panchatantra story: Jackel and drum

Here’s an overview of the story in around 110 words:

A jackal, intrigued by the thunderous “dhum-dhum” sound of a drum abandoned on a battlefield, assumed a mighty beast resided within its hollow shell. Convinced it was a plump, succulent prey, the jackal summoned his mate, and they devised a plan to attack the drum together from both sides to trap their anticipated bounty. Under the pale moonlight, the jackals pounced, sinking their paws into the drum’s interior, jaws salivating. But their ravenous bites met only air—the fearsome roars emanated from the uncaring winds playing the drum’s taut skin like strings. Crestfallen, the jackals realized their folly, having fallen for the illusion of a formidable beast where there was naught but an empty, hollow drum.

The Jackal:

  • Cunning and opportunistic, always on the lookout for prey
  • Quick to make assumptions based on limited information (the drum’s sound)
  • Overconfident in his assessment of the situation
  • Greedy, imagining a “fat, succulent prey” inside the drum
  • Shows some strategic thinking in planning to attack the drum from both sides
  • Lacks patience and prudence, acting rashly without fully investigating
  • Learns a lesson about not judging things solely on appearances

The Jackal’s Mate:

  • More cautious than the jackal, questioning his plan to attack first
  • Plays a supportive role, following her mate’s lead
  • Represents the voice of reason that the jackal ignores
  • Shares in the disappointment and embarrassment when their plan fails

The Drum:

  • An inanimate object, but portrayed as having a personality of its own
  • Its “dhum-dhum” sound is both alluring and deceptive
  • Represents hollow boasts and false appearances
  • Serves as a reality check, dispelling the jackals’ illusions
  • Teaches the importance of not being fooled by outward signs alone

The Storm/Wind:

  • A powerful natural force that sets the story in motion
  • Responsible for creating the drum’s resonating sound
  • Indifferent to the jackals’ plight, continuing to “play” the drum
  • Symbolizes the unpredictable and uncaring nature of the universe

Overall, the characters, though simple, represent different human traits and serve to convey the moral lessons inherent in the tale.

panchatantra story in english with moral

Once, near a forest, there was a fierce battle between two kings. One won, the other lost. The armies returned to their cities. However, a drum from the army was left behind. The bards and minstrels who had accompanied the army would beat this drum and narrate tales of valor at night.

After the war, one day a storm came. In the force of the storm, the drum rolled and settled near a dry tree. The dry branches of the tree rubbed against the drum in such a way that whenever the wind blew hard, they would strike the drum creating a resonating ‘dhum-dhum’ sound.

A jackal was roaming in that area. He heard the drum’s sound. He became very frightened, as he had never heard such a strange sound from any animal before. He thought, ‘What kind of animal is this that makes such a powerful utterance ‘dhum-dhum’?’ The jackal hid and observed the drum, trying to figure out if this creature could fly or ran on four legs.

One day, the jackal was hiding behind a bush, watching the drum. Suddenly, a squirrel came down from the tree and jumped onto the drum. A faint ‘dhum’ sound was made. The squirrel sat on the drum, nibbling seeds.

The jackal murmured, ‘Oh! So this is not a ferocious creature. I need not be afraid.’

The jackal approached the drum cautiously, sniffing it. He could not see its head or feet anywhere. Just then, the wind made the branches strike the drum again, creating the ‘dhum’ sound, and the startled jackal jumped back and fell.

‘Now I understand,’ said the jackal, trying to get up. ‘This is just an outer shell. The creature lives inside this shell. The sound suggests that whatever creature lives inside must be fat and plump. With a fleshy body. That’s why it makes this powerful ‘dhum-dhum’ utterance.’

Entering his den, the jackal said, ‘O jackal wife! Get ready for a feast. I have found the trail of a fat, plump prey.’

The jackal wife asked, ‘Why didn’t you kill and bring it then?’

The jackal scolded her, ‘Because I am not a fool like you. It is hiding inside a shell. The shell has dried skin doors on two sides. If I tried to catch it from one side, wouldn’t it escape from the other door?’

At moonrise, both jackals went towards the drum. As they neared it, the wind again made the branches strike the drum, creating the ‘dhum-dhum’ sound. The jackal whispered in his wife’s ear, ‘Did you hear its sound? Just imagine how fat and plump the creature inside must be.’

Both the jackals straightened the drum and sat on either side, starting to tear the drum’s skin parts from the edges with their teeth. As the skins started tearing, the jackal said, ‘Be careful. We must put our paws inside together and grab the prey.’

With a grunt, they plunged their paws inside the drum and felt around. There was nothing inside. They had only grabbed each other’s paws.

They cried out, ‘Hey! There is nothing here.’ And they were left beating their foreheads in frustration.

Moral: Even those who make tall claims are often hollow from the inside, like an empty drum.

Here are some key morals that can be derived from the story of the jackal and the drum:

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover/appearances can be deceptive: The jackals were misled by the loud “dhum-dhum” sound into thinking there was a formidable beast inside the drum, when in reality it was empty.
  2. Greed and hasty assumptions can lead to disappointment: The jackals’ greed for a “fat, succulent prey” and their assumption about the creature inside the drum led them to embarrassment when they found nothing.
  3. Look before you leap: The jackals should have investigated the drum more carefully before jumping to conclusions and planning to attack it.
  4. Hollow boasts/bravado are empty: The story likens those who make tall claims to the hollow drum, making loud noises but having no substance within.
  5. Don’t be fooled by outward appearances: The powerful sound emanating from the drum gave a false impression of its contents, teaching not to be misled by external signs alone.
  6. Patience and prudence are virtues: Had the jackals exercised patience and caution instead of acting rashly, they could have avoided the fiasco.
  7. Overconfidence leads to downfall: The jackals’ overconfident belief that they had discovered a great prize led to their eventual dejection.
  8. Teamwork doesn’t always pay off: Despite their coordinated efforts, the jackals’ teamwork did not yield the expected results.
  9. Reality check/disillusionment: The story serves as a reality check, highlighting the importance of not getting carried away by illusions or assumptions.
  10. Wisdom comes from experience: The jackals learned a valuable lesson about not judging things solely based on initial impressions.

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