ONCE upon a time a Jackal was prowling about the outskirts of a town, when he slipped and fell into a tank of blue dye.

Finding that he could not get out, he lay down in the tank and pretended to be dead. Pretty soon the dyer came back, and finding what looked like a dead Jackal, carried him into the woods and there threw him away. Left to himself, the Jackal found that his natural colour had been changed to a splendid blue.

“Really,” he said to himself, “I am now of the most magnificent colour. Why should I not use it to my own advantage?” With this idea in mind, he called the other Jackals together and thus addressed them:

“Good people, the Goddess of the Wood, with her own divine hand, and with all the magic herbs of the forest, has annointed me your new King. Behold the colour of royalty! From now on you may do nothing without my Kingly permission.”

The Jackals, dazzled by the royal colour, could do nothing else than kneel at his feet and promise obedience. Thus began the reign of the Blue Jackal, which presently extended to the Lions and the Tigers. When attended by such high-born subjects as these, he allowed himself to despise the Jackals, and kept them at a distance as though he were ashamed of them. This made the Jackals very angry. But one of them, who was a wise old beast, comforted them as follows:

“Leave the impudent fellow to me, for I have a plan to ruin him. These Lions and Tigers think he is a King because he has been dyed blue. What we must do is to show him to them in his true colours. When the evening-time comes we must all close about him and set up a great cry together. When he hears us he is sure to join in just as he used to do. And when he joins in the Tigers will know that he is nothing but a Jackal, and will fall upon him and destroy him.”

Everything happened just as their wise old counsellor had foretold; and the Dyed Jackal met the fate deserved by those who desert their own party.

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