Panchatantra – The Jackal & The Drum


Continuing the Panchatantra tales in verse…

(So king Ping-a-laka settled down to hear

Dama-nak-a’s story, all about fear

And an unknown fear, as we all know

Must be faced in order for it to go)

And this dear friends is the tale we’ll hear

About the jackal and the drum he feared


The Jackal and the Drum

A hungry jackal went in search of food

And came to a deserted battlefield

But loud strange sounds made him feel not so good

And he thought to run from the battlefield.

But then he stopped and he said to himself

“I mustn’t run away like that, oh no!

I shall hide and see for my very self

Who’s making this noise that I fear oh so.”

Warily the jackal then made his way

In the direction of that fearful sound

And this your majesty is what he found

A drum that rattled when the branches swayed.

Relieved the jackal then played with the drum

Then tore it open in search of some food

He entered the drum but there was none

“Oh well”, he said to himself “some good…

… has come from this exercise of mine

I no longer fear that horrid loud sound

Of the drum that made me almost whine,”

Said the jackal looking proudly around.

‘Therefore,’ Dama-nak-a said to his king

‘Your majesty shouldn’t fear any noise.

Allow me to go investigating

And find out what so upsets our poise.

So off went Dama-na-ka to find out

What the noise was really all about

But Ping-a-laka began to worry

‘’Should I trust this jackal in a hurry?”

“A suspicious man can be hard to beat

Even so weak, he can’t stand on his feet

But a man who is strong, trusting and kind

Can lose it all because he is blind.

I should keep an eye on Dama-na-ka

He may want revenge,” thought Ping-a-laka

So the king he followed Dama-na-ka

As Dama-na-ka sought the noise maker

When he found that a bullock was the source

He laughed, and he said to himself, “Of course…

“This will get me back in the King’s good books

So back to the king he speedily betook

But on the way there he thought and he thought

To use the information he had brought

So that it would suit him really very well

And carefully planned out what he would tell

The king, when he reached him in the jungle

Bowing so low and looking so humble

He told him he’d found the source of the noise

A great big bullock expressing his joys.

“Is it true?” the king asked looking at him

“The life of a man who lies to the king”

Said Dama-na-ka, and he looked quite grim

“The life of that man is worth not a thing…”

“For a king has the power to grant favours.”

Then Ping-a-laka said without demur,

“I will take you back as my minister

For a great man will not harm the weaker.”

“Sanjeev-aka, is a great big bullock”

Said Dama-na-ka to the royal beast

“I shall go ask him to come and look

And serve your majesty at the very least.”

So back to Sanjeev-aka he did run

And told him, “Will you please stop bellowing

And trust me like I was your only son?

For I’m going to take you to meet our king.”

“So who is this Ping-a-laka your king?”

“Oh bullock! Don’t you really know anything!

Your ignorance I fear will really cost you

There stands our King with his full retinue.

There under that banyan tree up ahead.”

“Ooooh!” thought the bullock, “I’m afraid I’m dead.”

So he turned to Dama-na-ka and said

“You’re a man of wisdom and have a good head, ”

“I’ll meet your king, if you can assure me

On your word, that he will not harm me.”

“Wait here,” said, the jackal to the bullock

As he went to meet the king at a gallop.

And Dama-na-ka said to Ping-a-laka

“The bullock is no ordinary one

He is the vehicle of Lord Shiva

Who has allowed him in the grass to run…

“But I told him the forest belongs to you

The vehicle of Goddess Chandika

That he is a guest and he must try to

Find other pastures, and, King Ping-a-laka

“He seeks assurance from your majesty

To be allowed to graze wherever he wants.”

Said Dama-na-ka, as he bowed seriously,

Looking up at the king with a careful glance.

The king then replied, “Oh, yes, certainly

But I too will need assurance from him

So, Dama-na-ka bring him here quickly.”

With that the jackal went off like the wind

To Sanjeev-aka, to whom he then said

“You have the assurance of our great king

But don’t let this favour go to your head

We’ll work together and then we will bring

Peace unto you and our forest so wide

Show respect for all, the high and the low

Unlike Dantila, who for his false pride

Lost his king’s favour, that story, you know?”

“What story?” asked Sanjev-aka all agog

“Dantila, the merchant, the one who lost all

For he treated the royal sweeper like a dog

When Gorambha the sweep, came to the ball

And that great story my friends I’ll tell you

In the next chapter of these wondrous tales

So stick around me buddies ‘n’ come back soon

For the Panchatantra, in rhyme, won’t fail…


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