The Foolish Lion and the Clever Rabbit – A Panchatantra Tale

A lion terrorized and attacked a group of animals every day leaving many injured and killed. The animals worried about their dwindling numbers, held a meeting and approached the lion. They spoke to him of a plan.
“Oh, mighty lion,” said a samba deer, “Please do not attack us. We will come to you one at a time every day. This way you will never go hungry.”
“Alright. I agree to your plan. But remember, if no animal comes, I will kill all of you.”

So one unfortunate animal after another went to him every day and the lion enjoyed the arrangement very well indeed.

One day, it was the turn of a clever rabbit. He thought of a plan to teach the lion a lesson and save all his folk.

He stopped midway on his route to the lion’s den. He pulled out some carrots from a patch, munched on them and settled down for a nap.

The lion who was waiting with growing hunger was very angry indeed. By nightfall, when he was absolutely furious, he spotted the rabbit walking up.

“I have been hungry the whole day and all they send is a puny rabbit! I am going to kill each one of you.”

The rabbit said in a scared voice, “Oh mighty lion. Six rabbits were sent, but a gigantic lion attacked us and ate my friends. He sent me with a message challenging you to a dual. He says that he will kill you and become the master of the jungle.”

“How dare he say that? Lead me to him!” roared the lion.

The rabbit led him through the jungle under the bright moonlight and showed him a well. And sure enough there was lion staring back. The foolish lion mistook his own reflection for his enemy and jumped right in. And that was the end of him.

The clever rabbit scampered back to tell the good news to all his friends.

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