Once upon a time, there was a jackal who was very hungry. He was walking around looking for food when he stumbled upon a place where a king's army had been. It was quiet now and right in the middle of the forest. While he was there, he heard a loud noise that scared him a lot.
He thought something bad was going to happen because of that noise. He looked around to see who was making it and found a big war-drum that looked like a huge hill. He wondered if the drum could make such a sound on its own or if something else was causing it. When the wind blew and touched the drum, it made the loud sound, but otherwise, it was silent.
The jackal realized the drum wasn't dangerous and got closer. He even hit the drum himself and was happy to think that there might be food inside. He thought the drum was full of meat and fat, so he chewed a hole and went inside. But inside, it was just wood and leather, and there was no food at all.
He came out and laughed at himself for being scared of a drum that made noise but wasn't alive. He thought it was silly to be afraid just because of a sound.
Then he went back to Rusty, the lion, who was worried because his friends were scared and wanted to run away. The jackal told Rusty that it was okay to be scared, but they should be brave like their leader. He said that servants act like their leaders, so if the leader is brave, the servants will be brave too.
The jackal offered to check out the scary sound, and Rusty agreed, even though he was a little scared that the jackal might not come back. Rusty thought maybe the jackal would find someone stronger and leave him, or maybe the jackal would even try to hurt him. But Rusty decided to wait and watch from a distance to see what would happen.
The jackal went to see what was making the noise and found out it was just a bull named Lively. He was very happy because he could use this to become more important to Rusty. The jackal thought if he made Rusty think there was a scary animal or a possible friend, Rusty would rely on him more.
He went back to Rusty and lied, saying that Lively was a special bull that belonged to a god and that he had talked to Lively about becoming friends. Rusty was very happy and felt good about having such a smart jackal as a servant. He told the jackal to bring Lively to him but to make sure Lively promised to be nice.
The jackal thought about how great it was that Rusty was listening to him and went back to Lively. He told Lively that Rusty was okay with him being there as long as Lively would be nice and agree with the jackal's plans. The jackal wanted to be in charge and have Lively help him so they could both live like kings.
The jackal told Lively that even though they had Rusty's favor, they had to work together and not act too proud or greedy. They needed to be smart and work as a team.
Then the jackal started to tell another story to Lively, but that's a tale for another time.
The moral of "The Jackal and the War-Drum" from the Panchatantra is about understanding the true nature of things and not letting fear or imagination run wild without proper understanding of the situation. In this story, a hungry jackal comes across a war drum in a forest. Hearing the sound it makes when the wind strikes it, the jackal initially fears that it might be a dangerous animal or a threat. However, upon investigating and discovering that the sound is coming from a harmless object, the jackal realizes there is nothing to fear.
This story teaches that fear and anxiety are often the result of ignorance or misunderstanding. It encourages curiosity and investigation to understand the true nature of things that might initially seem frightening or threatening. The tale underscores the importance of not jumping to conclusions and the value of rational thought and inquiry in overcoming unfounded fears and misconceptions.