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THE LITTLE JACKAL AND THE CAMEL

from Stories To Tell Children





All these stories about the little Jackal that I have told you, show how
clever the little Jackal was. But you know--if you don't, you will when
you are grown up--that no matter how clever you are, sooner or later you
surely meet some one who is more clever. It is always so in life. And it
was so with the little Jackal. This is what happened.

The little Jackal was, as you know, exceedingly fond of shell-fish,
especially of river crabs. Now there came a time when he had eaten all
the crabs to be found on his own side of the river. He knew there must
be plenty on the other side, if he could only get to them, but he could
not swim.

One day he thought of a plan. He went to his friend the Camel, and
said,--

"Friend Camel, I know a spot where the sugar-cane grows thick; I'll show
you the way, if you will take me there."

"Indeed I will," said the Camel, who was very fond of sugar-cane. "Where
is it?"

"It is on the other side of the river," said the little Jackal; "but we
can manage it nicely, if you will take me on your back and swim over."

The Camel was perfectly willing, so the little Jackal jumped on his
back, and the Camel swam across the river, carrying him. When they were
safely over, the little Jackal jumped down and showed the Camel the
sugar-cane field; then he ran swiftly along the river bank, to hunt for
crabs; the Camel began to eat sugar-cane. He ate happily, and noticed
nothing around him.

Now, you know, a Camel is very big, and a Jackal is very little.
Consequently, the little Jackal had eaten his fill by the time the Camel
had barely taken a mouthful. The little Jackal had no mind to wait for
his slow friend; he wanted to be off home again, about his business. So
he ran round and round the sugar-cane field, and as he ran he sang and
shouted, and made a great hullabaloo.

Of course, the villagers heard him at once.

"There is a Jackal in the sugar-cane," they said; "he will dig holes and
destroy the roots; we must go down and drive him out." So they came
down, with sticks and stones. When they got there, there was no Jackal
to be seen; but they saw the great Camel, eating away at the juicy
sugar-cane. They ran at him and beat him, and stoned him, and drove him
away half dead.

When they had gone, leaving the poor Camel half killed, the little
Jackal came dancing back from somewhere or other.

"I think it's time to go home, now," he said; "don't you?"

"Well, you _are_ a pretty friend!" said the Camel. "The idea of your
making such a noise, with your shouting and singing! You brought this
upon me. What in the world made you do it? Why did you shout and sing?"

"Oh, I don't know _why_" said the little Jackal,--"I always sing after
dinner!"

"So?" said the Camel. "Ah, very well, let us go home now."

He took the little Jackal kindly on his back and started into the water.
When he began to swim he swam out to where the river was the very
deepest. There he stopped, and said,--

"Oh, Jackal!"

"Yes," said the little Jackal.

"I have the strangest feeling," said the Camel,--"I feel as if I must
roll over."

"'Roll over'!" cried the Jackal. "My goodness, don't do that! If you do
that, you'll drown me! What in the world makes you want to do such a
crazy thing? Why should you want to roll over?"

"Oh, I don't know _why_," said the Camel slowly, "but I always roll over
after dinner!"

So he rolled over.

And the little Jackal was drowned, for his sins, but the Camel came
safely home.





Next: THE GULLS OF SALT LAKE

Previous: THE BRAHMIN, THE TIGER, AND THE JACKAL



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