The king of the rats lived in a big hole at the edge of a jungle. Everyday, the king and his subjects came out of the hole took for food. Sometimes, they went deep into the jungle and at other times, to the nearby villages.
One day, when they were looking for food in the jungle, a jackal saw the rat king. He wanted to eat him. However, on a second thought, he stopped himself from eating the rat king. He thought that rat king could not be alone. His subjects, ministers and family members must also be there in the forest. So, he decided to wait and see.
Soon, a large number of rats came and bowed before their king. They told him that they had gathered a large amount of food and it was time to go home.
The jackal resisted himself from eating them. He thought, “I must find out their dwelling place. Then I can eat a rat everyday”, so he followed the rats to their hole at the edge of the forest. Once, he found out their dwelling place, he made a plan to eat a rat everyday.
Next day, when the rat king and his subjects were moving out of the hole, he stood near the whole on one leg and looked towards the sun with his mouth wide open. The rat king saw him and asked him what he was doing there in such an uncomfortable position.
The jackal replied, “Already, the mother earth is overburdened with the weight of so many creatures. Therefore, I thought of standing on one leg. I am praying to the sun god to keep providing the earth with heat and light. My mouth is wide open because I am fasting and eat only the air. I have given up killing animals”.
The rat king thought him to be a saint and ordered his subjects to offer him fruits and flowers and touch his feet everyday. This was exactly what the jackal had wished for. When the rats came to offer their prayers, he asked them to come in a queue. He would eat the last rat of the queue everyday. So those who were in front did not know that one of their members had been eaten. This went on for around a month.
The rat king noticed that the saintly jackal was becoming fat. He wondered how he could grow fat by feeding on the air. At the same time, the rats noticed the loss of their kiths and kins. Many of the rats were missing. The prime minister reported the matter to the king.
The rat king was very wise. He saw through the tuck of the saintly jackal. Next day, he was determined to find out. After offering prayer to the jackal, he hid himself behind a bush and kept looking at the jackal. When all the rats had finished offering prayers, the jackal grabbed the last rat and ate him up. The mystery of the missing rats was solved.
The king called a meeting of the rats and told them the truth about the jackal. They all decided to attack him next day. Next day, when they went to offer their prayers, the rat king jumped over the jackal’s neck and bit him hard. The other rats bit him all over his body. Together, the rats killed the jackal and feasted on his body for several days. The wise rat king saved his entire clan from being wiped out.