Once, a farmer had a cow and a horse. They used to graze in the nearby jungle together. In the neighbourhood of the farmer there lived a Dhobi (washerman). He had a donkey and a goat. The Dhobi too left his animals in the same jungle for grazing. Gradually, all four started grazing together and soon became friends. They started coming to the jungle together and in the evenings they all used to go back together.
In the same jungle there lived a clever hare. Upon seeing the inseparable friendship of these four he started thinking—‘if only I could befriend all four, my life will become easy. If you have tall and mighty friends such as these, no dog will ever have the courage to trouble you.’
Hare decided to get close to all the four. He started playing with them every day by jumping and doing various kinds of acrobats. He also started grazing with them. Slowly, he became friends with all the four, and was very happy now. And he thought the scare of dogs is over for life.
But sadly one day a dog came into the jungle and started chasing the hare. The hare confidently ran towards the cow and yelled—‘Sister Cow! This dog is very wicked. He has come to kill me. So, you please kill him with your horns.’
The cow replied—‘Brother Rabbit! You’ve come to me very late. It’s time for me to return home. My kid is hungry and must be crying for me. I’m in a great hurry to go home, so you go to the horse for help.’
The rabbit ran towards the horse and said—‘brother horse! I’m your friend. We graze here together each day. Today, this devious dog is after me. Kindly help me sit on your back and take me away from this danger.’
Horse replied—‘Dear Hare! What you’re saying is correct, but I don’t know how to sit. I even sleep while standing. So how will climb on to my back? And these days I’m also injured. I can neither run fast nor can trot properly.’
Dejected by the horse the hare approached the donkey and requested—‘Friend Donkey! Please attack this mischievous dog with a kick as that will save my life.’
Donkey replied—‘As a routine, I return daily with the cow and the horse. Those two are leaving. And if I am unable to leave with them, and happen to stay back, my master—the dhobi will come and whack me badly with his cane and turn me to pulp. So, I just can’t stay back anymore.’
In the end the hare approached the goat. But the moment the goat saw him he said—‘Buddy Rabbit! For heaven’s sake don’t come to this side. Otherwise, behind you that dog will also come running. And I’m very scared of that dog.’
Finally, dejected from all sides the hare ran from there. After running some distance he went and hid himself behind the bushes. The dog searched a lot but couldn’t find him. And, when the dog retreated, the rabbit came out of the bushes, tired. He looked on all sides and heaved a sigh of relief, and then said—‘It’s tricky to rely on others. One should help oneself.’