In a jungle, there lived a lion named Madotkata. His followers were a crow, a tiger, and a jackal. One day, as they were roaming about, they saw a camel who had wandered away from his herd. They befriended the camel and led him to Madotkata, their king.
The king assured the camel that his life would be safe. He named him ‘Chitra Karna’ which means ‘Spotted Ears’ and invited him to stay with them. Some time passed. One day, the lion fell sick. That day it also rained heavily making it difficult for the animals to get anything to eat. They were worried.
They discussed the matter and said, “Let’s the lion to kill the camel. What use is the camel to us otherwise?” “The lion has promised safety to the camel. So how can he kill him?” said the tiger. “Our master is starving. He may not mind going back on his word and may kill the camel even if it means committing a sin”, said the crow. So they went over to the lion.
“Have you been able to find some food?” asked the lion. “Your Majesty!” they said, “Despite our best efforts, we haven’t found anything.” “How can we live without food?” said the lion. “You have food at your disposal, but you won’t eat it,” said the crow.
“What food?” asked the lion. The crow whispered in his ears,” Chitra Karna, the camel.” “God forbid! We’ve assured him that his life will be safe,” replied the lion. “How can we kill him?” “We don’t have to kill him. We’ll plan it in such a way that the camel will offer his body of his own free will,” replied the crow.
When the lion heard this, he remained silent. The crow thought it over. He hatched a plot. At the right time, the crow, the tiger and the jackal went up to the lion. “Master! We haven’t succeeded in getting any food, and even you have been starving. So please eat me,” said the crow.
“Friend, it’s better to die than to perform such a sinful deed,” replied the lion. “Your highness! Why don’t you eat my flesh so that you can stay alive?” requested the jackal. “Certainly not!” replied the lion. “Oh king! Please sustain yourself on my flesh,” pleaded the tiger.
“It will never be right for me to do so,” replied the lion. The camel, who had been listening to their talk, felt reassured of the king’s promise about his safety and said earnestly, “Your Majesty! Please allow me to offer you my body.” No sooner had the camel said this, than the tiger sprang on him, ripped open his body and tore him to pieces. The three followers and their king had a hearty meal, feasting on the poor camel. The wise indeed say, “Fools are the game, which knaves pursue.”