There once lived a lion in the thick jungle at the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. He was ferocious and cruel. He hunted and killed more creatures than he required for his meals.
One day the animals of the jungle got together and decided that they would have to speak to the lion, otherwise, with the way he was killing, there would be no creatures left in the jungle. So they went to where the lion lived to convince him to change his ways.
"Your majesty," said the monkey, "We have noticed that you hunt many more animals that you can eat. There will soon be no animals left in your kingdom. You will be a king without any subjects. We suggest that you do not go hunting any more. Instead, allow us to send you an animal each day for your food. You will get your food, and no more lives shall be lost unnecessarily."
"All right," replied the lion in a gruff voice. "But I warn you that if one day I do not receive my food, I'll kill everyone of you."
All the animals bowed their heads in respect to the lion and agreed to his warning. From that day on, an animal was sent to the lion for his daily meal without fail. For a while everything went very well. Then one day it was the turn of an old and intelligent rabbit. He set out to the lion's den with four of his nephews. He was telling them about his youth, when he was able to run swiftly to defend himself from the ferocious animals of the jungle. The old rabbit did not want to die.
"I don't want to give myself to the cruel old lion," he said. "I am sure I can save myself, even now when I am old. I don't need to run at this age, but need to use my intelligence."
Suddenly he saw an old well and thought of an idea. "My dear nephews," said the rabbit, "you must wait for me near this old well. Stay quiet when the lion turns up. I will be with him. I am sure I can save myself - and the other animals too."
When the rabbit arrived at the lion's den, the lion was furious at him turning up so late.
"Why are you so late? It is past my meal time," the lion roared in anger.
The old rabbit bowed his head low to show respect to the lion. "Sorry your majesty," the rabbit said quietly, "but it is not my fault. It is not even the fault of the other animals. They had packed me off with four other rabbits because they said I was too tiny for your voracious appetite."
"Then where are the other rabbits?" should the hungry lion.
"On the way we met another lion who stopped us and said that he was the king of the jungle," said the rabbit shaking in fear. "We told him about you, and that you were very big and strong, and that is why no one but you could only be the king of the jungle."
"And then what happened?" asked the lion, feeling proud and mighty.
"He asked me to leave my nephews with him and to bring you to him," replied the rabbit. "He said that he would fight a duel with you, and the one who wins will be considered the king of the jungle."
This made the lion angrier. "How dare he! I am the only king of this jungle. Come, show me this arrogant lion. I shall crush him to death in no time and teach him a lesson for life."
The rabbit bowed his head again and said, "Quite right, sir. He should be punished. Let us hurry before he kills the other four rabbits, and takes your food away from you."
The rabbit took the lion to the old well and said, "The other lion lives in a castle inside the well. Be careful of him. The hidden enemy is more dangerous. Fight him and kill him on the spot, and then you can enjoy your meal in peace."
"Where is the lion?" roared the lion as he climbed the edge of the well and peered inside.
"There he is, sir," said the rabbit pointing to the lion's reflection in the water. "He is showing his temper. Look sir. How dare he try to show is temper. We know that you are the most powerful king of this jungle. How dare he try to equal you!"
The lion saw his reflection in the water and roared in anger. The thought that the other lion was doing the same, and in his anger he jumped inside the well, desperate to kill his enemy.
The lion fell with a great splash into the water. His head hit the rocks at the bottom of the well and he died. The rabbit was fully of joy because his trick had worked. His nephews came out of hiding and they celebrated the death of the lion. They ran to the other animals and informed them of the death of the hunter. Everyone was full of praise for the old rabbit.
"Intelligence is surely far superior to physical strength," the wise old monkey said to the rabbit that afternoon as they peacefully rested by the mango tree.