ONCE upon a time a Lion had a she-jackal for his mate, and they had a young one. This Cub was just like his sire to look at, in shape and colour, mane and claws; but in voice he took after his dam. So you would fancy he was a lion, so long as he held his tongue.
This Cub used to play about with the young Lions, and merry times they had to be sure, tumbling head over heels, and trying to knock each other down. One day, in the midst of their game, the mongrel Cub thought he would frighten them; so he opened his mouth wide, intending to roar, and all that came out was a yelp like the yelp of a jackal. The other young Lions were quite shocked; they could not imagine what strange creature this was. One of them went up to the old Lion, who was watching them, and said:
"Lion's claws and lion's paws
Lion's feet to stand upon;
But the bellow of this fellow
Sounds not like a lion's son!"
"You are right," said the old Lion; "his dam was a Jackal." And then, turning to the poor Cub, who was looking very crestfallen, he said:
"All will see what kind you be
If you yelp as once before;
So don't try it, but keep quiet,
Yours is not a lion's roar."
The poor Cub slunk away with his tail between his legs, while the other Lions sniffed and turned up their noses at him. Ever after that he took good care to hold his tongue when he was in the company of his betters.