The Jackal one day went hunting, but he was not a good hunter. When he met the Lion, the Lion proposed that they should hunt together, on the condition that if a small antelope was killed it was to be Jackal’s, and if a large one was killed it was to be Lion’s. Jackal agreed to this.
The first animal killed was a large eland. The Lion was very glad, and said to the Jackal: “I will continue hunting while you go to my house and call my children to carry the meat home.”
The Jackal replied: “Yes, I agree to that.”
The Lion went away to hunt. When he had gone, the Jackal went to his own house and called his own children to carry away the meat. He said, “The Lion takes me for a fool if he thinks I will call his children while my own are dying with hunger.”
So Jackal’s children carried the meat to their home.
The Lion caught nothing more, and after a time he went home and asked his wife where the meat was.
She told him there was no meat. He said, “Did the Jackal not bring a message to my children to carry the meat?”
His wife replied: “No, he was not here. We are still dying with hunger.”
The Lion then started off in a terrible fury, vowing certain death to the Jackal and all his family, wherever he should meet them. While the Lion was on its way, he saw a little Jackal getting water from the river. He at once went to catch the little Jackal. Under the Lion’s strong foot, the little Jackal was being crushed.
The Lion said, “Your father has cheated me and I came to kill all of you. I will not forgive him.”
The Little Jackal replied, “Lion, Lion, listen to me. I know why you have me under your feet, but please listen to me. My father has never been a good hunter. Unless he steals it from others, he can hardly provide for his family. I have pleaded with him, but he will not listen to me. Please take my apology for my poor father and show mercy.”
The Lion said, “I will not forgive the Jackal. Because of him, my family is dying with hunger.” The Little Jackal suggested, “Why don’t I work for you in return. I will carry your game to your family. You do not have to pay me, but please let my father cheat you once in a while for I know that he will continue to cheat you. I will carry 10 games for you every time my father cheats you.” The Lion agreed for the winter was coming and he needed help to store up for the season.
Without knowing what had happened, the Jackal enjoyed his cunning success he had with the Lion. After he ran out of meat, he went to the Lion again and proposed the same agreement with the same condition that if a small antelope was killed it was to be the Jackal’s, and if a large one was killed it was to be the Lion’s. The Lion agreed to this.
The Lion caught another large eland. The Lion said to Jackal: “I will continue to go hunting while you go to my house and call my children to carry the meat home.”
The Jackal replied: “Yes, I agree to that.”
The Lion went away to hunt. When he had gone, as expected, the Jackal went to his own house and called his own children to carry away the meat again. He said, “The Lion takes me for a fool if he thinks I will call his children while my own are dying with hunger.” And he said, “The Lion must be dumber than I thought for falling for it again.”
The winter was coming and after cheating the Lion numerous times, he thought to himself, ‘For the first time in my life, I have a golden opportunity to provide for my family for the season abundantly.’
The Jackal increased the frequency in cheating the Lion. However, he noticed his eldest son was getting skinnier and skinnier by the day. He looked very weak and falling ill. One day, the Jackal called his little Jackal and asked him, “What is going on son? I have been providing for you abundantly, yet you seem to be getting weaker by the day.”
With a very weak voice, the little Jackal answered his father, “Father, I have to tell you the truth. I just don’t have any more left in me. A while ago, the Lion came to kill us because you had cheated him. To save you, I had made an agreement with him. Every time you cheated him, I had to carry ten games for him. I have been working for him to save you. Forgive me father.”
Out of embarrassment and anger, he struck his weakened son and killed him instantly.
The Jackal stayed away from the Lion. Since the little Jackal was not working for the Lion, the Lion will surely kill him if he tried again.
The winter came and the Jackal’s family ran out of meat. The Jackal didn’t have a choice, but to go to the Lion for help. When the Jackal asked the Lion, the Lion greeted him warmly. The Lion said, “Your son knew that you would kill him for what he had done. Before he died, he worked extra and asked me to keep ten games and give them to you if you come to ask for help.”
The Jackal dropped on his knees and started sobbing. He mourned for his son all through the winter and repented. When the spring came, the Jackal went to the Lion and made another agreement to work together. This time he kept his promises and treated the Lion fairly. Until they died, they made a good hunting team and both families lived abundantly.
John 10:11-13 Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
Just because you don’t get punished for your wrongdoings doesn’t mean you are off free. There is someone paying the price for it and eventually it will become your own loss.
The price Jackal paid was losing his own son. Just as the son had done for his father, Jesus had died for our wrongdoings, so we can be free from our wrongdoings and have a chance to live our lives righteously.