Shika the fox lived in a large forest. Other animals stayed with their families or in herds. But Shika loved staying alone. She was not afraid of anything. Well actually she was afraid of a great many things. The forest, after all, was very big. Every other week Shika would stumble across a stream, a lake, a hill, a clearing that she had never seen before. Today, too, she was off exploring a new part of the forest.
“Dooom!” a loud sound echoed somewhere.
The furs on Shika’s neck stood up sensing danger. It was unlike any other sound she had ever heard in the forest — roars of a lion, the bellowing of bears, the cries of the cheetals and droning of crickets. But this? Never. She almost thought she had imagined the sound and was about to walk on when.
“Dooooom!” it was louder than even before.
Shika wanted to run away. But she was also very hungry. It had been two days since she had found anything to eat. And this animal might lead her to some food.
She hid behind a bush and carefully she listened again. “Doooom!” came the sound. This time Shika sensed that it was coming from the right. Crouching low she followed the sound. Every time the sound was heard, Shika would grow closer. The fear was making her stomach squirm.
There at last she saw the animal making the sound. It was a large, cylindrical and resting against a tree. It had no legs. Shika would have assumed that this was no animal, but an object. But when the branches of the tree swayed and hit the object it let out a loud sound, “Dooooom!!!”
Shika was convinced that this was an incredible animal. Cautiously she approached it. The animal did not make a move. After a few steps Shika grew confident. She licked her lips. “This animal can’t move, and look at how loud a sound it makes. It must full of food!” she thought.
She stood right in front of the huge animal and then lunged at it. The fight lasted briefly. Shika clawed at the skin until she made a hole. The animal had stopped making the sound and Shika assumed it was dead. She looked inside the hole she had made. There was nothing! The animal was hollow. There was no food to eat.
But still it was a victory for Shika. She had defeated such a might enemy. “Ha!” she shouted at the corpse of the strange animal.
A parrot was watching all this from a tree and let out a loud laugh. Shika suddenly stopped and looked up, “Why are you laughing Master Parrot?”
“That animal you killed is called a drum! Humans beat it to make loud noises. You may not know, but many years ago, a great battle had been fought on this spot. The soldiers left that behind. And you thought you had killed it and were searching for food,” said the parrot.
Shika looked at the parrot and then at the torn up drum. She too started laughing loudly. The parrot was confused, “Why are you laughing young fox?”
“Well, I learnt a valuable lesson. Not everything that makes a loud sound is filled up with stuff! I am going to be less afraid of the forest from now on.” Saying that Shika the fox turned and left in search of food.
(Adapted from The Panchatantra)