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The Lioness and the Young Jackal

(Story found in:  Franklin Edgerton's reconstruction Durgasimha's Kannada translation Purnabhadra's recension Hitopadesha by Narayana )

A lion and a lioness couple lived in the jungle. They were very happy, as they had given birth to two male cubs, and had newly become parents.
 
The lion was responsible for hunting and providing food for the lion and the two cubs. So, everyday, he would go out in the morning and would come back within evening with food, and provide it to the lioness, who fed the cubs and herself.
 
One day, it was nearing sunset and but the lion had not found any prey after wandering throughout the jungle.
 
He thought of returning empty-handed. On his way, he found a baby jackal. He would finally be able to provide food for his family. But he took pity on the jackal, because it was just a baby. So, instead of killing him, the lion carried the baby jackal home and presented him to the lioness.
 
The lioness said, "My dear, He is only a baby. How can I kill and eat the jackal that you have not killed yourself. Let us then raise the jackal with our own cubs. They will soon like each other and play together as brothers."
 
And so, the lion and the lioness started caring and raising him as their own, without making any differentiation or partiality towards any of them.
 
However, as they grew up, they behaved differently and often fought among themselves. This was because the jackal had different traits of his species. But the lion and the lioness overlooked their childhood actions.
 
One day, as they were playing near their den, a wild elephant approached them. While the young jackal prepared to flee, the young lions rushed forward to attack. The young jackal said, "He is a natural enemy. Come with me, let us go home."
 
The young lions followed him back, but they were amazed by their brother's cowardice. They laughed at their brother, and made fun of him. They even mocked and told the story to their parents. This made the jackal very angry.
 
When the mother lioness talked to the young jackal later, the jackal said, "I am not inferior to them in any action. May it be bravery, or looks or education or intelligence. Look at how they ridicule me! I have promised myself that I will kill them as my revenge!"
 
When the lioness heard these words, she knew immediately what to do. She said, "My son, what you say is true. You are not inferior, but you are a jackal and behave like your species. Many years ago, I took pity on you and raised you among by cubs as my own son. But, now that you talk of revenge, I must ask you to leave."
 
The lioness roared, "Go away, and do not return again, or I shall kill you myself. Return to your clan where you belong."
 
When the jackal heard this, he fled immediately to find his own clan and live among them.
 
The wise indeed say:
Know the truth about yourself and act accordingly.
 
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