The Camel and the Jackal

Improve Your Vocabulary through Stories

Once a crafty jackal lived by the side of a river. The supply of crabs on his side of river had depleted and he sat there on the bank contriving a plan to pay a visit to the other side of the river where he was sure lay a huge cache of delectable crabs. The river was too deep for him and he needed someone to carry him across it. Just then, he saw a weak and famished camel nibbling at some dried grass. The jackal conjectured that this ruminant, known popularly as the ship of the desert could easily carry him across the river.

The Jackal, cunning and sly,
Pretended to befriend the Camel with a lie,
"Take me across the river, my friend so kind,
And I'll repay you in treasure you'll surely find."

He told the camel that there was a sugarcane field on the opposite side of the river and entreated him to carry him across the river in return for the proprietary information. The camel agreed and so both of them crossed the river in the afternoon. The jackal had a sumptuous lunch feeding on crabs and was soon full, but the camel was a big and slow animal and had been hungry for weeks. The jackal waited for sometime. He was getting bored and petulant and he wanted to return home. So he thought of playing a trick. He ran around the sugarcane field howling. This woke up the farmers who were having a nice afternoon siesta. The farmers battered the camel black and blue. The camel plunged into the river to save itself. The jackal hiding nearby quickly jumped on its back. The camel who felt betrayed asked the jackal to explain its treacherous behaviour. The jackal replied that it was his genetic disposition to exercise its vocal chords after a lavish lunch. The camel said nothing.

The Camel said nothing though,
To avenge the Jackal who deceived him so,
He knew he'd been tricked, and felt such shame,
But he couldn't let the Jackal win this game.

In the middle of the river, the camel stopped and told the jackal about a traditional therapy resorted to by camels whenever their back ached. The camel started rolling in the water throwing the jackal floundering into the water. The perfidious jackal was thus taught a lesson.

1. deplete: reduce in number, quantity etc.

The number of pilgrims has depleted considerably this year because of the harsh winter.

2. contrive: devise; plan or make resourcefully or with skill

The corrupt staff contrived in vain to trap the honest clerk.

3. cache: hiding place for treasure; store; stock

A huge cache of arms has been made available to the terrorists by the enemy.

4. delectable: delicious

An assorted range of delectable dishes was laid for the guest of honour.

5. famished: extremely hungry

The famished crow struck furiously at the dried piece of bread.

6. conjecture: formation of an opinion on incomplete information; guessing

Though there were no witnesses to the crime, everyone conjectured that the butler was the murderer.

7. ruminant: animal that chews the cud

Of all the ruminants the cow is the most docile and the camel the most dumb.

8. entreat: ask earnestly

The students entreated the teacher to indicate the probable questions of the final examination.

9. proprietary: held in private ownership

The company uses proprietary formula for making its products.

10. sumptuous: lavish

The tourists were advised to start with a sumptuous breakfast as they would return to the hotel only in the evening.

11. petulant: peevishly impatient or irritable

The petulance of my husband especially while shopping gets on my nerves.

12. batter: beat, strike, hit

The battered donkey left his master and came to the town to find better employment.

13. treacherous: unreliable, likely to betray trust

He would have succeeded in his business but his treacherous friend deceived him.

14. disposition: natural tendency; temperament

The child showed an early disposition to becoming an artist.

15. flounder: struggle helplessly as if wading in mud

As the cat floundered in the dirty pool, the mischievous boys watched with amusement.

16. perfidious: deceitful and untrustworthy

The perfidious military attack launched by the neighbouring country was condemned by all.