Here’s another great story from the Hitopadesha tales.
In a jungle, there lived a lion named Madotkata. His followers were a crow, a tiger, and a jackal.
One day, as they were roaming about, they saw a camel who had wandered away from his herd. They befriended the camel and led him to their master, the lion.
The lion liked the camel’s mannerisms and assured the camel that he would be safe in his cave. The lion also fondly named him ‘Chitra Karna’ which means ‘Spotted Ears.’
All the animals were living happily under the protection of the lion until one day, he fell very sick. The rainy season had also set in which had made it difficult for any of them to go out and hunt. All of them were almost on the verge of starvation.
The crow, the tiger and the jackal wanted the lion to kill the camel because they thought that it was of no other use to them. The camel-meat would have sustained them throughout the rainy season but they did not know how to convince the lion to kill the camel.
They went to the lion and tried to persuade him to kill the camel. The lion was in dire need of food, but still refused to kill the animal whom he had promised to protect. The crow was not ready to give up. He slyly added, “Dear sir, You will not have to kill him. We will plan everything in such a way that the camel will offer his body of his own free will. This way your promise would also not be broken.” When the lion heard this, he remained silent.
Then the crow, the tiger and the jackal held another meeting and hatched a plot against the camel. The very next day, they went up to the lion and also took the camel along with them.
“Master! We have failed to get any food for you. We know that you are sick and desperately need something to eat. So, please eat me!” said the crow.
“Friend, I would perform such a sinful deed, even if I die!” replied the lion.
“Your Highness! You must kill me so that you can stay alive,” requested the jackal.
“It is impossible for me to do so!” replied the lion.
“Master, please do not say no to me! My tasty and nutritious flesh will give you the instant energy and stamina that you need,” pleaded the tiger.
“I am sorry, Tiger! I can never kill a dear friend of mine like you!” replied the lion.
By this time, the camel had become quite sure that the lion would spare his life also, so following the footsteps of other animals; he also offered his body to the lion. He said, “Your Majesty! Please allow me to offer you my body. I would be honoured to …”
The tiger did not even wait for the camel to finish his sentence. He pounced on him and ripped him apart. The three followers and their leader then together feasted on the gullible camel.
For more interesting Hitopdesha stories, click here.
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