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THE LION IN BAD COMPANY

from More Jataka Tales





One day a young Lion came suddenly upon a Wolf. The Wolf was not able
to get away, so he said to the Lion: "Please, Great Lion, could you
take me to your den, and let me live with you and your mate? I will
work for you all my days."

This young Lion had been told by his father and mother not to make
friends with any Wolf. But when this Wolf called him "Great Lion," he
said to himself: "This Wolf is not bad. This Wolf is not like other
Wolves." So he took the Wolf to the den where he lived with his father
and mother.

Now this Lion's father was a fine old Lion, and he told his son that
he did not like having this Wolf there. But the young Lion thought he
knew better than his father, so the Wolf stayed in the den.

One day the Wolf wanted horse-flesh to eat, so he said to the young
Lion, "Sir, there is nothing we have not eaten except horse-meat; let
us take a horse."

"But where are there horses?" asked the Lion.

"There are small ponies on the river bank," said the Wolf.

So the young Lion went with the Wolf to the river bank when the ponies
were bathing. The Lion caught a small pony, and throwing it on his
back, he ran back to his den.



His father said: "My son, those ponies belong to the king. Kings have
many skilful archers. Lions do not live long who eat ponies belonging
to the king. Do not take another pony."

But the young Lion liked the taste of horse-meat, and he caught and
killed pony after pony.

Soon the king heard that a Lion was killing the ponies when they went
to bathe in the river. "Build a tank inside the town," said the king.
"The lion will not get the ponies there." But the Lion killed the
ponies as they bathed in the tank.



Then the king said the ponies must be kept in the stables. But the
Lion went over the wall, and killed the ponies in their stables.

At last the king called an archer, who shot like lightning. "Do you
think you can shoot this Lion?" the king asked him. The archer said
that he was sure he could. "Very well," said the king, "take your
place in the tower on the wall, and shoot him." So the archer waited
there in the tower.

By and by the Lion and the Wolf came to the wall. The Wolf did not go
over the wall but waited to see what would happen. The Lion sprang
over the wall. Very soon he caught and killed a pony. Then the archer
let fly an arrow.

The Lion roared, "I am shot."

Then the Wolf said to himself: "The Lion has been shot, and soon he
will die. I will now go back to my old home in the woods." And so he
did.

The Lion fell down dead.





Next: THE WISE GOAT AND THE WOLF

Previous: THE STOLEN PLOW



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