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Stories By Grandpa

THE LIONESS AND THE JACKAL CUB

from PANCHATANTRA


Narrated by: Kanai L Mukherjee (Grandpa), Edited by: Monisha Chakravarthy
Courtesy: Association of Grandparents of Indian Immigrants (AGII)



A lioness once gave birth to two cubs and for a time she could not go out hunting. So, her husband, the lion, went out to hunt and brought home the animals he killed.

One day he could not find any prey. As he was returning, he saw a jackal cub. He raised his paw to strike the cub when pity for the tiny creature forced to bring him home.

"He is just a cub" said the lion tenderly and brought it home carefully picking between his teeth.

"What did you get today?" asked the lioness impatiently.

The lion replied embarrassingly, " I could not get a single animal. Then I saw this cub. I didn't have the heart to kill him. But you may kill and eat him if you like."

"When you did not have the heart to kill him," said the lioness instantly, "How can I?"

She then patted the cub saying lovingly, "He will be my third son and will grow up with our cubs."

The two lion cubs and jackal cub soon grew plump and frisky.

Then one day, while the cubs were playing, an elephant passed by.

"Who is that intruder?" said one of the lion cubs, "Let us go and attack him."

"Wait brother, that is an elephant. He is strong. Let us run away or we will get hurt!"

The lion cubs laughed at the jackal cub, "Run away? Ha! Ha! Ha!"

They all came home teasing the jackal and told the whole story to their mother in the den. "You should have seen it Mother, it was so funny! The way he put his tail between his legs. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

The jackal cub got upset. "I should have left you two with the elephant. I wish I hadn't warned you ---"

The lioness got up, "Calm down! Let us go outside and talk alone,"

When they were alone, the lioness said, "You must never speak like that to them. They are your older brothers."

The jackal was still excited and shouted back, "So what? Do you think I am not as good as them? I will not take it if they make fun of me. I am going to kill them."

The lioness held back the smile by hearing the cubs' false alarm.

Then she came out firmly and said, "Listen to me my cub. You are the son of a jackal. I brought you up because you were helpless. As long as my sons are small, they will not harm you. But when they grow up they will fight you and kill you."

"Before that happens" said the lioness with concern, "You’d better run away and join your own pack."

The poor jackal cub was terrified when he heard this. Without a word he slunk away to find his own pack.

 

Moral: "You are best off with your own kind."



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