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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Specimen of Fable Literature

By Indian Literature

The Ass and the Jackal

From the ‘Pancatantra’: Translation of Theodor Benfey

ONCE an ass struck up friendship with a jackal. They broke through the hedge of a cucumber garden, and ate what they liked in company together. On one night the ass spoke proudly and said, “Behold, son of my sister, how clear and fine the night is! therefore I will sing a song.” But the jackal said, “My dear fellow, what is the use of this noise? Thieves and lovers should work secretly. Besides, thy musical powers are weak. The watchman will find us and kill us. Let us rather eat the cucumbers.” “Alas,” said the ass, “thou livest rudely in the forest and knowest not the magic power of music.” And he sang of music’s charm. “True,” said the jackal, “but thou dost not understand music. It will end in killing us.” “What!” cried the ass, “dost thou think I do not understand music? Listen, then, and I will show thee that I know: there are seven notes, three octaves, twenty-one ‘intermediates’ [etc., etc.]. Thou seest that I understand music. Why wilt thou prevent me from singing?” “Sing, then,” said the jackal, “but wait till I get nearer to the gate.” Then the ass began to bray most fearfully. The watchman, who had been asleep, came rushing up and beat the ass and hung a wooden drag about his neck; but the jackal escaped. And when the watchman had gone away again, the jackal cried from afar to the ass and said, “Uncle, thou wouldst not quit. Now thou wearest a new jewel as reward for thy song.”