The Lion, the Camel, the Jackal and the Crow (Ugly’s Trust Abused )

In a certain city lived a merchant named Ocean, who loaded a hundred camels with valuable doth and set out in a certain direction. Now one of his camels,  whose name was Ugly, was overburdened and fell limp, with every limb relaxed. Then the merchant divided the pack of cloth, loaded it on other camels, and because he found himself in a wild forest region where delay was impossible, he proceeded, leaving Ugly behind.

When the trader was gone, Ugly hobbled about and began to crop the grass. Thus in a very few days the poor fellow regained his strength.

In that forest lived a lion whose name was Haughty, who had as hangers-on a leopard, a crow, and a jackal. As they roamed the forest, they encountered the abandoned camel, and the lion said, after observing his fantastic and comical shape: “This is exotic in our forest. Ask him what he is.”

So the crow informed himself of the facts and said: “This is what goes by the name of a camel in the world.”

Thereupon the lion asked him: “My good friend, where did you come from?”

And the camel gave precise details of his separation from the trader so that the lion experienced compassion and guaranteed his personal security.

In this posture of affairs, the lion fought an elephant one day, received a thrust from a tusk, and had to keep his cave. And when five or six days had passed, they all found themselves in urgent distress from the failure of food. So the lion, observing how they drooped, said to them: “I am crippled by this wound and cannot supply you with the usual food.You will just have to make an effort on your own account.”

And they replied: “Why should we care to thrive, while our Lord and king is in this state?”

“Bravo!” said the lion. “You show the conduct and devotion of good servants. Round up some food-animal for me while I am in this condition.” Then, when they made no answer, he said to them: “Come! Do not be bashful. Hunt up some creature. Even in my present condition, I will convert it into food for you and myself.”

So the four started to roam the woods. Since they found no food-animal, the crow and the jackal conferred together, and the jackal said: “Friend crow, why roam about? Here is Ugly, who trusts our king. Let us provide for our sustenance by killing him.”

“A very good suggestion,” said the crow. “But after all, the master guaranteed his personal security, and so cannot kill him.”

“Quite so,” said the jackal. “I will interview the master and make him think of killing Ugly. Stay right here until I go home and return with the master’s answer.” With this, he hastened to the master. When he found the lion, he said: “Master, we have roamed the entire forest, and are now too famished to stir a foot. Besides, the king is on a diet. So, if the king commands, one might fortify one’s health today by means of Ugly’s flesh.”

When the lion had listened to this ruthless proposal, he cried out, angrily: “Shame upon you, most degraded of sinners! The moment you repeat those words, I will strike you dead. Why I guaranteed his personal security. How can I kill him with my own paw? “

“Master,” replied the jackal, “if you kill him after guaranteeing his safety, then you are indeed blameworthy. If, however, of his own accord he devotedly offers his own life to his lord and king, then no blame attaches. So you may kill him on condition that he voluntarily destines himself to slaughter. Otherwise, pray to eat one or another of the rest of us. For the king is on a diet, and if food fails, he will experience a change for the worse. In that case, what value have these lives of ours, which will no longer be spent in our master’s service? If anything disagreeable happens to our gracious master, then we must follow him into the fire. “

With this message, the jackal hastened to say to the others: “Well, friends, the master is very low. His life is oozing from the tip of his nose. If he goes, who will be our protector in this forest? So, since starvation is driving him toward the other world, let us go and voluntarily offer our own bodies. Thus we shall pay the debt we owe our gracious master. “

So they all went, their eyes brimming with tears, bowed low before Haughty, and sat down. On seeing them, Haughty said: “My friends, did you catch any creature, or see any?” And the crow replied: “Master, though we roamed everywhere, we still did not catch any creature, nor see any. Master, pray to eat me and support your life for a day. Thus the master will be replete, while I shall rise to heaven”

On hearing this, the jackal said: “Your body is small. If he ate you, the master would scarcely prolong his life. Besides, there is a moral objection.”

“You have shown your loyalty, and have won a saintly reputation in both worlds. Now make way, while I address the master.”

So the jackal bowed respectfully and said: “Master, pray to use my body to support your life today, thus conferring on me the best of earth and heaven. “

Hearing this, the leopard said: “Very praiseworthy, indeed, my friend. However, your body is rather small, too. Besides, he ought not to eat you, since you belong to the same unguipugnacious family.”

Thereupon the leopard bowed low and said:  “Master, pray prolong your life for a day at the cost of my life. Grant me an everlasting home in heaven, and spread my fame afar on earth. Pray show no hesitation.”

Hearing this, poor Ugly thought: “Well, they use the most elegant phrases. Yet the master did not kill a single one of them. So I, too, will make a speech befitting the occasion. I have no doubt that all three will contradict me.”

Having come to this conclusion, he said: “very admirable, friend leopard. But you too are unguipugnacious. How, then, can the master eat you? “

Make way, then, so that I too, may address the master.”

So poor Ugly stood in the presence, bowed low and said: “Master, these you surely may not eat. Pray prolong your life by means of my life, so that I may win the best of earth and heaven.”

Hereupon the lion gave the word, the leopard and the jackal tore his body, the crow pecked out his eyes, poor Ugly yielded up the ghost, and all the others ravenously devoured him

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