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THE OLD JACKAL AND THE ELEPHANT

IN the Forest of Brahma there lived an Elephant whose name was White-Front. The Jackals all knew him, and said among themselves: “If that big brute would only die there would be four months’ food, and plenty out of his carcass.” At this, an old Jackal stood up and pledged himself to find some way to bring about the death of the Elephant. Accordingly, he sought out White-Front and drawing near, greeted him reverentially:

“Your Holiness,” he said, “Do me the honour of casting your eyes upon me.”

“Who are you, and what do you want?” asked the Elephant.

“I am only a Jackal,” answered the other. “But the beasts of the forests have decided that it is not wise to live without a King. Accordingly, they have met in full council, and have sent me to inform your Majesty that they have chosen you as Lord of the Forest. We beg that your Majesty will at once come to the council as a sign that you consent to be our Lord.”

So saying the Jackal led the way at a rapid pace, and was closely followed by White-Front, who was eager to begin his reign. Presently the Jackal brought him to a deep swamp, into which he plunged heavily before he could stop himself.

“Good Master Jackal,” cried the Elephant, “What am I to do? I am up to my shoulders in this quagmire!”

“Perhaps,” replied the Jackal with an impudent laugh, “your Majesty will condescend to take hold of the tip of my tail with your trunk, and let me pull you out!”

Then White-Front knew that he had been deceived. He sank deeper and deeper in the slime, and made many a meal for the Jackals.

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