The Panchatantra – Story 23b

THE JACKAL WHO WANTED TO HOARD

A hunter started one morning in quest of game. He saw a huge black boar coming. Putting the bow alongside his right ear he let the arrow off with tremendous force, saying as he did so, ‘Even though the animal has seen me put the arrow to my bow it does not show the slightest trace of fear and is still advancing. It almost seems as if its hour of death has approached and the god of death has sent it on towards me for that purpose.’ The arrow struck the boar and pierced it deep. The infuriated animal made a desperate rush at its assailant, threw him down, ripped open his belly with its tusk and killed him. Then, by the profuse bleeding of the terrible wound it had received, and exhausted by its last supreme effort, it too fell down dead by the side of its victim. 

A jackal came to the scene shorty after these occurrences. It found the boar and the hunter both dead and thought to itself with joy ‘My fate has been very kind to me. It has given me all this unexpected food. Well have the wise men said, ”Even if people do not make any effort, fate gives them the good and evil results of their deeds in the past birth. Whatever act a person does in any country or time or age and whether in open or in secret, the good and bad effects of that act will surely be visited on him.” I shall eat these corpses in such a way that they may last me for as many days as possible. Now that I think of it I •may dine to-day on this leather bowstring and the lump of sinews at either end’. So saying, it slowly took the bow from the ground and taking the end of the bow into its mouth began to chew the string tied to it saying to itself, ‘Even self-acquired wealth should be consumed only in very small doses like medicine by wise men and should never be spent lightly!’.

As soon as the string was bitten through, the bow was suddenly unstrung and rebounded with great force The end in the jackal’s mouth pierced its palate and went through its head killing it on the spot. 

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