There was a city in a certain region. In a grove nearby, a merchant was having a temple built. Each day at the noon hour the foreman and workers would go to the city for lunch.
Now one day a troop of monkeys came upon the half-built temple. There lay a tremendous anj analog, which a mechanic had begun to split, a wedge of acacia-wood being thrust in at the top.
There the monkeys began their playful frolics upon tree-top, lofty roof, and woodpile. Then one of them, whose doom was near, thoughtlessly bestrode the log, thinking: “Who stuck a wedge in this queer place?” So he seized it with both hands and started to work it loose. Now, what happened when the wedge gave at the spot where his private parts entered the cleft, that, sir, you know without being told.
And that is why I say that meddling should be avoided by the intelligent. And you know, he Continued..
“And that is why I say that meddling should be avoided by the intelligent. And you know,” he continued, “that we two pick up a fair living just from his leavings.”
“But,” said Victor, “how can you give first-rate service merely from a desire for food with no desire for distinction?
“But at present,“ said Cheek, “we two hold no job at court. So why meddle?”
“My dear fellow,” said Victor, “after a little the jobless man does hold a job. “
“Well,” said Cheek, “what do you wish to imply?” And Victor answered: “You see, our master is frightened, his servants are frightened, and he does not know what to do.”
“How can you be sure of that?” asked Cheek, and Victor said: “Isn’t it plain? By virtue of native intelligence I intend to get him into my power this very day.”
“Why,” said Cheek, “you do not know how to make yourself useful to a superior. So tell me. How can you establish power over him?”
“And why, my good fellow, do I not know how to make myself useful?” said Victor.
But Cheek objected: “He might perhaps despise you for forcing yourself into a position that does not belong to you.”
“Yes,” said Victor, “there is point in that. However, I am also a judge of occasions.
“Well,” said Cheek, “when you come into his presence, what do you intend to say first? Please tell me that.” And Victor replied:
“Answers, after speech begins,
Further answers breed,
As a seed, with timely rain,
Ripens other seed.
A clever servant shows his master
The gleam of triumph or disaster
From good or evil courses springing,
And shows him wit, decision-bringing.
The man possessing such a wit
Should magnify and foster it;
Thereby he earns a livelihood
And public honour from the good.
And Cheek replied: “If you have made up your mind, then seek the feet of the king. Blest be your journeyings. May your purpose be accomplished.
Be heedful in the presence of the king;
We also to your health and fortune cling.”
Then Victor bowed to his friend, and went to meet Rusty.
Now when Rusty saw Victor approaching, he said to the doorkeeper: “Away with your reed of office! This is an old acquaintance, the counsellor’s son Victor. He has free entrance. Let him come in. He belongs to the second circle.” So Victor entered, bowed to Rusty, and sat down on the seat indicated to him.
Then Rusty extended a right paw adorned with claws as formidable as thunderbolts, and said respectfully: “Do you enjoy health? Why has so long a time passed since you were last visible?”
And Victor replied: “Even though my royal master has no present need of me, still I ought to report at the proper time. For there is nothing that may not render service to a king.
“Oh,” said Rusty, “you must not say such things. You are our counsellor’s son, an old retainer.”
“O King,” said Victor, “there is something that should be said.” And the king replied: “My good fellow, reveal what is in your heart.”
Then Victor began: “My master set out to take water. Why did he turn back and camp here?” And Rusty, concealing his inner feelings, said: “Victor, it just happened so.”
Friend Victor, did you hear a great voice in the distance?” “Yes, master, I did,” said Victor. “What of it?”
And Rusty continued: “My good fellow, I intend to leave this forest.”
“Why?” said Victor. “Because,” said Rusty, “there has come into our forest some prodigious creature, from whom we hear this great voice. His nature must correspond to his voice, and his power to his nature.”
“What!” said Victor. “Is our master frightened by a mere voice?
So it would be improper if our master abruptly left the forest which was won by his ancestors and has been so long in the family
“Besides, many kinds of sounds are heard here. Yet they are nothing but noises, not a warning of danger. For example, we hear the sounds made by thunder, wind among the reeds, lutes, drums, tambourines, conch-shells, bells, wagons, banging doors, machines, and other things. They are nothing to be afraid of.
My master must take this point of view and reinforce his resolution, not fear a mere sound.
As the saying goes:
I thought at first that it was full
Of fat; I crept within
And there I did not find a thing
Except some wood and skin.”
“How was that?” asked Rusty. And Victor told the story of ‘The Jackal and the War-Drum’.