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The Jackal And The Leopards






Category: Part I.

Source: Folklore Of The Santal Parganas

Once upon a time a leopard and a leopardess were living with their
cubs; and when the parents were away a jackal used to go to the cubs
and say "If you won't pay up the paddy you owe, give me something on
account." And the cubs gave him all the meat which their parents had
brought; and as this happened every day the cubs began to starve. The
leopard asked why they looked so thin although he brought them lots of
game and the cubs explained that they had to give up all their food to
the jackal from whom he had borrowed paddy. So the leopard lay in wait
and when the jackal came again to beg of the cubs he chased him. The
jackal ran away and hid in a crack in the ground; the leopard tried
to follow and got stuck in the crack and was squeezed to death. The
jackal came out and kicked the dead body, crying "I see you lying in
wait for me."

Now the jackal wore silk shoes and a silk dhoti and he went back to
the leopard's family and asked who would look after them now the
leopard was dead. They said that they would live with him; so the
jackal stayed there and they all went hunting deer. The jackal lay in
wait and the leopards drove the game to him. But when the deer came
out, the jackal was too frightened to attack them and climbed to the
top of an ant-hill to be out of the way. So when the leopards came
up they found that the jackal had killed nothing. But the jackal only
complained that they had not driven the deer in the right direction. So
the next day the leopardess lay in wait and the jackal and the cubs
beat the jungle; when they came up they found that the leopardess
had killed a fine deer. "Now," said the jackal "let me first offer
the game as a sacrifice to the spirit of our dead leopard;" so saying
he tried to bite a hole in the deer but the skin was too tough. So
he made the leopardess tear the skin and then he pushed inside the
carcase and ate up all the entrails. When he had had as much as he
could eat he came out and let the leopards begin their meal.

Another day they wished to cross a flooded river. The young leopards
offered to carry the jackal over on their shoulders but the jackal was
too proud to allow this. So the leopards all jumped across the stream
safely but when the jackal tried he fell into the middle of the water
and was carried away down stream. Lower down a crocodile was lying on
the bank sunning itself "Pull me out, pull me out!" called the jackal
"and I will bring you some fat venison." So the crocodile pulled him
out. "Now open your mouth and shut your eyes" said the jackal and when
the crocodile obeyed he popped a large stone into its jaws and ran
away. This made the crocodile very angry and it vowed to be revenged.

The jackal used to go every day to a certain tank to drink: and to
reach the water he used to sit on the root of an arjun tree which
projected from the bank. The crocodile observed this habit and one
day lay in wait under the water by the arjun tree and when the
jackal came to drink caught him by the leg. The jackal did not lose
his presence of mind but called out "What a fool of a crocodile to
catch hold of the root of the tree instead of my leg." On hearing
this the crocodile let go its hold and the jackal laughed and ran away.

Every day the jackal used to lie in the sun on the top of a stack of
straw. The crocodile found this out and buried itself in the straw
and waited for the jackal. That day it happened that the jackal found
a sheep-bell and tied it round his neck so that it tinkled as he
ran. When it heard the bell the crocodile said "What a bother! I am
waiting for the jackal and here comes a sheep tinkling its bell." The
jackal heard the crocodile's exclamation and so detected the trick;
he at once went and fetched a light and set fire to the heap of straw
and the crocodile was burnt to death.





The Fool and His Dinner.

A man once went to visit his mother-in-law and for dinner they gave
him rice with a relish made of young bamboo shoots. The man liked it
extremely and thought that it was meat, but he saw no pieces of meat;
so he asked his mother-in-law what it was made of; and behind him was
a door made of bamboos: so the mother-in-law said, "I have cooked
that which is behind you;" and he looked round and saw the door;
so he resolved to carry off the door, as it made such good eating,
and in the middle of the night he took it off the hinges and ran away
with it. In the morning the door was missed and the mother-in-law
guessed what had happened and had a hearty laugh.

Meanwhile the man went home with the door and chopped it up and gave
the pieces to his wife to cook; the wife said that it was useless
to cook dry chips but he insisted and said that her mother had made
a beautiful dish of them. So they were cooked and the man sat down
to eat; but they were all hard and tasteless; then he scolded his
wife and she told him to cook them himself if he was not pleased;
so he cooked some himself and the result was the same; and his wife
laughed at him and when the villagers heard of it they nicknamed him
"Silly", and used to call the name after him when they met him.





Next: The Stingy Daughter

Previous: The Brave Jackal



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