The Panchatantra – Story 41

THE CAVE WHICH TALKED

There was once a lion named Kharanakhara(Fierce Mane) in a great forest. One day, after wandering in the forest till sunset, he found no animal to kill and eat. Just as the sun set, he saw a huge mountain cave and went into it and lay down saying to himself : “Surely some animal will come into this cave for shelter in the night, I will hide here and spring on it and kill it when it arrives.” Presently, the owner of the cave, a jackal came to the door and cried out, “Hullo cave, hullo cave!” Then after a minute’s silence, he repeated his cry. There was no reply. A third time he repeated the cry and added. 

“Don’t you remember our agreement that you were to say, “hullo!” in return every night before I entered you. Well, if you are not going to keep it, I will go to another cave and make a similar agreement with it”. When he heard this, the lion thought, “Obviously this cave replies to his greeting. l must say, “hullo!” lest he should go away and I go hungry for the whole day.” So, he cried, ‘hullo!”. The roar of the lion resounded loudly and there was also a terrific echo. The jackal laughed and said : “So, that is it, is it ? I never heard a cave talk all my life,” and departed from there at top speed.

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