Once upon a time there was an old she-goat. One day, when it was getting dark, she was returning home with many other goats. She was old and weak, and when she got tired she was left behind. It became quite dark, and as she could not find her way back, she decided to enter a cave that she saw nearby. What was her surprise when she went in and found a lion sitting there! She was terribly frightened and stood still for a moment, then she thought of what she could do.
"If I try to run," she thought, "the lion will soon catch me, but if I pretend not to be afraid of him I may manage to save my life."
She walked boldly up to the lion as if she were not afraid of him at all. The lion looked at her, looked and looked, not knowing what to think of this boldness of a goat. He knew goats had never dared to come near him. At last he thought she could not be a goat but must be some other strange animal which he had not seen before.
"Who are you, old one?" he asked her.
"I am the Queen of the Goats," she replied. "I came to devour a hundred tigers, twenty-five elephants and ten lions. I have already eaten the hundred tigers and the twenty five elephants and now I am looking for the ten lions."
The lion was very much surprised to hear this, and believing the goat had really come to devour him, got out of the cave saying that he was going to wash his face in the river.
As he was rushing out he met a jackal, who seeing the King of the beasts in a panic, asked what the matter was.
The lion told the jackal about his meeting with what he said was a strange-looking animal, very much like a goat, but who was not afraid of him at all.
The jackal was very clever. He soon guessed that the cause of the lion's fear was only a poor old she-goat. And he told the lion that it was the boldness of a weak old animal who didn't wish to be devoured.
"Come back with me to your cave, and make a meal of this pretender," he suggested.
The lion returned with the jackal. When the goat saw the lion returning, she understood everything, but she did not lose her courage. She walked up towards them and said to the jackal: "Is this the way you carry out my orders? I sent you to get me ten lions to eat at once, and you have brought me only one!"
As soon as the lion heard this, he thought he had been betrayed by the jackal. He fell on him and tore him to pieces.
Seeing this the goat walked out of the cave and ran away as quickly as she could.