A Foolish Offer

Three friends, Jackal, leopard and crow, lived in a jungle and served the Lion, the king of the forest. They worked together to survive in the wilderness. The crow could fly and see far; Jackal was very smart and could develop the best strategies for hunting. Leopard was the fast runner able to catch even the swiftest prey. The Lion was the strongest and could hunt for bigger and stronger animals. They worked well as a team. 

One day, while the friends were wandering in the jungle. They discovered a camel lost in the woods. This camel had separated from its caravan and was feeding itself on the green grass of the jungle. The friends informed their Master, the Lion, about the missing creature. 

The crow, who had traveled afar, knew about this creature. “Master,” he said as he flapped his wings excitedly. “It’s known as a camel, and this creature dwells in villages. This animal’s flesh is delectable, so let us kill it and consume it.”

The Lion, on the other hand, disagreed. “He does not belong to the jungle; thus, he is our guest,” said the Lion.” I will not kill it, so please go and reassure him that no harm will come to him and bring him to me.” ordered the Lion.

The Lion pitied the distressed camel and exclaimed, “Do not be concerned, my friend. You have me as your savior, and you may feed on the grass, which is there in plenty.

The camel was relieved as he was lost and didn’t know anyone in this new land. He was pleased to have found a new home and lived with the three friends. 

One day the Lion got into a fight with a wild elephant. The large and powerful elephant seriously wounded the Lion, leaving him debilitated. He could not go out and seek for himself or other animals that served him. But the team was still strong. The leopard and the Jackal would go hunting for food for their Master every day. Although their hunt didn’t use to big as when Lion was active, they were able to survive. 

But the forest was running out of animals that the leopard and the Jackal could catch. One day they were left with nothing to hunt. The leopard and the Jackal went and said to the Lion, ‘Master, we’ve looked all over but couldn’t find anything to hunt. The camel is the only one who is not very valuable. He is big and can fill all of your stomachs. Can’t we eat it?’ “

The Lion was furious when he listened to what the Jackal and the leopard had said. “I may be weak, but I do not go back on my words. Don’t you remember I had promised the camel his safety in this forest?”

The Jackal replied,” I understand, my lord! But, if you do not eat something, you will die. And without you, we will not be able to survive any longer. The camel is enormous and will fill us for a few days till we look for new territory to hunt.” The Lion roared. He knew that his end was near if he did not eat anything soon. The Jackal said, “It would be a sin to kill him after you’ve given him your assurance of protection, but It would not be a sin to kill him if he made an offer himself and offered himself as food.”

The Lion failed to justify the Jackal and said, “If he offers himself to me, I will not say no and accept it. But only if he offers himself.” 

The Jackal smiled as he had a strategy. He summoned his friends together- the crow, leopard and camel. He said,” “My friends,” he remarked to them all, “for the previous few days, there has been no food for our Master. If this persists, he may die of hunger. So let us volunteer to offer ourselves as food one by one.” 

All the animals agreed as they were very loyal to the Lion.

The leopard was the first to offer and said, “Oh lord! Please kill me and consume me as food. That way, all of you will survive.” The Lion was surprised and said, “You are a family member. How can I possibly consider such a thing?” 

Then it was the Jackal’s turn. He made the same proposal as the leopard, and the Lion rejected it. The crow was next in the line, but the Lion refused the offer from him; anyway, he was too little to be any animal’s food.

The camel was watching all of this and began to consider, “All of them speak about offering themselves with such eloquence, but the Master refuses to kill any. Why would the Lion harm me when he has not harmed any of his loyal servants? So why would he want to kill me? I’ll try and impress the Master in the same manner.” With this, the camel came forward and bowed before the Lion and offered himself up to the Lion. “Master, you don’t have to kill any of these animals. Please eat me instead. In return for your debts, I offer myself to you. If you, please accept my offer, I will find my way to heaven.” said the camel.

The Lion had promised not to reject any offer from the camel, so he kept quiet. 

But to the camel’s surprise, the moment when he finished making the offer, all the animals jumped on him and killed him. 

Moral: Never trust anyone blindly. Always be on guard. Do not be fooled by nice words.

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