The Orange Fairy Book HTML version

The Adventures of the Jackal's Eldest Son
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.'