In a green forest by a beautiful river, lived animals of many kinds. There were birds and bees, monkeys and bears, deer and leopards, elephants, and moles; all of these animals had made this forest their home. The lion, who was the king of the jungle, ruled over all these animals.
As is the way of the jungle, some animals eat fruits and plants, and others eat meat. The lion is a meat-eating animal, and he hunted and killed the other animals of the forest to fill his belly. He was much stronger and faster than all the others, and when he was hungry, someone had to die to become his food.
At first, he ate as much as he needed. One animal a day was enough to fill his stomach. Every day he killed one animal and had a healthy meal. But soon, he got greedy. He knew that the others in the forest were slower and weaker than him. And he had no mercy on any of them. He began to kill more and eat more. From one kill a day, he was now killing three to four animals of the forest daily. Deer, monkeys, wild buffalo, no one was safe from his never-ending greed.
While he was enjoying killing and eating as many as he wanted, the others that lived in this forest were scared and worried. They were losing their friends and family, and they were afraid that they would all be dead soon. So, they decided that they should all get together and talk to the greedy lion.
All the animals made a large group and went to his den. He was sitting in his cave after eating a large meal. The bones and blood of many poor animals were lying at the entrance of his home. The others were scared, but one of them spoke up, ‘Oh strong and mighty one, you are killing and eating so many of us every day, soon we will all die and this jungle will be empty.’
The lion did not care at all, he said, ‘I have to eat, and I will eat as many of you as I want.’ ‘You cannot stop me,’ he roared in anger. All of them were scared and quiet, but one brave rabbit replied, ‘but if you kill so many of us every day, what will you eat when we are all dead?’ ‘Soon, there will be no more of us left for you to kill.’
The lion roared in anger, ‘that cannot happen, you need to come up with a plan, or I will kill all of you right now.’ The brave little rabbit responded, ‘one of us can come to you every day, you will not need to hunt anymore, and you will get your food every day.’ Now this king of the jungle was not only greedy. He ate too much, and he had become fat and lazy. Secretly, he was happy with this plan, as he did not want to hunt anymore. So, he agreed to the idea.
From the next day on, one animal came to his den every day. He tore the animal into pieces, ate every last bit, and did nothing but eat and sleep in his cave all day. The others were very sad, but they stuck by the plan. Every day one of them was killed and eaten in the most painful way, but there was nothing they could do about it. So, every day one of them went to die.
Many days passed, and many animals died, and soon it was the turn of the little rabbit. He was afraid and scared and walked towards his death, very slowly. When he reached the den, he was very late. The lion was starving and very angry by now. He roared, ‘who do you think you are, how dare you be so late?’
The rabbit was afraid and trembling. He somehow replied, ‘Oh great one, I was on my way to you as fast as I could.’ ‘But, on my way, I met someone else, much like you.’ ‘But, much stronger, much larger, and much faster.’ ‘I somehow escaped and came here to you.’
The lion was very angry. How could there be someone like him, he was the only king. How could anyone dare to steal his food? He roared at the rabbit, ‘take me to this daring one, who wants to steal my food.’ ‘Who could be stronger, larger, and faster than me, I am the king of this forest.’ ‘Take me to whoever this is that you are talking about.’
He was ready to kill, he was furious, and the rabbit quietly showed him the way. They walked for about an hour until they arrived at a much larger cave. Outside this cave were the bones of many large animals. There were also the pug marks of another lion. But these pug prints in the sand were so much bigger. Even the cave was three times the size of his own home. The lion thought to himself, ‘I am facing a bigger and stronger enemy, look at the bones of the large animals, he has been eating.’ ‘Even his pug marks are so much bigger; he must be gigantic.’
From inside the cave, there came an enormous roar. The roar scared the greedy lion. The ground was shaking, even as someone seemed to be coming out from the cave. At that moment, the lion knew that he would soon be facing one like himself, but so much bigger and stronger. He knew he had to run away as fast as he could, or he would be torn to pieces and eaten, just like he had done to all the others in this forest. And, that’s what he did. He tucked his tail between his legs and ran for his life, far far away, never to be seen again.
Once he was out of sight, all the animals of the forest came out of the cave. The rabbit thanked all of them, as they were the ones who had made the scary roaring sound from inside the cave. The mole was praised, as he was the one to dig into the sand and make the giant pug marks.
Everyone said thank you to the elephant, as she was the one that stomped on the ground from inside the cave, making the earth shake around them. The monkey was appreciated as he had cleverly painted the barks of large trees to make them look like giant bones. Everyone in the forest thanked the rabbit, as all of this was his smart idea to chase away the greedy and cruel lion. With the evil gone, everyone was now safe and happy, and they lived that way for a long, long time.
Moral: There is a solution for every problem, never give up, and accept defeat.