The Adventures Of The Jackal's Eldest Son

: The Orange Fairy Book

Now, though the jackal was dead, he had left two sons behind him, every

whit as cunning and tricky as their father. The elder of the two was a

fine handsome creature, who had a pleasant manner and made many

friends. The animal he saw most of was a hyena; and one day, when they

were taking a walk together, they picked up a beautiful green cloak,

which had evidently been dropped by some one riding across the plain on
/> a camel. Of course each wanted to have it, and they almost quarrelled

over the matter; but at length it was settled that the hyena should

wear the cloak by day and the jackal by night. After a little while,

however, the jackal became discontented with this arrangement,

declaring that none of his friends, who were quite different from those

of the hyena, could see the splendour of the mantle, and that it was

only fair that he should sometimes be allowed to wear it by day. To

this the hyena would by no means consent, and they were on the eve of a

quarrel when the hyena proposed that they should ask the lion to judge

between them. The jackal agreed to this, and the hyena wrapped the

cloak about him, and they both trotted off to the lion's den.

The jackal, who was fond of talking, at once told the story; and when

it was finished the lion turned to the hyena and asked if it was true.

'Quite true, your majesty,' answered the hyena.

'Then lay the cloak on the ground at my feet,' said the lion, 'and I

will give my judgment.' So the mantle was spread upon the red earth,

the hyena and the jackal standing on each side of it.

There was silence for a few moments, and then the lion sat up, looking

very great and wise.

'My judgment is that the garment shall belong wholly to whoever first

rings the bell of the nearest mosque at dawn to-morrow. Now go; for

much business awaits me!'

All that night the hyena sat up, fearing lest the jackal should reach

the bell before him, for the mosque was close at hand. With the first

streak of dawn he bounded away to the bell, just as the jackal, who had

slept soundly all night, was rising to his feet.

'Good luck to you,' cried the jackal. And throwing the cloak over his

back he darted away across the plain, and was seen no more by his

friend the hyena.

After running several miles the jackal thought he was safe from

pursuit, and seeing a lion and another hyena talking together, he

strolled up to join them.

'Good morning,' he said; 'may I ask what is the matter? You seem very

serious about something.'

'Pray sit down,' answered the lion. 'We were wondering in which

direction we should go to find the best dinner. The hyena wishes to go

to the forest, and I to the mountains. What do you say?'

'Well, as I was sauntering over the plain, just now, I noticed a flock

of sheep grazing, and some of them had wandered into a little valley

quite out of sight of the shepherd. If you keep among the rocks you

will never be observed. But perhaps you will allow me to go with you

and show you the way?'

'You are really very kind,' answered the lion. And they crept steadily

along till at length they reached the mouth of the valley where a ram,

a sheep and a lamb were feeding on the rich grass, unconscious of their


'How shall we divide them?' asked the lion in a whisper to the hyena.

'Oh, it is easily done,' replied the hyena. 'The lamb for me, the

sheep for the jackal, and the ram for the lion.'

'So I am to have that lean creature, which is nothing but horns, am I?'

cried the lion in a rage. 'I will teach you to divide things in that

manner!' And he gave the hyena two great blows, which stretched him

dead in a moment. Then he turned to the jackal and said: 'How would

you divide them?'

'Quite differently from the hyena,' replied the jackal. 'You will

breakfast off the lamb, you will dine off the sheep, and you will sup

off the ram.'

'Dear me, how clever you are! Who taught you such wisdom?' exclaimed

the lion, looking at him admiringly.

'The fate of the hyena,' answered the jackal, laughing, and running off

at his best speed; for he saw two men armed with spears coming close

behind the lion!

The jackal continued to run till at last he could run no longer. He

flung himself under a tree panting for breath, when he heard a rustle

amongst the grass, and his father's old friend the hedgehog appeared

before him.

'Oh, is it you?' asked the little creature; 'how strange that we should

meet so far from home!'

'I have just had a narrow escape of my life,' gasped the jackal, 'and I

need some sleep. After that we must think of something to do to amuse

ourselves.' And he lay down again and slept soundly for a couple of


'Now I am ready,' said he; 'have you anything to propose?'

'In a valley beyond those trees,' answered the hedgehog, 'there is a

small farmhouse where the best butter in the world is made. I know

their ways, and in an hour's time the farmer's wife will be off to milk

the cows, which she keeps at some distance. We could easily get in at

the window of the shed where she keeps the butter, and I will watch,

lest some one should come unexpectedly, while you have a good meal.

Then you shall watch, and I will eat.'

'That sounds a good plan,' replied the jackal; and they set off


But when they reached the farmhouse the jackal said to the hedgehog:

'Go in and fetch the pots of butter and I will hide them in a safe


'Oh no,' cried the hedgehog, 'I really couldn't. They would find out

directly! And, besides, it is so different just eating a little now

and then.'

'Do as I bid you at once,' said the jackal, looking at the hedgehog so

sternly that the little fellow dared say no more, and soon rolled the

jars to the window where the jackal lifted them out one by one.

When they were all in a row before him he gave a sudden start.

'Run for your life,' he whispered to his companion; 'I see the woman

coming over the hill!' And the hedgehog, his heart beating, set off as

fast as he could. The jackal remained where he was, shaking with

laughter, for the woman was not in sight at all, and he had only sent

the hedgehog away because he did not want him to know where the jars of

butter were buried. But every day he stole out to their hiding-place

and had a delicious feast.

At length, one morning, the hedgehog suddenly said:

'You never told me what you did with those jars?'

'Oh, I hid them safely till the farm people should have forgotten all

about them,' replied the jackal. 'But as they are still searching for

them we must wait a little longer, and then I'll bring them home, and

we will share them between us.'

So the hedgehog waited and waited; but every time he asked if there was

no chance of getting jars of butter the jackal put him off with some

excuse. After a while the hedgehog became suspicious, and said:

'I should like to know where you have hidden them. To-night, when it

is quite dark, you shall show me the place.'

'I really can't tell you,' answered the jackal. 'You talk so much that

you would be sure to confide the secret to somebody, and then we should

have had our trouble for nothing, besides running the risk of our necks

being broken by the farmer. I can see that he is getting disheartened,

and very soon he will give up the search. Have patience just a little


The hedgehop said no more, and pretended to be satisfied; but when some

days had gone by he woke the jackal, who was sleeping soundly after a

hunt which had lasted several hours.

'I have just had notice,' remarked the hedgehog, shaking him, 'that my

family wish to have a banquet to-morrow, and they have invited you to

it. Will you come?'

'Certainly,' answered the jackal, 'with pleasure. But as I have to go

out in the morning you can meet me on the road.'

'That will do very well,' replied the hedgehog. And the jackal went to

sleep again, for he was obliged to be up early.

Punctual to the moment the hedgehog arrived at the place appointed for

their meeting, and as the jackal was not there he sat down and waited

for him.

'Ah, there you are!' he cried, when the dusky yellow form at last

turned the corner. 'I had nearly given you up! Indeed, I almost wish

you had not come, for I hardly know where I shall hide you.'

'Why should you hide me anywhere?' asked the jackal. 'What is the

matter with you?'

'Well, so many of the guests have brought their dogs and mules with

them, that I fear it may hardly be safe for you to go amongst them.

No; don't run off that way,' he added quickly, 'because there is

another troop that are coming over the hill. Lie down here, and I will

throw these sacks over you; and keep still for your life, whatever


And what did happen was, that when the jackal was lying covered up,

under a little hill, the hedgehog set a great stone rolling, which

crushed him to death.

[Contes Berberes.]