The Lion and The Rabbit- A Story From Panchantantra

The panchantantra Tales(story) can be traces back to 200 B.C. Those were told by a teacher named Vishnu Sharma to train three wayward princes of an ancient Kindom in India. This story, one of those fables, presents how brain power is superior to muscle power.

            Deep in a forest, there lived a big and fierce lion. He hunted animal to satisfy his hunger. He also hunted for fun. So he would kill not one or two animals but as many as he could. All the forest animals were terrified. They were afraid that one day not a single animal would be left alive.

            One day they assembled to think of a plan to stop the cruel lion from killing animals in such a manner.

            “What shall we do?” asked the deer shyly.

            “What shall we do/” muttered the squirell from a corner.

The wild boar was a little bold. He said,”Let’s meet the lion and talk to him.”

But nothing would make the animals gather enough courage to set out for the lion’s den. They were very much afraid of him. The monkey took the lead and all the frightened animals marched slowly along.

The lion was surprised to see the large gathering of animals.

“Why have you all come here/ What is the matter/” he roared.

The animals stood still. None of them could speak a word. Finally the brave monkey broke the silence.

Trembling, the monkey began,” O King of the jungle! Forgive me my audacity. Everyday you hunt more animals than you need. But you don’t eat all of them. Now there are very few animals left in the jungle. There is a danger in it.”

“What’s the danger?” growled the lion.

“O King ! the monkey said.”If we all die, whom will you rule? What will you eat?”

Hearing this, the lion looked thoughtful. The cleaver monkey knew it was time to flatter him. So he quickly rejoined. “ Lord, we don’t want our king to die without food.”

“Of course not, of course not,” said the lion happily. He was extremely glad to see the animals so respectful and caring.

Then the wise owl spoke : “sir, we have decided that everyday we shall send you an animal to eat. You won’t need to hunt any more.”

The lion was already in a favourable mood. He thought a while and agreed, saying, “Yes, it is quite okay.

But if you fail to keep your promise even once, I’ll kill all of you.”

Since that day, one animal was chosen each day and sent to the lion for his meal.

It so happened that, after a few days, it was the turn of a rabbit. The rabbit was small but very cleaver. He wanted to put an end to the practice of sending an animal daily to the lion. It was really dreadful for anyone to face death.

“ I must think of a plan to save myself and others too. The wicked lion should die,” he said to himself.

His mind worked on a number of plans. Suddenly he jumped up, excited. “I’ve hit upon a very good plan. I wish it worked  perfectly,” he said.

Then he walked as slowly as he could. He wanted to arrive at the lion’s den late. So by the time he rreached there, it was noon. The lion was very hungry. Never had he waited so long for food. He was furious. His anger shot up when he saw the tiny rabbit.

He roared: “Which fool has sent you? You are less than a snack to me. I must teach you all a lesson. After I eat you, I shall kill every animal in the forest”.

The little rabit bowed low and said, “ O great king, please don’t be angry. They kenw I was too small. So they actually sent five rabbits for your meal”.

The lion was too impatient to here anything. He lashed his tail and thundered: “Where  are the other four?”

The rabit quickly replied,” On our way we met an enormous lion. He killed and ate up the four rabbits. Luckily I escaped”.

Hardly had he finished when the lion sprang up. His brown mane swelled. His eyes grew large, round and red in anger. He growled fiercely so that it its fearful echo rang all around. He roared, “Another lion! Where is he? Take me there this very moment”.

The poor rabbit shook with fright. He had never seen the king of the forest in such fury. Somehow  he gathered courage, and with folded hands said,”O Lord, that lion is very big indeed. He lives in a cave deep inside the earth. I told him that you would be extremely angry if he ate us up. But he would not listen. He killed and ate four of us”.

The rabit said it all in one breath. He paused a second and then went on, “ He said he was the greatest. Besides, he made fun of you. He then pounced on me but I managed to escape”.

At this, the lion turned redd with anger. His powerful roar shook the whole forest. The animals everywhere in the forest stood still, shocked and frightened.

“Where does this lion live?” shouted the lion. “Take me to him at once. I shall tear him into two pieces”.

The rabbit humble said,”certainly, my Lord, I shall. Please come with me”.

The rabbit led the lion to a deep well. He then pointed at the well and said,”Sir, that lion lives in the cave there inside the earth”.

The lion looked in that direction, but could see no one. He looked questioningly at the rabbit and asked, “Where is he?”

The cleaver rabbit was waiting for this opportunity. He lost no time and quickly said, “ Sir, perhaps that lion is hiding inside the cave because he is afraid of you. Please climb on the ledge and look in”.

The lion lost no time. He was so anxious to kill the other lion that he roared and leapt on to the ledge and peered into the well. And lo! There was the other lion exactly like himself. He roared and the other lion roared. He stared at the other lion. The other lion stared back too. He could not stand this challenge any longer. At once he jumped into the deep well and was drowned. He never kenw that it was only his reflection he had seen in the well and not another lion.

The rabbit’s joy kenw no bounds. He clapped his hand, laughed, skipped and hopped all about the field. When the other animals heard the news, they too jumped in joy and rejoiced.

“The lovely little rabbit is our real hero”,They said.

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