Wednesday, December 21, 2016

THE STORY OF THE DOE AND THE RAVEN (Elementary-Intermediate level)

The doe and the raven were great friends, and lived together in the shade of the same tree. And one day a jackal, seeing the doe, and finding her to be fat and good to eat, said to her "Oh friend, what are you doing there? I am charmed to see you, and, if you permit, would like to swear eternal friendship." But the doe said "How can there be friendship between the likes of us? We are sworn foes. If you get hold of me, you will eat me. I am your food." But the jackal, on hearing this, pretended to be mightily grieved, and said "What you observe is true enough, and that is just why all my family are dead and I alone am left. And, considering these things, I, for my part, am turned Hindu, eat no flesh, and have vowed friendship to all animals. So you need be in no fear of me." To which the doe attached implicit credence, and so they two walked together under the trees. But the raven came up and said all he could to induce the doe to abandon the fellowship of the jackal. But, as he could not prevail with her, he told her the following story: "Once upon a time there were two friends. And they vowed that if ever they fell into danger, they should on no account leave one another. And one day they were going through the jungle together, when they met a bear. Now, one of them could climb trees, and the other could not. And when the bear pursued them, the one scrambled up into the first tree he met. But the other, not knowing what else to do, lay on the ground, and, pretending to be dead, held his breath. And the bear, coming and sniffing at him, and finding him apparently dead, left him. Then his friend, shouting to him from the tree, said "What was it that the bear whispered to you?" And he replied "The bear said to me 'never make friends with men like that fellow in the tree.'" "And so," said the raven, "will it be with you and your friend the jackal." For all that, the doe refused to listen, and after some days the jackal, when walking out with the doe, spied a snare, and thrust her into it. And when she bade him bite the cords and loose her, he reminded her of his vows and of the fact that the cords were of hide. Then the raven, after long searching, came up and found the doe in the toils, and set to work to devise a remedy. And when the day was dawning he said to the doe "You swell out your belly, and hold your breath, and when I give the word, run for your life." Presently, the owner of the snare came up, spear in hand, and, seeing his quarry seemingly dead, loosed her bonds. Upon which the raven cawed loudly, and the doe, jumping up, ran for her life. But the hunter, seizing his spear, threw it after her. And the spear missed the doe, and pierced the wicked jackal, who died. And that's all!

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