The Tiger, the Brahmin and the Jackal -- a folklore from India.
Available as printed and illustraded version:
Google Books: "The Tiger, the Brahmin and the Jackal"
The Tiger, the Brahmin and the JackalA tiger found himself caught in a very strong trap. He called out to the holy man, who happened to be passing by, and pleaded with him to free him. The holy man refused, claiming that the tiger would eat him as soon as he was free. The tiger pleaded again with such sincerity that the holy man took pity on the tiger and approached the trap, opening the door.
The tiger jumped out, pinning the man to the ground. "Fool," the tiger said, "I have gone long without food. Why shouldn't I eat you?" The holy man pleaded with the tiger. "If you can find three things who agree that I should not eat you, then I shall let you go," the tiger said.
The holy man first approached a tree. "Don't whine to me," the tree said, "I provide shade and shelter and all I get in return is my branches ripped off to feed the cows. Go away."
The holy man then approached a buffalo, who said, "you expect sympathy from me? I provide milk for the children, and then they tie me to this well so that I will turn the wheel for their water. I'm a slave. Begone!"
Even the road was of no help. "I give everyone a smooth ride from village to village," the road said, "and all they give me is their garbage. Leave me alone."
The holy man's heart was heavy as he turned back to face his fate. He passed a jackal lying in the shade. The jackal asked why the holy man was so sad. After hearing the tale, the jackal scowled, "I'm not sure I understand it correctly, please tell it again." The holy man repeated his story, including more details. The jackal still did not fully understand and recommended they return to the tiger so that he could get a better idea. As they approached the tiger, the beast licked its lips, "you have returned to be my dinner," he said. He looked at the jackal, "why is HE here?"
The holy man explained the jackal's confusion and asked for five more minutes to be able to explain it again to the jackal. "Oh, very well," the tiger said. The holy man faced the jackal and left no detail out of his story. The jackal was still confused. "Again, please," he said. Looking with fear at the tiger, the holy man went through the story one more time, being even more careful about the details.
"My head spins," the jackal said, "I still do not understand." The tiger stood and walked over, irritated, "Fool, let me tell it." He told the tale in his own style, leaving no detail to chance. The jackal just shook his head. "I will MAKE you understand," the angry tiger growled. "I am the tiger," he said, "this is the cage." The jackal nodded. "I was in the cage like this," the tiger continued, "do you understand now?"
The jackal again nodded his head, walked over, and smoothly shut the door, "and this is how things will remain."