Terry, the tiger, was passing by the monkey colony when he met Mandy, the monkey.
“Hi, Terry! Where are you going? And why do you look so weak?” asked Mandy.
“Well, Mandy, I’ve had a fever for the last two days. I’ve tried several home remedies but my fever isn’t going down,” said Terry.
“Why don’t you come with me to Dr. Benny, the bear’s hospital then? I’m a nurse there. Dr. Benny will examine you and prescribe proper medicines,” said Mandy.
“But I don’t want to go to a hospital. I want…” said Terry, becoming quiet midway. Mandy felt Terry’s forehead and said, “Terry, you’re running a high fever. What if you have malaria?” Terry shook his head and said, “No, I don’t think I have malaria. I think someone has turned their evil eye on me.”
“There’s no such thing as an evil eye. We fall sick because of mosquito bites, our unhealthy diet, lifestyle, and changes in the weather,” said Mandy.
“But the holy fox, who has just arrived in our forest, told me that we fall sick because of the evil eye. But he also has a solution for it. We can recover quickly by wearing a talisman specially made and blessed by him,” said Terry.
Mandy laughed and said, “I can’t believe you. You have fallen into the trap of that sly fox? I thought you were a sensible tiger.”
“No, no, believe me. Even I didn’t trust the holy fox in the beginning. But then I saw the truth with my own eyes! Gina, the jackal and Kalu, the hyena, were in terrible pain, but as soon as they wore the talisman, they were cured instantly. It was magical! They started jumping and dancing around,” said Terry.
“Look, Terry! You can’t cure people with magic. Please visit the doctor with me. If you keep listening to your holy fox, your condition will worsen,” said Mandy, trying to reason with Terry.
“No Mandy. I’ll leave now. I’ll come and visit you this evening. By then, I’ll be fully cured because of the holy fox’s blessing and the talisman,” said Terry, and went to the ashram of the holy fox.
When Terry reached the holy fox’s ashram, he saw a long line of animals. Terry joined in and waited for his turn.
When Terry entered the room, he saw some burning incense sticks. In the middle of the room, the holy fox sat on the throne.
Terry bowed down to the holy fox and told him about his illness. The holy fox closed his eyes and started chanting.
The holy fox opened his eyes and asked, “Is there a weak animal living near your house?”
Terry thought about it for some time and said, “Yes, dear fox. Drake, the deer stay near my house. He is much weaker than me and often asks me for help.”
“That’s it! That deer is the reason for your illness,” said the fox in a booming voice.
Terry was surprised. He asked, “How is that, dear fox?”
“Didn’t I tell you yesterday that the cause of your illness is an evil eye? Drake is jealous of your tall and broad build, and your strength. He is the one who laid an evil eye on you. Till he is around you, you will keep getting weaker day by day,” said the fox.
“But Drake is a good friend and neighbour of mine,” said Terry.
The holy fox said, “Sometimes your closest friends are your real enemies. You should stop talking to Drake completely. Give me a thousand rupees. I’ll make a special talisman for you. Wear it at night before you go to bed. In a few days, you will feel good again.”
Terry paid the holy fox and got a talisman made. He also stopped talking to Drake. Despite this, Terry’s condition worsened. He neither visited a doctor nor took any medicines.
One day, as Terry was taking a walk in his garden, and he fainted and fell on the ground. His neighbour, Drake happened to notice him lying on the ground. He immediately started screaming out for help.
“Why would you want to help him? He doesn’t even talk to you. He’d rather believe some fake fox than trust you,” said Nona, the goat.
“It doesn’t matter whether he thinks I’m his friend or not. I still think of him as a friend. And a friend in need is a friend indeed,” said Drake, smiling.
Terry woke up, to find himself in Dr. Benny’s hospital. Mandy and Drake were standing beside his bed.
“How are you feeling, Terry?” asked Mandy.
“I feel a little better now. But who brought me here?” asked Terry.
“Your true friend brought you here, the one whom you had stopped talking to because of the words of a cunning fox,” said Mandy. “If you still believe the fox’s words, then have a look at the bed beside yours.”
“Oh! It’s Gina, the jackal!” said Terry, surprised.
“Now you tell me, if she too had worn the talisman given by the holy fox, how is she still unwell and admitted in this hospital with you?” asked Mandy.
“The fox paid her to act in front of the people who came to visit him. Whenever he had a new visitor, Gina and Kalu would pretend to be unwell and the fox would pretend to cure them magically,” said Mandy, explaining the plan.
“But how did you find out about their plan?” asked Terry.
“That’s easy! Gina has typhoid. She came to the hospital wearing the talisman which clearly failed to prevent her from falling ill. So, I asked her and learned the whole truth,” said Mandy, smiling.
Terry felt stupid for being so superstitious. He hugged Drake and apologised for his behaviour. Gina, too, confessed to the police and got the fox arrested for spreading superstitions.