THE JACKAL AND THE PARTRIDGE
By Flora Annie Steel
A JACKAL and a partridge swore eternal friendship; but the Jackal
very exacting and jealous. "You don't do half as much for
me as I do
for you," he used to say, "and yet you talk a great
deal of your
friendship. Now my idea of a friend is one who is able to make
laugh or cry, give me a good meal, or save my life if need be.
couldn't do that!"
"Let us see," answered the Partridge; "follow
me at a little distance,
and if I don't make you laugh soon you may eat me!"
So she flew on till she met two travelers trudging along, one
the other. They were both foot-sore and weary, and the first carried
his bundle on a stick over his shoulder, while the second had
in his hand.
Lightly as a feather the Partridge settled on the first traveler's
stick. He, none the wiser, trudged on, but the second traveler,
the bird sitting so tamely just in front of his nose, said to
"What a chance for a supper!" and immediately flung
his shoes at it,
they being ready to hand. Whereupon the Partridge flew away, and
shoes knocked off the first traveler's turban.
"What a plague do you mean?" cried he, angrily turning
companion. "Why did you throw your shoes at my head?"
"Brother," replied the other mildly, "do not be
vexed. I didn't throw
them at you, but at a Partridge that was sitting on your stick."
"On my stick! Do you take me for a fool?" shouted the
injured man, in
a great rage. "Don't tell me such cock-and-bull stories.
insult me, and then you lie like a coward; but I'll teach you
Then he fell upon his fellow traveler without more ado, and they
until they could not see out of their eyes, till their noses were
bleeding, their clothes in rags, and the Jackal had nearly died
"Are you satisfied?" asked the Partridge of her friend.
"Well," answered the Jackal, "you have certainly
made nine laugh, but I
doubt if you could make me cry. It is easy enough to be a buffoon;
is more difficult to excite the highest emotions."
"Let us see," retorted the Partridge, somewhat piqued;
"there is a
huntsman with his dogs coming along the road. Just creep into
hollow tree and watch me; if you don't weep scalding tears, you
have no feeling in you!"
The Jackal did as he was bid, and watched the Partridge, who
fluttering about the bushes till the dogs caught sight of her,
flew to the hollow tree where the Jackal was hidden. Of course
dogs smelt him at once, and set up such a yelping and scratching
the huntsman came up, and seeing what it was, dragged the Jackal
the tail. Whereupon the dogs worried him to their heart's content,
finally left him for dead.
By and by he opened his eyes-for he was only foxing-and saw the
Partridge sitting on a branch above him.
"Did you cry?" she asked anxiously. "Did I rouse
your high emo---"
"Be quiet, will you!" snarled the Jackal; half dead
So there the Jackal lay for some time, getting the better of
bruises, and meanwhile he became hungry.
"Now is the time for friendship!" said he to the Partridge.
"Get me a
good dinner, and I will acknowledge you a true friend."
"Very well!" replied the Partridge; "only watch
me, and help yourself
when the time comes."
Just then a troop of women came by, carrying their husbands dinners
the harvest field. The Partridge gave a little plaintive cry,
began fluttering along from bush to bush as if she were wounded.
"A wounded bird! a wounded bird!" cried the women;
"we can easily
catch it." Whereupon they set off in pursuit, but the cunning
Partridge played a thousand tricks, till they became so excited
the chase that they put their bundles on the ground in order to
it more nimbly. The Jackal, meanwhile, seizing his opportunity,
up, and made off with a good dinner.
"Are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.
"Well," returned the Jackal, "I confess you have
given me a very good
dinner; you have also made me laugh-and cry-ahem! But, after all,
great test of friendship is beyond you-you couldn't save my life!"
"Perhaps not," acquiesced the Partridge mournfully,
"I am so small and
weak. But it grows late-we should be getting home; and as it is
way round by the ford, let us go across the river. My friend the
Crocodile will carry us over."
Accordingly they set off for the river, and the Crocodile kindly
consented to carry them across, so they sat on his broad back
ferried them over. But just as they were in the middle of the
the Partridge remarked. "I believe the Crocodile intends
to play us a
trick. How awkward if he were to drop you into the water!"
"Awkward for you, too!" replied the Jackal, turning
"Not at all! not at all! I have wings, you haven't."
On this the Jackal shivered and shook with fear, and when the
Crocodile, in a gruesome growl, remarked that he was hungry and
a good meal, the wretched creature hadn't a word to say.
"Pooh!" cried the Partridge airily, "don't try
tricks on us-I should
fly away, and as for my friend, the Jackal, you couldn't hurt
is not such a fool as to take his life with him on these little
excursions; he leaves it at home, locked up in the cupboard."
"Is that a fact?" asked the Crocodile, surprised. "Certainly!"
the Partridge. Try to eat him if you like, but you will only tire
yourself to no purpose.
"Dear me! how very odd!" gasped time Crocodile; and
he was so taken
aback that he carried the Jackal safe to shore.
"Well, are you satisfied now?" asked the Partridge.
"My dear madam!" quoth the Jackal, "you have made
me laugh, you have
made me cry, you have given me a good dinner, and you have saved
life; but, upon my honor, I think you are too clever for a friend
And the Jackal never went near the Partridge again.