The Lion and The Jackal

Vajradanstra was a lion living in a forest. He had two friends, a jackal named Chaturaka and a wolf named Kravyamukha. Because of their friendship with the lion, the jackal and the wolf had a free run of the forest.

One day the lion found a female camel separated from its caravan and in labour pains. The lion killed the camel and found a live baby camel inside her womb. The lion and his friends fed on the dead camel but spared the baby. The lion adopted the baby and brought him home.

The lion told the baby camel, “You are now my child. Nobody can harm you. You can freely roam about the forest and have a nice time. You have ears which look like a pair of conches. So I will call you Sankhukarna.”

As days passed, Sankhukarna became a young and energetic animal. He was always to be seen in the company of Vajradanstra. One day the lion had to confront a wild elephant and in the fight the elephant badly injured the lion. Now the lion was too weak to go out and hunt. He called his friends, the jackal and the wolf, and the camel and told them, “Look for an animal. I will kill it and all of us can have a good meal.”

The three scoured the entire forest but could not find an animal. In despair, the jackal thought, “If we can kill this camel we will have a sure meal for several days. But he is a favorite of our king. He will not agree to kill the camel. Yet with my cunning I will see that the lion kills him. The learned have said there is nothing impossible or forbidden for an intelligent being.”