Tag Archives: Jackal

The Elephant and the Jackal

Informant: There is one tale that I remember from when I was like… super young. Like an Indian folktale.


Interviewer: Yeah sure, let’s hear it.


Informant: It’s called The Elephant and the Jackal. There was once an Elephant that was a monster, and like, he would rampage across the forests destroying trees, and that would also destroy like, bird nests and stuff. Not even the Lions or Tigers wanted to mess with it.

One day, the Elephant destroyed the Jackal’s nest during one of his rampages. The animals finally decided to call a meeting to figure out how to kill it but, no one stepped up because they were afraid of the Elephant and his massive size.

The Jackals were really pissed about the nest, so they held another meeting. They had decided to take out the Elephant once and for all, but failed to come up with a plan. But then, an Old Jackal said he knew what to do.

The next day, the Old Jackal went to the Elephant, and like, bowed and revered him, and told him “Oh great Elephant! The other animals and I held a meeting and decided that someone as big and powerful as you should be the King of all animals.” The Elephant didn’t think much of it, and let the Jackal keep praising him. The Jackal then told the Elephant that all the other animals were like, a bunch of animals were waiting for his coronation ceremony, and that he should come with.


Interviewer: So the Elephant took the bait completely…


Informant: Yeah, like. The Elephant, drunk in his ego, followed the Jackal deep into the forest, where the trees were thick and it was like, hard to see for the Elephant. The Jackal then led the Elephant through a patch of quicksand, but since the Jackal was old and light, he could get through. When the Elephant stepped into the quicksand though, he like, got stuck and started sinking very fast. The Elephant cried out and asked the Jackal to help him, but the Jackal told him that he had been a massive **** and had destroyed the lives and homes of many animals, and like, someone like him didn’t deserve any help. The Jackal left to tell the other animal, while the Elephant sunk to his death in the quicksand.




During one of my club meetings, I brought up the Collection Project, and amongst the responses I got, the informant told me some interesting Indian folklore.



This was just a simple märchen with a simple message. Bad things happen to bad people. I guess there is also a secondary message that with age comes knowledge, seen as it was an old jackal that managed to bring down the elephant, out of all the animals. Could even be stretched to a brain over brawn analogy too, seeing as not even the lions or tigers dared to face the elephant.


The Jackal and the Drum

“So there’s this Panchatantra story my mother read me when I was younger about a Jackal.  So this Jackal was wondering this field looking for food when he heard this terrible and loud and scary noise.  The Jackal wanted to run away, and did for a little bit, until he realized that he should find the source of the noise before he decides if he should be scared of it.  So, the Jackal takes all the courage he has and approaches the source of the noise, and finds out it’s just some branches scraping against a drum.  And right next to the drum that the Jackal was so scared of was a ton of food and water for the Jackal that he never would have found if he had run.  My mother always told this story to encourage me to be more brave like the Jackal was, and I really appreciate her for doing that for me.”


This is a great piece of folklore because the informant not only remembers the story extremely well, but also remembers the meaning behind the story.  I think the meaning behind the folklore is one of the most important parts of folklore, and whenever I see that an informant remembers only the folklore story but not the meaning or lesson behind it, it saddens me.  So, naturally, this piece of folklore really uplifted me because the informant took the lesson behind the folklore and really held onto it tightly, something I think that should be done more often.