The cruel Elephant and the old Jackal [Hitopdesh Katha]

Written by Swati Joshi

August 10, 2019

Once upon a time, there was a dense forest where lived a variety of animals. There was an elephant in the forest; he had a mark on his forehead that looked like a tilaka so, he was known as Karpurtilaka. 

Elephants are usually kind but Karpurtilaka was very brutal and mean. He used to roam in the jungle without any control. He never cared for the other animals. He also used to ruin the trees and ripped the branches without any purpose. In doing so, he everyday destroyed countless nests with eggs and smashed the young birds under his hefty feet. 

Due to such a merciless nature of Karpurtilaka, all the animals and birds were scared of him. Even the fierce animals like Lions and Tigers also kept a safe distance from this cruel elephant. One day during his arrogant walk through the forest, he carelessly wrecked the burrows of the jackals. This intolerable act of the elephant made the jackals very angry. All the other animals gathered to share their pain.
During their conversation, they concluded that it was almost impossible to control Karpurtilaka due to his enormous size. But, the jackals were so outraged that they were ready to do anything to kill this merciless mighty elephant. But it was not an easy thing to do. They had a long discussion on it but they could not find any solution. Suddenly, an old jackal came forward and said, “Leave this on me. I am going to bring about his death at any cost.” Everyone agreed to help this wise, old jackal in killing ruthless Karpurtilaka.
As per the plan, the old jackal went to Karpurtilaka and knelt down respectfully in front of him. The jackal said, “Your majesty! Care to throw your royal glance at me.” Arrogant elephant looked at the jackal and asked furiously, “Who are you? Why have you come here? The witty jackal replied, “I’m just a poor jackal. My master! You are the largest of all in the forest and also you are kind, gentle and having all the qualities of a ruler. No one can deny your nobility. 
Keeping all these things in mind, all the animals have decided to choose you to be our king. I’m here to request you to accept this offer and do us this enormous favor.”

Karpurtilaka was very much pleased with the praise thrown by the jackal. Jackal finding the time appropriate, further added, “All the animals are eagerly waiting for your kingship ceremony to be held today. They have already gathered in the middle of the forest to get a glimpse of their great king.

Our astrologers have confirmed that it’s an auspicious day today for your crowning ritual. So, my lord! I think we should reach there without any delay.” The elephant looked quite convinced by the jackal’s talk. He always dreamt of becoming a king.

Karpurtilaka thought that the crowning ceremony will be a matter of honor for him. He instantly got ready to accompany the old jackal. They started towards the place where the ceremony was to be held. The jackal led Karpurtilaka deep into the forest walking through a swampy area near the lake.

The jackal easily walked across the muddy area. But, as soon as Karpurtilaka stepped on the mud, he got stuck in it. He tried to come out of the swamp but nothing helped. The more he tried to come out, the more he went deep into it. He got frightened and started calling for help. He asked the jackal to help him. He said, “Friend, please help me get out of this mud. I’m sinking deeper. Call the other animals quickly or their king will die here.”

The jackal replied, “No one is going to save you. You deserve this. You are a ruthless animal. You’ve killed our siblings and kids. You’ve destroyed our burrows and nests of poor birds. You knew everything but had never showed sympathy or concern for us. I’m sorry to say that this is your end.”
Saying this much, the old jackal left the place and the elephant kept crying for help. As it is said that a bad deed always brings a punishment with it, Karpurtilaka sank completely into the deep mud.

The wise, old jackal acknowledged all the other animals about the downfall of the brutal Karpurtilaka. All of them cheered with joy and thanked the old jackal for the great help.

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This Hitopadesha story tells us that every bully is bound to meet his doom. No bad act ever remains without punishment. Tyrants have their downfall sooner or later. Here, the pitiless act of the elephant made all the others suffer a lot. Equally, the elephant had to meet his fate. So, we must keep others’ well-being in mind before we act in all manner of ways.
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