There was a wide jackal called Mahachaturaka, who lived in a jungle.
One day, as he was wandering about in the jungle in search of food, he saw a dead elephant. He knew that the dead elephant will provide him food for many days. But his happiness soon turned into frustration, as he was not able to tear the elephant’s thick skin. He went round and round, trying his luck from all side, but in vain.
As he was still trying to figure out, the jackal saw a lion approaching. He quickly bowed, and said, “O King of jungle, I found this dead elephant and was keeping a watch over it so that you can have it. Please be kind to eat to your heart’s content.”
But the lion refused, “I eat a prey only when I hunt it myself. That is my nature. Thank you for your offer, but you can have the elephant for yourself”
The lion departed after being thanked by the jackal. But his problem remained. He wondered how he can tear apart the elephant’s thick skin.
At the very moment he saw a leopard approaching. He thought, “I got rid of the lion by being humble, but I have to be cunning in order to get rid of him!”
At once the jackal climbed on top of the elephant and raised his shoulders proudly. He said to the jackal, “O Uncle! You have come here to the very jaws of death! This elephant was hunted by the lion. He asked me to guard it and call for him if anybody was to approach it.”
The leopard noticed the lions tracks nearby, and believed him. He began to tremble in fear. He pleaded, “O Nephew! Please do not tell the lion I was here. I must leave and look for food elsewhere.”
With this, the leopard ran away, after assuring the jackal not to tell the lion that he was here. But his problem remained. He wondered how he can tear apart the elephant’s thick skin.
Now, he saw a tiger approaching. He thought, “I fooled the leopard, but the tiger is not a fool. Besides, he has sharp teeth. If I can have him tear the elephant’s skin, I can finally eat.”
He shouted to the tiger, “Hey Tiger, It is a long time since I have seen you. You look thin and starved. Be my guest. You can eat this lion while I keep a watch for the lion. He killed the elephant and asked me to look after it till he returned. Eat, and don’t worry, I’ll keep a watch.”
The tiger was convinced by the jackal, and delighted. He at once jumped and tore apart a big chunk of the elephant’s skin. Just as he started eating, the jackal jumped, “Here comes the lion, quick! Hide or run away. Here he comes.”
The tiger ran away as fast as possible.
The jackal was finally ready to eat. The tiger had provided him the opening that he needed. Just as he was about to eat, another jackal arrived.
He fought with the other jackal bravely, and chased him away.
Thus, he was finally able to eat the elephant.