Once, a lion was in a very foul mood because his wife, the lioness, had told him that his breath smelled, and he needed to do something about it. The lion acted as if he did not care as he was the king of the jungle, but secretly though, he was worried and wanted to know from others also if he had bad breath.
So, later that day, the lion summoned three of his counsellors – the sheep, the wolf and the fox.
He first addressed the sheep and asked, ‘Tell me, do you think my breath smells?’
The sheep thought the lion wanted to know the truth. So, she humbly bowed before the lion and said, ‘Yes, Your Majesty! Your breath smells terrible. In fact, it smells so bad that it makes me feel sick.”
This was not what the lion wanted to hear. He roared loudly with anger and killed the sheep for her audacity.
Then, he called the wolf and said, “Tell me, O Wolf! Do you think my breath smells?’
The wolf had already seen what the lion did to the sheep when she told him the truth. He had no intentions of ending up the same way. He folded his hands and said, ‘Your Majesty! I wonder who in the world told you that your breath smells! Your breath smells as sweet as the flowers in spring. I simply love to be around you.’
The lion understood that the wolf was lying. His anger knew no bounds. He pounced on the wolf and ripped him to pieces.
At last, the lion called the fox. The fox had seen the fate of the sheep and the wolf. They had both been punished for telling the truth and as well as for lying. So, the fox was caught between the devil and the deep sea. He did not know what to tell the lion. Still, he went near the lion, while desperately thinking of a suitable plan to escape from the lion’s wrath.
“Tell me, O Fox,” growled the Lion, sharpening his claws, “Do you think my breath smells?”
The fox coughed and sneezed and blew her nose, and then clearing her throat noisily, said in a hoarse voice, “I am so sorry, Your Majesty! I have such a nasty cold that I cannot smell anything.”
The lion found her excuse to be genuine, and let her go scot free. This is how the clever fox saved her life.
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