The Hyaena Outwitted
Category: Part I.
Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas
Once upon a time there was a great tiger who lived in a forest;
and all the other animals that lived in the forest treated him as
their Raja, down to the very birds. They all felt safe under his
protection, because he was so much feared that no men dared hunt in
that forest. One day it happened that this Raja tiger killed a man
and made such a enormous meal on the flesh, that he got very bad
indigestion. The pain grew worse and worse, till he felt sure that
his last hour was come.
In his agony he sent for a hyaena and offered to make him his dewan,
if only he would call all the other animals of the forest to come
and pay a farewell visit to their lord. The hyaena readily agreed
but thought it would be better to send another messenger, while
he stayed by the tiger to see that all the animals duly presented
themselves. Just then a crow flew overhead; so they called him and
deputed him to summon all the animals.
The crow flew off and in a short time all the animals assembled before
the tiger and paid their respects to him and expressed wishes for his
speedy recovery;--all except the jackals. They had been summoned along
with the others; but somehow they paid no attention and only remembered
about it in the afternoon. Then they were very frightened as to what
would be the consequence of their remissness; but one chief jackal
stood up and told them not to fear, as he would contrive a way of
getting the better of the hyaena. There was nothing else to be done,
so they had to put what trust they could in their chief and follow
him to the Tiger.
On his way the chief jackal picked up a few roots, and took them with
him. When they reached the place where the suffering monarch lay,
the hyaena at once began to abuse them for being late, and the Tiger
also angrily asked why they had not come before; then the chief jackal
began humbly "O Maharaja, we were duly summoned; your messenger is not
to blame; but we reflected that it was useless merely to go and look at
you when you were so ill: that could do you no good; so we bestirred
ourselves to try and find some medicine that would cure you. We have
searched the length and breadth of the jungle and have found all that
is necessary, except one thing and that we have failed to find." "Tell
me what it is," said the hyaena, "and I will at once despatch all
these animals to look for it and it will surely be found." "Yes,"
echoed the tiger, "what is it?" "Maharaja," said the jackal, "when you
take these medicines, you must lie down on the fresh skin of a hyaena,
which has been flayed alive; but the only hyaena we can find in the
forest is your dewan" "The world can well bear the loss of one
hyaena," said the Tiger: "take him and skin him." At these words all
the animals set upon the hyaena and flayed him alive; and the tiger
lay down on the skin and took the medicines brought by the jackal;
and as he was not seriously ill, his pain soon began to pass away.
"That is a lesson to the hyaena not to scold us and get us into
trouble," said the jackal, as he went home.
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