Home » General » As Powerful As a Jackal in the Shadow of a Lion [column]

“But uncle, never before has anybody run away from Jackal when he walks alone. People only run away from him when he is walking next to you or in front of you. Don’t you know uncle that there is nothing as powerful and dangerous as a jackal in the shadow of a lion?”

ONCE upon a time, Lion was starving. He felt very weak and dizzy. He had to find something to eat quickly, or else he was going to die and get eaten by the hyenas. The disgrace of having his dead body savaged by laughing hyenas made him shudder.

Lion leaned against a tree and closed his eyes. He felt his weak body slumping to the ground when suddenly he heard some clumsy footsteps in the tall yellow grass. Summoning the remaining energy in his body, Lion pounced on the “thing” that was walking in the grass and pinned it to the ground.

He then looked at the “thing” and discovered that it was a thin and sickly jackal. The Lion paid no attention to the state of the jackal.

He was hungry and had to eat something. He opened his mouth to bite the jackal, but the jackal, with an air of authority said, “Lion, just tell me what are you trying to do?”

Lion said, “I don’t have time for silly questions, and also I don’t talk with my food. I want to eat you because I am starving.”

Upon which the jackal said, “Let me warn you Lion, if you eat me you will be dead before sunset today!”

The Lion was surprised and said, “I have eaten so many animals in my life, and nothing has happened to me. What would happen to me if I eat you poor and miserable-looking jackal?”

Jackal forced a smile and said “Lion, if you kill me there will be an uprising. You see, I am the new king of all the animals in the jungle, and if they hear that you have murdered their king, surely they will mercilessly kill you.”

Lion was disturbed. He knew he was the king of the jungle.

He could not believe his ears and he said, “Since when did you become the king of the jungle? How can you be a king when you are so thin and miserable-looking?”

Jackal said, “I am thin and miserable-looking because governing is not an easy thing. Nhamo nemukuru hazvisiyane Shumba. When I look at you the so-called king of the jungle, I can tell that you have no clue about the hardships of leadership.”

Lion shook his head in disbelief.

“If you want to see how much I am feared as king of the jungle, just follow me and you will see for yourself,” said Jackal walking away.

Lion started following the jackal with a wounded ego. He was now extremely worried about the meaning of all this. Was it really true that this sick-looking jackal was the new king?

The skinny jackal went to the waterhole where all the animals gathered to drink water or to just rest in the shades of the Acacia trees.

When Jackal arrived at the watering hole, the animals saw that behind him was Lion, the king of the jungle. The sight of Lion frightened the animals such that they all ran for dear life.

At that point, the skinny jackal stopped and said to Lion, “You have seen for yourself how much I am feared by all these animals. Did you see how they ran as if they were going to break their legs?”

Lion nodded like a naughty child who is being reprimanded. Then he said, “So, what is the meaning of all this Jackal?”

Jackal said, “Lion, I know you are the big one. You are ger than me and it will be stupid of me to want to be king when I can do with your help in times of trouble. I am suggesting that you be the king of the jungle and I become your deputy. How is that?”

Lion smiled and said, “Now you are talking like a real leader. It’s a deal, from now on you are going to be my deputy.”

Jackal smiled and said, “Thank you boss.” Then Lion said, “I am starving, and if I don’t get something to eat soon I will pass out.”

Jackal said to Lion, “Such a thing should never happen to you my boss. Sit under the shade of that tree while I go home to get you some food.”

So as fast as lightning, Jackal disappeared into the forest. In no time, he was back with the hind leg of a bushbuck. He gave it to Lion who did not waste time and started eating with gusto. In no time, all that was left of the hind leg was a shiny bone and a small black hoof.

Lion stood up and stretched. He shook hands with Jackal and thanked him profusely saying, “I was on the verge of death. You are such a lifesaver and worth being my deputy. I feel much better and g now.”

Lion then went to the waterhole and had a good and long drink. Then he walked majestically and stood in an open space and roared mightily such that the ground shook. Even the skinny jackal was scared to death.

From that day, the skinny jackal was always seen next to Lion. Whenever Lion had a kill, the skinny jackal would also get a share. When the Lion had errands to do, the skinny Jackal would happily do them.

Had it not been for the inquisitive Hare, the skinny Jackal would have continued as the Lion’s deputy.

But, one day the Hare met Lion and on this particular day, Lion had sent the Jackal to run some errands for him.

So, Tsuro the Hare said to Lion, “How is life in the kingdom uncle?”

Lion full of pride said, “Things are much better for me, especially now that I have an efficient deputy to help me run affairs.”

“It is well and good for you uncle, but how can you have made Jackal your deputy when there are better candidates like Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo and even myself your beloved muzukuru?” Hare asked.

Lion smiled and said, “People like Jackal are true and rare gifts from God muzukuru Tsuro.”

“And why do you say that uncle?” Hare asked looking at Lion’s mane that was being tossed by the wind.

“I had nearly lost my position as king of the jungle to Jackal. I really don’t know how he had become king of the jungle without my knowledge, but I saw it with my own eyes that people ran away when they saw him.”

“So what did you do to keep your position?” Hare asked.

“I asked him how the jungle could have two kings, and he acknowledged that since I am bigger and more dangerous than him, I should be the king and he can be my deputy,” Lion explained.

Hare laughed and said, “And you believed that story dear uncle that Jackal was king?”

“Yes, like I said I saw it with my own eyes how much power Jackal has when the animals ran away from him.”

“And where were you uncle when the animals were running away from their supposed king?”

“I was right behind Jackal, we were walking in a file.”

“But uncle, never before has anybody run away from Jackal when he walks alone. People only run away from him when he is walking next to you or in front of you.

“Don’t you know uncle that there is nothing as powerful and dangerous as a jackal in the shadow of a lion?”

Lion went quiet for some time, then he smiled and said, “I see it now.”

Hare said: “You were fooled uncle. You must kill him.”

Lion shook his head and said, “I will not kill him, but instead I forgive him.

“Didn’t Martin Luther King say, ‘We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.'”

Hare was disappointed by Lion’s decision. When Jackal was informed of the change in his role and job description, he did not complain. He was humbled and grateful that Lion had decided to keep him as a personal assistant.

He knew how being the “deputy” to the king of the jungle had helped improve his welfare and social standing.

Source : The Herald

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