One day long ago, Jackal was trotting through a narrow and rocky pass when he came face to face with the Lion, who was coming from the opposite direction. Realising that he was too near to escape, Jackal was afraid, for he had played many tricks on the Lion in the past, and now Lion might take the opportunity to get his revenge.

In a flash, he thought of a plan. He cowered down on the cliff path, looked above him, and cried, “Help!”

Lion stopped short in surprise. He had indeed been just about to leap upon Jackal and give him the beating of his life.

Help!” cried Jackal again, “The rocks are about to fall on us! We shall both be crushed! Do something, O mighty Lion!

The Day the Jackal Fooled the King of Beasts []
The Day the Jackal Fooled the King of Beasts []

Lion looked up too, most alarmed, but before he had time to think, Jackal was begging him to use his great strength to hold up an overhanging rock.

Hold on!” cried Jackal, I’ll run and fetch that log over there to prop under the rock — and then we’ll both be saved!

Lion put his great shoulder on the rock and heaved. While sneering Jackal made his escape, Lion was left all alone to struggle under the weight of the unmoving rock.

How long he remained there before he realised that it had all been yet another trick, we will never know. But one thing is perfectly clear: Jackal had to be twice as wary of Lion from that day onward.

260 words | 2 minutes
Readability: Grade 4 (9-10 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

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