The story of the Camel and the Jackal

Posted on August 15, 2010


In the Satya Yuga, there lived a camel who had recollection of all the acts of his former life. The camel engaged in austere penances in the forest. Brahma, gratified by the penances, expressed His desire to grant the camel a boon.

The camel said, “Make my neck long enough that I can grab food that is even a hundred Yojanas away”. Brahma said, “So be it”. Having obtained the boon, the camel subsequently became idle and abstained from going outdoors for grazing.

One day, as he was collecting his food effortlessly a hundred Yojanas away, a great storm gathered. The camel, deciding to wait until the storm was over, placed his head and a portion of his neck into the cave of a mountain.

Meanwhile the heavy rains drove a shivering jackal and his wife towards that very cave for shelter.

The meat-eating jackal, hungry and tired as he was, set his eyes upon the camel’s neck and began devouring it. The camel, realizing that his neck was being eaten, tried to shorten it. But even as the camel tried to move his head around, the jackal and his wife, without losing their hold, continued to eat his neck away.

Soon the camel breathed his last. The jackal and his wife came out of the cave after the storm had ceased.

* * *

The above story was explained by Bhishma to Yudhishtira to urge the latter to avoid idleness as it results in one’s downfall. Bhishma asked his grandson to instead restrain his senses while delivering upon his duty with the proper means.

(Source: Mbh Santi Parva, Chapter 112)