The Panchatantra – Story 3

THE JACKAL AND THE WAR DRUM

A hungry jackal was prowling about for food. In the course of his wandering he reached a battle ground.  Suddenly he heard a great sound and was terribly frightened. He said to himself: “Ah, me ! I am as good as dead.  What terrible creature is this making such a deafening  sound?” On peering round, he found that the sound  emanated from a war-drum, hung up on the lowest  branch of a tree, by the branches of the tree striking  against it in the breeze.

 Being satisfied that there was no  danger to him and that the sound was only coming when  the branches beat the drum, he went to the alternative of wild rejoicing, and said to himself, “This big drum with  skin on both sides must be full of meat and fat and will  sustain, me for many a day.” Then, with enormous effort and at great risk to his teeth, he gnawed a hole into one  of the sides and was lucky enough not to break his teeth  in the process. But, on looking inside, he was terribly  disappointed to find only empty space in between the two-  ends. “Good gracious,” said he, ” I thought from its fiery voice that it was stuffed with meat and fat, but I  find nothing at all except wood and skin.”

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