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The Tiger and the wily Jackal

Once upon a time there lived a tiger on the banks of a river. The river flowed through a thick forest.  The banks of the river were, therefore, covered with tall trees and dense vegetation.

The Tiger lived in a cave in the forest.  He lived alone.  He hunted deer and other animals which lived in the forest.  Situated on the banks of the river, the forest was extremely fertile.  The plants and trees grew profusely.  They were good food for deer, bison and other animals which fed on them.

Among the many animals in the forest was a jackal.  The Jackal was a sly creature.  He sometimes hunted small animals such as rats and frogs.  But he mostly lived  on the leftovers of the kill of other larger predators.

One day, the tiger was out hunting.  It spotted a herd of deer a small distance away.  He slouched low among the tall grass. He moved stealthily closer to where the herd of deer was grazing, ignorant of his approaching presence.

He moved closer within striking distance.  The deer had still not noticed him.  Then, it happened.  He had unknowingly stepped on a dry twig lying on the ground.  The stick had snapped under his weight.  The sound alerted the deer which took to their heels.

The tiger was forced to launch his attack.  He ran towards the deer as fast as he could.  But, they were too quick for him.  However, he managed to capture a small deer.  The deer had been injured and could not flee like the others.  It was a small animal.  The tiger was disappointed at his catch. "It is better than catching nothing", he said to himself.

From a distance, the jackal was watching.  He was happy to see the tiger fail in the hunt.  A crooked plan occurred to him.  He approached the tiger.  The tiger stood by the dead deer.  He was panting and catching his breath after the chase.

"Your moves are indeed quick and magnificent, O Tiger.", he said.  The tiger was pleased at the compliment.  Sensing this, the jackal continued,  "But, what is such a small deer to an animal with an appetite as yours.  You need to hunt bigger game which can provide you with more meat."

The Tiger looked at the jackal.  The jackal said, "O, Tiger.  There are plenty of bison a few miles downriver.  A single kill will last you for many weeks".  The Tiger thought over this. Hunt for a day and take rest for weeks.   It seemed to be a good idea.  He wondered why no one told him about this earlier. 

The jackal was pleased that the tiger was considering his suggestion.  "I will take care of this dead deer till you return.", he said.   The Tiger was pleased to hear this.  The Tiger set off in search of the bison.  He soon reached the spot.  The bison were grazing heartily.  They were in their hundreds.  They were large animals.  "The jackal was right.", the tiger told himself, "a kill could feed me for a long time".

The tiger hid himself behind some bushes.  This time, he would allow the animals to come near him. Sure enough, the herd was moving closer to where he had concealed himself.  He just had to pounce on them.

The herd came closer within reach.  The tiger came out of his hiding place.  He pounced on the bison.  What the tiger did not think of was the strength of the bison.  The bison was large and powerful.  Besides, the tiger was alone.

As he jumped on a bison, the bison shook him off to the ground.  The tiger was on the ground and the angry herd around him.  The herd rushed at him, gored him with their sharp horn and trampled him with their heavy hooves.

The tiger tried to fight back with his claws and sharp teeth.  But he was no match for the herd of hundreds of animals.  When the dust settled, he lay on the ground wounded and bloodied.  The herd had lost interest in him and wandered off.

He could barely get up.  His whole body was aching.  He managed to pull himself together and slowly made his way upriver where his cave was.

There, at a distance, he could see the wily jackal eat the deer he had managed to capture.  The jackal gave him an insolent smile.  The tiger roared in fury.  But he could hardly move.  The jackal knew that.  The tiger reached his den and lay down.  It was many weeks before he could walk and run as before.

Children, this story teaches us not to take others’ advice at its face value.  We should always think over suggestions and ideas given by others.  People can trick us into doing things for their own advantage.

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