In a faraway city, there lived a carpenter. He had a practice of carrying his lunch and go with his wife into the forest to cut great logs. In that forest lived a lion named Nirmal, accompanied by two carnivorous friends, a jackal and a crow.
One day the lion was roaming the woods alone and encountered the carpenter. The carpenter coming face to face with the lion was shocked. He thought that he is no match for the lion in strength nor can he outrun him. Perceiving that his only option was to face the powerful, he stepped forward to meet the lion, bowed low, and said: “Come, friend, come! Please share my dinner. My wife has specially cooked these dishes for you.”
“My good fellow,” said the lion, “being carnivorous, I do not live on rice. But in spite of that, I will have a taste, since I take a fancy to you. What kind of dainty have you got?”
When the lion had spoken, the carpenter stuffed him with all kinds of delicious buns, muffins and things, all flavoured with sugar, butter, grape juice, and spice. And to show his gratitude, the lion guaranteed his safety and granted unhindered passage through the forest.
The carpenter said: “Friend, you must come here every day, but please come alone. You must not bring anyone else to visit me.” In this manner they spent their days in friendship. And the lion, since every day he received such hospitality, such a variety of goodies, gave up the practice of hunting.
Meanwhile the jackal and the crow, who lived on lion’s kills, were starving, and they implored the lion. “Master,” they said, “where do you go every day? And tell us why you come back so happy.” “I don’t go anywhere,” said he. But when they persisted with the question, the lion said: “A friend of mine comes into this wood every day. His wife cooks the most delicious things, and I eat them every day, in order to show friendly feeling.”
Then the jackal and the crow said: “We two will go there, will kill the carpenter, and have enough meat and blood to keep us fat for a long time.” But the lion heard them and said: “Look here! I guaranteed his safety. How can I even imagine playing him such a scurvy trick? But I will get a delicious tidbit from him for you also.”
So the three started to find the carpenter. While they were still far off, the carpenter caught a glimpse of the lion and his seedy companions, and he thought: “This does not look prosperous to me.” So he and his wife quickly climbed a tree.
Then the lion came up and said: “My good fellow, why did you climb the tree when you saw me? Why, I am your friend, the lion. My name is Nirmal. Do not be alarmed.” But the carpenter stayed where he was and said: “Dear friend! I trust you since you are a person of honour. However I do not trust your friends.”