blue jackal enjoying himself, “all of you must serve me and do exactly as I tell you.” “What if we don’t?” asked the tiger. “Then Lord Indra will destroy the entire forest and all of you with it” said the blue jackal. Somehow the animals got convinced and they didn’t dare challenge the jackal’s authority. “What would you like us to do?” they asked the blue jackal. “Bring me lots of food, to start with” said the blue jackal promptly, “I am hungry and can’t take care of you unless I am properly looked after.” The animals rushed off in different directions and got the best food for their new king. The jackal was happy and enjoyed his new position. The animals promised to serve him faithfully. He assigned special duties to all the animals but banished the pack of jackals from the forest because he was afraid they might recognize him some day.

The blue jackal had a great and didn’t need to step out of the forest or risk confronting the dogs. He got the best of everything without doing anything at all. He was sati9sfied that he had tricked the animals. But one fine day the unexpected happened. The banished pack of jackals was roaming just outside the forest and howled together loudly. The blue jackal forgot his new position and due to his nature joined howling. The animals of the forest who were present realised what happened. Their mighty blue king howling just like a jackal! So he was a jackal after all and not a strange creature sent by the Gods. He had merely coloured himself somehow and had been fooling them all this time. Fooling the lion king, the fierce tiger and mighty elephant! Well, they were not going to be fooled any longer. They pounced upon the the blue jackal and killed him before he could explain or protest.

And that was the end of the blue jackal’s reign as king!

MORAL: Do not pretend to be someone else, be yourself.

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