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Home » Children's Stories » The Tiger-Eating Jackals Cubs

 

The Tiger-Eating Jackals Cubs

Upendrakishore Raychaudhuri

TRANSLATED BY WILLIAM RADICE

 

A jackal and his wife had three cubs, but nowhere to live.

"Where shall we put the cubs?" they thought. "If we don't get a hole they'll be soaked in the rain and die." After searching for a long time they found a hole, but they could see tiger-prints all round it. "This is a tiger's hole, my dear," said the jackal's wife. "How can we live here?"

"We've searched for so long," said the jackal, "and this is the only

hole we've found. We shall have to live here."

"What shall we do if the tiger comes?" said his wife.

"You must pinch the cubs hard if he does," said the jackal. "They'll squeal, and I shall ask why are they crying? And you will say they want to eat tiger."

"All right," said his wife, "I understand. That's fine." She went happily into the hole, and they settled down there.

A few days passed, and then they saw the tiger approaching. At once the jackal's

wife started to pinch her cubs sharply, and they squealed more than I can say!

"Why are the little ones crying?" asked the jackal in a very deep and ugly voice.

"They want to eat tiger, that's why they're crying," said his wife, also in a deep voice.

The tiger was about to go into his hole, but when he heard the words

"They want to eat tiger", he stopped short. "Good gracious," he thought to himself, "what ever can have got into my hole? They must surely be most dreadful monsters, otherwise would their young ones want to eat tiger?"

Then the jackal said, "Where can we get more tigers? I've caught all that there were and given them to them."

"It's no use saying that," said his wife. "The children won't stop squealing unless you find another one somehow." And she pinched the cubs even harder. "It's all right," said the jackal. "There's a tiger coming now. Give me my jimplong, and I'll ballyram him."

There is no such thing as a jimplong, and ballyram doesn't mean anything either: they were all part of the jackal's trickery. But the tiger jumped out of his skin when he heard the words jimplong and ballyram. "Heavens, I must get away at once," he thought, "or who knows what it will bring and what it will do to me!" And he didn't wait a moment longer. The jackal watched him as he raced off, bounding over bushes and thickets; and when the danger had passed, he and his wife breathed a long sigh of relief.

The tiger ran faster than he had ever run before.

A monkey sitting in a tree was astonished to see the tiger running so fast. "Well I never," he thought, "it's strange to see a tiger running like that. Something very extraordinary must have happened." So he called out to him, "What's happened, brother? Why are you running so fast?"

"Do you think I'm running for fun?" said the tiger, panting. "I had to flee, or I'd have been snapped tip at once."

"But I've never heard of any animal who could catch or eat you," said the monkey. "I don't believe you."

"If you'd been there, my friend," said the tiger, "I'd have seen what you'd have done! It's easy for you to speak from a distance."

"If I'd been there," said the monkey, "I'd have proved to you that there was nothing there at all. You're a fool to be frightened by such nonsense."

The tiger grew very angry at this. "Indeed!" he roared, "I'm a fool am I? And I suppose you're a genius! Come with me – I'll show you the place."

"I'll gladly come," said the monkey, "if you carry me on your back."

"All right, if I must," said the tiger. "Get on to my back and let's go." And with the monkey sitting on him, the tiger made his way back to his hole.

The jackal and his wife had just settled their cubs down when they saw the tiger returning, with the monkey on his back. The jackal's wife quickly rushed over to her cubs to pinch them again; and they started to squeal like the devil.

Then in the same gruff voice as before the jackal said,

"Be quiet! Stop yowling you'll make yourselves ill." "I've told you," said the jackal's wife, "they won't stop until you bring them a tiger to eat.'

"I've sent their uncle to go and get a tiger," said the jackal. "He'll be bringing it any minute now. Be quiet, children!"

Then he said a little more quietly, "Aha! Here is your uncle the monkey bringing a tiger. Don't cry any more. Quickly now, give me my jimplong and I'll ballyram him!"

The monkey had been full of bravery up to now. But when he heard the words jimplong and ballyram he didn't dare stay any longer. With a single jump he leapt up into a tree and disappeared.

What can I say to you about the tiger? He fled in such terror that he didn't stop running for two days.

The jackals had no more trouble after that. They lived in their hole with complete peace of mind.

 

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