Here’s another great story from the Hitopadesha. Once upon a time, there lived a deer and a crow in a dense forest. They were very good friends and often spent time with each other. One day a jackal spotted the deer and said to himself, “Nothing tastes better than deer flesh! I must somehow make friends with this deer and try to get close to him.”
So, he approached the deer and said, “O deer! I am an orphan jackal and do not have any friend in this forest. You appear very kind-hearted to me. Would you agree to be my friend?” The deer was very pleased with the jackal’s mannerisms and took his new friend to his home.
When the crow saw the deer with the jackal, he warned him, “Dear friend, you must be careful!” But the deer did not pay heed to the crow’s warning and continued being friends with the jackal.
One day, the jackal said to the deer, “I know of a big field that is full of fresh corn. Do you wish to go there with me? “The deer happily accompanied the jackal to the corn field. From that day onwards, both of them started visiting that corn field every day. The owner of the field was very annoyed and decided to catch the thief who ate corn from his field. He set a trap in the field and the next day when the unsuspecting deer came to eat the corn, he got trapped in the net.
The jackal saw the deer getting caught in the net and thought, “Once the owner of the field kills the deer, I shall finally get to eat the tasty deer meat for which I have waited so long.” The deer called the jackal for help, but the cunning jackal said, “I am sorry, I cannot do anything! The net seems to be very strong.” Saying so, he walked away from there and hid himself near the field, waiting for the owner to come and kill the deer.
When the crow did not see his friend deer by the evening, he started searching for him and found him lying trapped helplessly in the field. When the deer saw the crow, tears filled up in his eyes and he said, “My friend, I disregarded your advice at first and now I suffer. Tomorrow, I shall be killed by the owner of this field.” The crow felt very sorry for the deer. He thought for a while and then a bright idea struck him. He told the deer, “Listen to me, my friend! When the owner comes tomorrow morning, lie down quietly; make your legs stiff and pretend to be dead. When he will take off the net, I will start cawing. That would be a signal for you to stand up and run away quickly.”
The owner of the field came the next morning and saw the deer seemingly dead. As soon as he removed the net, the crow began to caw loudly. In a moment, the deer stood up and sped away. The owner got very angry and threw a stick at the deer. The deer escaped, but the stick hit the jackal on the head and killed it.
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