Hello, This is Jana, and I’m here with a story from The Panchatantra about a Jackal. The Panchatantra is an Indian collection of animal fables written in the ancient language of Sanskrit. It was composed around the 3rd century BCE.
A jackal is a little like a fox. In stories, Jackals are often depicted as low-life characters. In Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book", the jackal character is Tabaqui. The other animals do not like him because he is always toadying up to Shere Khan, the tiger.
In this story, The jackal’s name is Chandaraka which means Ray of the Moon in Sanskrit.
We think you will find this story lively and amusing.
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Now on with our story.
There was once a jackal called Chandaraka. He had a lean and hungry look and was always searching for scraps of food. If he stumbled upon a bone, he would gnaw on it for hours. He had not the slightest qualm about stealing eggs from a bird’s nest. The rubbish dump outside the village was one of his favourite places to dine. No matter how rotten the food was, it was good enough for Chandaraka.
When he met other animals, he was most respectful, especially if they were larger than he was, and had sharper teeth and claws. He would bow down before the Lion, his tail wagging submissively, saying, "Great Lord of the Jungle, Your Majesty's presence graces us all.” He would grovel before the Tiger, lauding his fearsome stripes and unparalleled hunting skills, and he would fawn over the Elephant, extolling his wisdom and immense strength.
And if any of these big beasts of the jungle left him so much as the tiniest morsel of food, he would express his gratitude as if he had been given the greatest feast.
Normally, he kept away from humans in case they threw rocks at him or even spears. But one morning, Chandaraka felt a deep, gnawing hunger in his belly. Indeed, his stomach growled almost as fiercely as a tiger! His hunger pulled him towards the entrance to the village, where the smell of dosa and masala vada reached his nose. As he inched closer, a dog lying unnoticed suddenly sprang up and dashed at him, teeth bared, letting out ferocious growls. I needn’t tell you, Chandaraka ran for his life, not even caring what direction he was taking.
"Help, help!" Chandaraka wailed as he bolted, but his desperate cries and the barking of his pursuer only roused the other village dogs, who eagerly joined in the pursuit. He zigzagged through the market stalls, the pack of dogs snapping at his heels, leaving chaos in his wake. In his frantic escape, he darted between the legs of a storekeeper, causing him to stumble and fall, while the pursuing dogs knocked over bins and baskets, sending fruits and spices scattering in all directions.
Chandaraka dashed into a house where a man dipped clothes into dyes of vibrant colours. The Jackal darted among the hanging clothes, smearing his face with vibrant hues, but he could still hear the dogs coming after him.
In a last-ditch effort to escape, he leapt into a vat filled with blue dye.
Submerged in the pot, Chandaraka held his breath. The dye seeped into his eyes, ears, nose, and every pore of his body. Outside, he could hear the barking of the dog. Chandaraka's entire body was drenched in blue dye.
After some time, sensing that everything had calmed down, he cautiously poked his head out of the pot. Detecting no sign or scent of the dogs, he mustered the courage to climb out.
Just then, the laughter and chatter of children reached his ears. The dyer's family had come to collect the clothes and were startled to see a strange blue creature emerging from the vat. The entire family screamed "O.. O!!" and scattered in all directions.
Seizing the opportunity, Chandaraka bolted from the house and sprinted into the forest, his fur now a vibrant shade of blue.
The unusually coloured creature elicited awe and fear among the other animals. The monkeys fell silent mid-sentence, their eyes bulging with astonishment. A normally quiet elephant let out a surprised trumpet, scattering a congregation of birds into a fluttering frenzy. Even the Tiger believed that a higher power had descended upon the forest, for blue is the hue associated with the gods.
How should the animals behave before this divine stranger?
They chose the wise old turtle as their go-between. The turtle, carrying the weight of this responsibility on his back, slowly approached Chandaraka. With a bow, he greeted the blue-hued creature. "Oh Divine One, we are humbled by your presence. May we know the purpose of your visit to our humble abode?"
Chandaraka suddenly finding himself the object of reverence, was delighted and decided to milk the situation for all it was worth. He proclaimed:
“Fear not, please inform my fellow creatures of the forest that I am a special envoy sent by Indra, king of the gods, to rule over this jungle and bring order to your chaotic lives. In return, I ask only for your loyalty and a small tribute of food each day.”
The animals, eager to please their new king, readily agreed to his terms. From that day forward, they brought the blue jackal their choicest morsels of food and treated him with the reverence reserved for a god or a king.
He appointed the tiger as his prime minister, the peacock as his messenger, and the monkeys as his attendants. Anyone wishing to speak to the Divine One had to kneel. And of course, if they wanted a favourable judgement, they brought some tasty treats - delectable fruits, sweet sugarcane, an abundance of baby rats, and so on - for a royal banquet.
Among all the inhabitants of the forest, only the jackals remained suspicious of their new sovereign. They exchanged whispers, casting furtive glances at the self-styled ruler. 'There is something amiss about this blue Raj,' they murmured.
One fine evening, Chandaraka sat on his favourite rock, enjoying peace and solitude after a busy day holding court. He felt happy and content. His belly was full, and the night air was cool and refreshing. Everything had turned out so well in ways he never expected. He looked up at the bright, full moon. He felt so happy that he couldn't help but let out a long, loud howl of joy: AHOOOOOOOOOO!
The howl did not go unnoticed. A group of mynah birds flying overhead were startled by the sound and immediately recognised it as the call of a jackal. They quickly reported what they had seen and heard to the other animals in the forest.
When the tiger heard the news, he squinted at the Divine Ruler and realised that the blue fur was growing out, revealing patches of grubby grey beneath. It dawned upon him:
“This messenger from the gods is nothing more than a common, deceitful jackal!”
Angry and embarrassed for having been taken in by the imposter, the tiger roared,
"Gather around, everyone! We have been deceived by this rubbish-tip dog who claimed to be a divine envoy sent by Indra! Behold his fur regrows to reveal his true, conniving, crafty, cheating character!”
The other animals were no less angry than the tiger at the deception. Together, they chased the trickster out of the forest, never to return.
And that was the story of the Blue Jackal, read by me, Jana, for Storynory.
Perhaps the moral of this story is that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.
And by the way, Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book, wrote a story called “The Man Who Would Be King.”It tells how two British soldiers in India travelled to a remote village in Afghanistan, where they were mistaken for gods. The story was made into a film with Sean Connery and Michael Cane and has some of the same themes as the ancient tale of the Blue Jackal.
And don’t forget, we now have another podcast called Relaxivity with stories for grown ups. The stories are of a calm and spiritual nature, and they are always fascinating!
Both our podcasts are in all good podcast apps, and we post our stories to YouTube. Our websites are a great place to explore our huge collection of stories. We’ve been telling stories since 2005! We are definitely one of the longest-running podcasts out there. You can find us at storynory.com and Relaxivity.app.