In a dense forest lived a little kid in a cave with his father ram and mother goat. The forest had plenty of leaves for the three to feed on. Life would have been very happy for this family only if there had been no fear of predators.
There were the big tigers and the cunning and unkind jackals who seemed to be everywhere. Father ram and mother goat were always in great anxiety to keep their kid away from these dangerous animals. Every morning they would go out to bring food, leaving the kid in the cave. They told the kid that he should not go out nor should his young head be seen outside the cave.
The kid was growing, and he wanted to see the world outside. So one sunny afternoon, he crept out of the cave and started walking farther and farther away. He walked past the big banyan tree and the sparkling fountains. Then it started getting dark. Therefore, the kid made up his mind to return.
The poor kid lost his way. He wanted shelter for the night. He came in front of another cave which belonged to a jackal. The animal had gone out. The kid crept into it and decided to stay there till his parents arrived.
At dawn, the jackal returned. He stopped outside the cave, hesitant to enter. He sensed that some strange animal had got into his cave. It shouted in a shrill tone, “Who is there in my home? Come out at once, or else I will kill you in a moment.”
The kid knew what to do. He imitated the voice of a big animal and said, “I am the lion’s uncle who has a bushy, long and strong beard. Ileat fifty tigers for each of my meals. Go, get them.”
The jackal became frightened on hearing this and he thought he must run away before this big animal came out of the cave in search of tigers. And so he did. Panting heavily, the jackal reached the other end of the forest where he met the chief of the tigers.
“Uncle,” the jackal said, “some strange animal has entered my house. It seems to be very big in size and has great strength. This I realized on hearing its ferocious voice. It has asked me to bring fifty tigers for its one meal.”
“Pooh!” said the tiger. “Which animal can eat fifty tigers? Come with me and I will chase it away.”
Meanwhile, father ram and mother goat were searching for their kid. Following the marks of its little hooves, they came to the cave of the jackal and called out for their kid. The kid came out and narrated the story of the jackal. At that moment they saw at a distance the jackal coming towards them along with the tiger.
“Now we are lost,” the father ram said. “Still, let us see what can be done.” They made a plan and all three went back into the cave and waited. When the tiger arrived, the mother goat pinched the ears of the kid who started screaming loudly.
“Why does the baby cry?” shouted the father ram.
“He wants a tiger to eat,” the mother goat replied. “Ever since we came to this forest, he has eaten elephants, bears and buffaloes but no tiger.”
“Yes, yes,” said father ram in the voice of some gigantic animal. “I have sent the jackal to bring fifty tigers here. Please go out and see if he is coming.”
On hearing these words, the tiger’s courage failed. He imagined the baby of some big, giant animal swallowing elephants and thought that his own death was imminent. Without losing a moment, the tiger ran away. The jackal followed him. The more the jackal ran after the tiger in panic, the more the tiger feared that the jackal wanted to catch him for the big animal to eat.
Hearing this incident all the tigers deserted the forest the same day. The jackals feared that the monsters who could no more find tigers would turn to jackals as their next best food. They too left the forest with all their friends and relatives. The kid was now free to roam about as he liked without any fear or danger of being killed by big animals.