A lion, who was the king of a vast forest, fell ill due to old age. All animals of the forest gathered in front of his den to pay their respects and check on his health. Well, all animals, except for Mr. Fox, who kept chasing hens at a nearby farm. He believed that the king wouldn’t notice his absence. Besides, since the old king would pass away soon, Mr. Fox couldn’t care less about the courtesy visit, anyway.
Meanwhile, on her way to see the ailing king, Mrs. Fox came to know that her husband was happily hunting hens instead of being at the king’s den. She went over to the old lion and told him about her husband’s failure to be there. The old king ordered his tiger guards to present Mr. Fox before him at once.
Shocked to learn about the king’s order, Mr. Fox decided to teach his wife a lesson for her gossipy nature. He took an empty sack and began collecting scraps of paper thrown out on the streets. After getting home, he started to read them one at a time. While he was busy reading the paper scraps, the tiger guards showed up at his place. They informed him of his arrest and presented him at the king’s court. Without uttering a word of protest, Mr. Fox followed them with the sack full of scraps.
At his court, the lion roared at Mr. Fox with displeasure. The king handed Mr. Fox the death sentence for his unacceptable behavior and asked him if he had anything to say in his defense.
The cunning Mr. Fox prostrated himself before the king. He further explained that he had been going from one place to another in search of a medicine for his illness. It was only after going through all the papers in the sack that he was able to find a cure for his illness. Pleased with his explanation, the king ordered Mr. Fox to share the medicine with him. Mr. Fox took a scrap out of the sack and began reading it aloud.
‘To cure Your Majesty’s illness, we need to cut a patch of three-inch skin from the back of a female fox and keep it tightly bandaged on Your Majesty’s head for three days. In order to boost the efficacy of this method, we can sprinkle some chili powder on the fox’s wound site.’
Mr. Fox cut a piece of flesh measuring three inches from Mrs. Fox’s back and sprinkled chili powder on her wound. Unable to endure the excruciating pain, the gossipy Fox screamed her lungs out.
‘It’s burning! Stop it!’ she exclaimed.
‘Well, it wouldn’t have had it not been for your gossiping,’ whispered her husband in her ear.
The treatment not only cured the old lion’s illness but also made sure that Mrs. Fox never tittle-tattled again.
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Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at email@example.com to know more about her.
Folk tale adopted and abridged from Talking Myths.