Karataka narrated the bird’s story who lost his life by trying to advice a group of monkeys and said, “Damanaka we need to be careful while advising foolish people. Else, it can prove fatal. Further, it would do well for you to know about a cunning fox, who lost his life by trying to grab power and authority through unscrupulous means”.

“This looks interesting Karataka. Can you please narrate me the cunning fox’s story”, requested Damanaka.

Read on to know more about the cunning fox. You know, we foxes are cunning by nature. Once there was a fox who was boisterous as well. He used to make up stories and boast around his greatness in the forest. Some intelligent animals figured this out and laughed it away. Others blindly believed all his claims. The fox felt encouraged to do more of that.

He used to frequent to a bordering village near the forest to grab a well grown chick or two for meal. Once he roamed till noon, but couldn’t find any.

A group of painters completed whitewashing and were emptying the remnant colours into the drainage channel next to the building. The fox who was passing by got drenched in those coloured waters. The fox looked at himself and noted he lost his original colour. Patches of different colours were spread all over his body. He was in awe of his new found identity.

As usual, he got to his regular business and weaved an interesting story around these colours. He couldn’t wait for long to narrate this new story to other animals in the forest.

He forgot about hunger and walked swiftly back into the forest. At the sight of the first animal he revealed his new story. It goes thus…

“Yesterday while I was meditating, the presiding deity of the forest visited me. She was impressed with my greatness. She expressed she was waiting for an opportunity to visit her parents and other family members residing in the neighbouring forest. She couldn’t do so because of her busy schedule. She requested me to help her. She said, if I could take care of the forest in her absence she can happily visit her family. I felt honoured. However, I expressed my inability to do so as I did not have the powers which the deity had, to do justice to the responsibility.

The deity replied, ‘I will shower you with special powers which are natural to me. These powers would take the form of a colour patch on your body. If any animal decries your orders and go off track, you may invoke these powers to teach them a lesson and put thigs back in order’. I had no other option but to agree and take up the honours. Here I am with the special powers in order to serve you.”

This word soon spread like wild fire in the forest. All the big animals like lion, tiger, elephant, etc., discussed on this and came to a consensus. They decided to make the fox, king of the forest. They wanted those Divine powers to bring greatness and prosperity to the forest. The fox was happy to note the decision. He welcomed the decision.

They choose an auspicious day to crown the new king. All preparations for the festival went on full swing. Plans were made, decisions intimated and works delegated depending on the animals’ strength.

On the D-day elephants filled their trunks with water, other foxes made loud noise to fill the environment with positive vibrations. In the midst of ringing voices, elephants bathed the fox with the water from their trunks. The moment the water was sprinkled, colours on the fox’s body washed out and the fox’s true colours were revealed. The animals witnessing the ceremonies were taken by surprise. It did not take time for them to decipher the truth.

Together, they caught hold of the fox and beat him to death.

So, Damanaka if we try to take unscrupulous routes and cheat others for our selfish gains, be sure to face dire consequences.

– By Balaji Gorantla, translated from Telugu BN