There were many wild animals in the forest. The lion, Sheru was one of them. He was strong and ferocious. One day, when he was hunting, the lion had suffered an injury. He had been chasing a herd of wild buffaloes when one of the buffalo had turned and gored him with its sharp horns. Sheru moved away and fled from the scene. But he had been injured. The injury, fortunately, was a mild one. However, it caused him much pain. He could no longer run and chase animals as before.
Sheru lay in his cave for a while. He began to feel hungry. He wandered about in the forest in search of a quick meal. Without his speed and agility, he could catch nothing. Shamli had seen the lion limping. She knew that he was injured. She was careful, nonetheless.
One day while Shamli was in the den with her calf, the lion was prowling nearby. Shamli could sense the grunts and the roars of the lion. Sheru, the lion had caught her smell and was pleased. She was helpless. If she bolted and ran, her calf would not be able to follow her. The lion would certainly kill her child. She lay quietly in fear. The lion, meanwhile, was coming closer and closer to the den.
As the Shamli awaited her fate. She hit upon an idea. She modified her voice and said, “Mama, I am hungry. I want to eat something now.” After a few seconds, she changed her voice yet again and said in a gruff tone, “Wait, child. I see a lion coming towards us. We can have him for dinner. The meat of a lion is good to eat. You will like it.”, she said.
The lion was struck with terror. He had thought, all along, that he was the king of the forest. But here he was, hearing two creatures talking about having him for dinner. “Must be some strange monster I have not seen so far”, he told himself and went away as fast as his injured legs could carry him.
He went to sleep hungry that night. The next morning, he woke up. His empty stomach was rumbling. He knew that he had to eat something. As he was thus thinking, a fox came near him. He had known the fox for a long time. The animal would be hanging about around him and feeding on the leftovers from his hunts. He had not thought much about him.
A couple of days earlier, the fox had spotted the Shamli and her calf in the cave. He had wanted to tell the lion about it. But he could find the lion only now. He was not aware of the incident the day before.
He told the lion about the cave and the easy meal. The wily fox, though, had his own interest in mind. He would get a good share of the meat from the lion’s kill. The lion listened to him. He then told him how he went near the cave yesterday and what he heard.
The fox dismissed it as a cheap trick. The fox offered to tie its tail to the lion’s tail and go with him to the cave the next day. The frightened lion felt better. “Two are always better than one”, he reassured himself. The next day presented a strange sight as the lion and fox tied their tails together and walked stealthily towards the cave.
Shamli had managed to see them. She was scared. She had managed to send away one animal. But now there were two predators. Her quick mind was working fast. As the animals drew closer, she changed her voice like the day before and said, “See, child. Our friend, the fox, is bringing the lion to us tied to his tail as he had promised. Now the lion cannot escape.”
The lion froze in terror at these words and the booming voice from the cave. He through that the fox had betrayed him. He took to his heels with the fox tied to his tail. The poor fox was badly injured after being dragged over the forest floor for almost a mile. It was many weeks before it could recover. By then, Shamli’s calf had grown up into a tall and sprightly young deer. Shamli and the calf joined the rest of the herd and lived happily.
Children, this story teaches us the value of quick thinking in the face of danger. A sharp mind can turn the most helpless situation around and help us even in the most desperate of circumstances.