6. The Lion, The Jackal and The Man

It so happened one day that Lion and Jackal came together to discuss the affairs of land and state. Jackal was the most important adviser to the king of the forest, and after they had spoken about these matters for quite a while, the conversation became more personal.

Lion began to boast and talk big about his strength. Jackal had, perhaps, given him cause, because by nature he was a flatterer. But now that Lion began to become too boastful, he said, “See here, Lion, I will show you an animal that is still more powerful than you are.”

They walked along, Jackal leading the way, and they met first a little boy.

“Is this the strong man?” asked Lion.

“No,” answered Jackal, “he must still become a man, Oh king.”

After a while they found an old man walking with bowed head and supporting his bent figure with a stick.

“Is this the strong man?” asked Lion.

“Not yet, Oh king,” was Jackal’s answer, “he has been a man.”

Continuing their walk a short distance farther, they came across a young hunter, in the prime of youth, and accompanied by some of his dogs.

“There you have him now, Oh king,” said Jackal. “Pit your strength against his, and if you win, then truly you are the strongest.”

Then Jackal went toward a little rocky hill from which he would be able to see the meeting.

Growling, Lion strode forward to meet the man, but when he came close the dogs harassed him. He, however, paid little attention to the dogs, pushed them away with a few sweeps of his front paws. They howled aloud, beating a hasty retreat toward the man.

Then the man fired his gun, hitting him behind the shoulder, but even to this Lion paid little attention. Then the hunter pulled out his steel knife, and gave him a few good jabs. Lion retreated, followed by the flying bullets of the hunter.

“Well, are you strongest now?” was Jackal’s first question when Lion arrived at his side.

“No, Jackal,” answered Lion, “let that fellow there keep the name. Such as he I have never seen before. In the first place he had about ten of his bodyguard attack me. I really did not bother myself much about them, but when I attempted to attack him, he spat and blew fire at me, mostly into my face, that burned just a little but not very badly. And when I again endeavored to pull him to the ground he jerked out from his body one of his ribs with which he gave me some very ugly wounds, so bad that I had to flee, and as a parting gift he sent some bullets after me. No, Jackal, give him the name.”