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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 215 pages of information about The Talking Beasts.

The rest of the Jackals, seeing him of such a fine complexion, prostrated themselves before him, and said:  “According as your Highness commands!” By this step he made himself honoured by his own relations, and so gained the supreme power over those of his own species, as well as all the other inhabitants of the forests.  But after a while, finding himself surrounded by a levee of the first quality, such as the tiger and the like, he began to look down upon his relations; and, at length, he kept them at a distance.  A certain old Jackal perceiving that his brethren were very much cast down at this behaviour, cried:  “Do not despair!  If it continues thus, this imprudent friend of ours will force us to be revenged.  Let me alone to contrive his downfall.  The lion, and the rest who pay him court, are taken by his outward appearance; and they obey him as their king, because they are not aware that he is nothing but a Jackal:  do something then by which he may be found out.  Let this plan be pursued:  Assemble all of you in a body about the close of the evening, and set up one general howl in his hearing; and I’ll warrant you, the natural disposition of his species will incline him to join in the cry for: 

“’Whatever may be the natural propensity of any one is very hard to be overcome.  If a dog were made king, would he not gnaw his shoe straps?’

“And thus, the tiger discovering that he is nothing but a Jackal, will presently put him to death.”

In short, the plan was executed, and the event was just as it had been foretold.  I repeat, therefore:  “The fool who forsaketh his own party and delighteth to dwell with the opposite side, may be killed by them.”

[1]A dyer’s vat, in Hindostan, is a large pan sunk in the ground, often in the little court before the dyer’s house.

The Mouse Who Became a Tiger

One of low degree, having obtained a worthy station, seeketh to destroy his master; like the mouse, who having been raised to the state of a Tiger, went to kill the Hermit.

In a certain forest, there once dwelt a Hermit whose name was Maha-tapa.  One day seeing a young Mouse fall from the mouth of a crow near his hermitage, out of compassion be took it up and reared it with broken particles of rice.  He now observed that the cat was seeking to destroy it; so, by the sacred powers of a saint, he metamorphosed his Mouse into a cat; but his cat being afraid of his dog, he changed her into a dog; and the dog being terrified at the tiger, at length he was transformed into a Tiger.  The holy man now regarded the Tiger as no way superior to his Mouse.  But the people who came to visit the Hermit, used to tell one another that the Tiger which they saw there had been made so by the power of the saint, from a Mouse; and this being overheard by the Tiger, he was very uneasy, and said to himself:  “As long as this Hermit is alive, the disgraceful story of my former state will be brought to my ears”; saying which he went to kill his protector; but as the holy man penetrated his design with his supernatural eye, he reduced him to his former state of a Mouse.  I repeat, therefore:  “One of low degree, having obtained a worthy station, may seek to destroy his master.”

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