Monday Musings 13 – Kanika’s Story of a Wily Fox

Image for Monday Musings 12-Kanika Neeti

Kanika narrated a story to Dhritarashtra to convince him of his theory of statecraft supremacy. Here is the story used by Kanika to highlight his point of view.

Wily Fox which won over his friends 

There lived a wily fox in a forest. This fox made friendship with four other animals: A Tiger, A Wolf, A Mongoose and A Rat from the forest.

One day, the fox spotted a deer and began to crave its meat. It waited patiently for several days, plotting and trying to capture the deer but the alert deer evaded all the attempts of the fox.

The fox thought of a plan to win over the deer with the help of his four friends. The fox called a meeting of his friends and said, “My dear friends! I spotted a healthy deer which can become sumptuous flesh and meat for all of us. Sadly, none of us individually can match the alert and agile deer’s speed. Therefore, I think the only way to kill it is by stealth. There’s strength in teamwork. Let us do it together and enjoy the kill”.

All the friends agreed to the suggestion and asked the fox to suggest the plan. Fox hatched a plan “We can’t capture the deer when it is alert, active and on its guard. The rat must crawl up to it and nibble off its legs when it is asleep, and before the deer is even aware of the pain, the tiger must jump on it and bite into its neck and kill it. Then we will surely achieve our objective and enjoy a delicious feast together.” All the friends praised the fox and agreed to the plan.

When the deer was sleeping after exertion the next day, the fox signaled the rat and the rat nibbled its feet. The slumbering deer suddenly felt something amiss and quickly tried to get on its feet by which time the tiger sprang upon it, dug its claws into the deer’s neck, and killed it effortlessly.

The friends clapped and cheered and celebrated and got ready to feast on the meat. The fox stopped them and said, “My dearest friends! please wait. The fruit of our hard labour and patience is before us, and it’s only proper that we enjoy this feast together. But look at all of us! Our bodies are covered in blood and dust and dirt. I think it’s best if all of us clean ourselves and enjoy this meal at leisure. So I humbly suggest that all of us must take a bath and come back. I will guard our feast till you return and I will have my bath afterwards.” The friends thought it to be a sensible idea but the fox had other plans to enjoy the meat all to himself.

The tiger was the first to return. He saw the jackal deep in thought. When asked, the jackal replied that he was upset at the statement made by the mouse that the credit for the deer’s hunt properly belonged to it but the tiger would end up enjoying his work. Tiger felt deeply hurt and he departed saying that he would henceforth eat only what he had slain on his own.

The next to return was the mouse. The jackal said that the carcass of the deer had been poisoned since it had been touched by the tiger’s claws. Therefore, he, the jackal, would not eat it. He had, however, no compunctions about killing and eating the mouse. The terrified mouse scampered into its hole.

The third to return was the wolf. To the wolf, the jackal said that the tiger was angry with him and that he was expected soon with his wife. The jackal advised the wolf to do as he thought fit. The wolf fled in fear of the tiger.

When the mongoose returned, the jackal told him that he had defeated the tiger, the wolf, and the mouse through the strength of his arms and that the mongoose could eat the deer only after defeating him. The mongoose realized he stood no chance against the jackal who had defeated foes stronger and bigger than him. He also fled.

The field was thus clear. The jackal had eliminated the wolf, tiger, mouse, and mongoose without any fight.


Kanika thus concluded his story to stress his point that any and all of the four means could be employed to achieve the target – conciliation, gifts, creating disunion among allies, or outright force; in other words, ‘saam, daam, bhed, and dand’. The fox used #saamadaanabedadanda against the 4 friends to achieve what he wanted to achieve.

The timid should be defeated by exciting their fears, the courageous by conciliation, the covetous by gift and the inferiors by demonstration of power, Kanika concluded.



Management and Leadership Topics covered in the previous posts

  1. The right attitude — Ch 1Ch 2  Ch6 Ch10  Ch11
  2. Governance — Ch 3  Ch4  Ch7  Ch13
  3. Leadership — Ch 5  Ch 8  Ch10
  4. Management — Ch 7  Ch13
  5. Intelligence & Wisdom — Ch 9  Ch10  Ch11
  6. Happiness & Success — Ch10

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.



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