How the Jackal ate the Elephant

- January 13, 2022


By Kayva Gokhale 

One day, while strolling in the jungle, Mahachaturaka- a jackal, stumbled upon a dead elephant lying in his path. He was overjoyed. The elephant was huge and could sustain the jackal for a long, long time. However, there was a problem. The elephant’s hide was very tough and the jackal did not have sharp claws or teeth needed to cut away the hide and get to the flesh. 

Illustrator: Ram Waeerkar | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

While Mahachaturaka was deep in thought, he saw a lion coming his way. Wanting to win his favour, the jackal approached the lion and said,

“My Lord, I am your loyal servant and have been guarding this dead elephant so that you may feast upon it.”

The lion was proud. He said,

“I only eat what I have hunted myself! However, since you are such a loyal servant, you can have this elephant for yourself.”

And so the lion walked away, leaving Mahachaturaka with the elephant. 

A few minutes passed, and the jackal once again heard footsteps coming in his direction. He spotted a tiger. He knew that the tiger was not as proud as the lion and was afraid that he would eat up the elephant. Quickly thinking of a ploy, the jackal spoke to the tiger,

“Dear Uncle Tiger, do not venture near here. This is an elephant that has been killed by a lion. He has gone for his bath and asked me to guard it for him.”

Sowing fear in the tiger’s mind, he continued,

“A tiger once ate a meal hunted by this lion and he was livid! He got so furious that he swore that he would kill any tiger that crossed his path. You should leave before the lion comes back, otherwise, your life would be in grave danger!”

The tiger was alarmed by this story and ran away in the opposite direction, leaving the dead elephant alone. 

The jackal had so far preserved his meal from other enemies, but he still could not figure out how to cut away the elephant’s hide. Just as he was fretting over his problem, he saw a leopard coming toward him. A brilliant idea flashed in his mind. At once he called out to the leopard,

“Dear Uncle Leopard, you look so thin and weak – it seems like you have not had a good meal in a long time! Here, I am guarding this dead elephant for a lion, but seeing your condition, I request you to please eat some of it.”

The leopard was hesitant.

“What if the lion comes back and sees me eating his meal? No, I’d better not take the risk,” he said.

Illustrator: Ram Waeerkar | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

But the jackal was cunning.

“Don’t be afraid, please start eating. I shall signal you to run away as soon as the lion returns,” he reassured the leopard.

Satisfied, the leopard started eating the dead elephant. However, as soon as he had cut the elephant’s hide with his sharp claws, the jackal shouted, “Run! I see the lion coming back! Run!” Hearing his friend’s cries, the leopard ran away as fast as possible. 

Now that he had gotten rid of his rivals and managed to tear away the elephant’s tough hide, the jackal happily feasted on his delicious meal.

Read more such fascinating animal tales in our Jataka, Panchatantra and Hitopadesha Collection. It is now available on the ACK Comics app, Kindle, Flipkart, Amazon, and other major e-tailers. 

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