The Little Jackal and the Camel

by Sara Cone Bryant

All these stories about the little Jackal that I have told you, show how clever the little Jackal was. But you know—if you don't, you will when you are grown up— that no matter how clever you are, sooner or later you surely meet some one who is cleverer. It is always so in life. And it was so with the little Jackal. This is what happened.

The little Jackal was, as you know, exceedingly fond of shell-fish, especially of river crabs. Now there came a time when he had eaten all the crabs to be found on his own side of the river. He knew there must be plenty on the other side, if he could only get to them, but he could not swim.

One day he thought of a plan. He went to his friend the Camel, and said,—

"Friend Camel, I know a spot where the sugar-cane grows thick; I'll show you the way, if you will take me there."

"Indeed I will," said the Camel, who was very fond of sugar-cane. "Where is it?"

"It is on the other side of the river," said the little Jackal; "but we can manage it nicely, if you will take me on your back and swim over."

The Camel was perfectly willing, so the little Jackal jumped on his back, and the Camel swam across the river, carrying him. When they were safely over, the little Jackal jumped down and showed the Camel the sugar-cane field; then he ran swiftly along the river bank, to hunt for crabs; the Camel began to eat sugar-cane. He ate happily, and noticed nothing around him.

Now, you know, a Camel is very big, and a Jackal is very little. Consequently, the little Jackal had eaten his fill by the time the Camel had barely taken a mouthful. The little Jackal had no mind to wait for his slow friend; he wanted to be off home again, about his business. So he ran round and round the sugar-cane field, and as he ran he sang and shouted, and made a great hullabaloo.

Of course, the villagers heard him at once.

"There is a Jackal in the sugar-cane," they said; "he will dig holes and destroy the roots; we must go down and drive him out." So they came down, with sticks and stones. When they got there, there was no Jackal to be seen; but they saw the great Camel, eating away at the juicy sugar-cane. They ran at him and beat him, and stoned him, and drove him away half dead.

When they had gone, leaving the poor Camel half killed, the little Jackal came dancing back from somewhere or other.

"I think it's time to go home, now," he said; "don't you?"

"Well, you ARE a pretty friend!" said the Camel. "The idea of your making such a noise, with your shouting and singing! You brought this upon me. What in the world made you do it? Why did you shout and sing?"

"Oh, I don't know WHY," said the little Jackal,—"I always sing after dinner!"

"So?" said the Camel, "Ah, very well, let us go home now."

He took the little Jackal kindly on his back and started into the water. When he began to swim he swam out to where the river was the very deepest. There he stopped, and said,—

"Oh, Jackal!"

"Yes," said the little Jackal.

"I have the strangest feeling," said the Camel,—"I feel as if I must roll over."

"'Roll over'!" cried the Jackal. "My goodness, don't do that! If you do that, you'll drown me! What in the world makes you want to do such a crazy thing? Why should you want to roll over?"

"Oh, I don't know WHY," said the Camel slowly, "but I always roll over after dinner!"

So he rolled over.

And the little Jackal was drowned, for his sins, but the Camel came safely home.