There was a dense forest on the way. While the old woman was walking she met a tiger in the jungle. The tiger said, “Granny, where are you going? I am hungry.”
The old woman smartly answered, “Grandson, what is the point of eating me now? My thin bones won’t satiate your hunger. I am going to my daughter’s home. She will feed me delicious food. When I will come back after a month, I will have gained a lot of weight. You should eat me at that time.”
Saying so, she kept walking. The old woman had just gone a little further when she met a bear. The bear said, “Come, Granny, come. Satisfy my hunger.” The old woman gave the same reason to the bear too. He too got fooled into thinking that she was saying the right thing. The bear too let the old woman go like the tiger.
When she had walked further, she saw a lion. The lion said, “Granny, it seems to be your turn today.” The old woman fooled him too in the same way and reached her daughter’s village.
She didn’t say anything about what had happened on the way to her daughter. When one month passed, she became worried about how she would dodge the tiger, bear and cry lion now.
One day her daughter asked, “Mother, I am taking good care of you, making such scrumptious meals for you, but even then you are regularly losing weight. What is the matter?”
Then the old woman told her about whatever had happened on the way. “Daughter, Sam the tiger, bear and the lion will be waiting for me in the way. Even if I’ll be lucky to escape from one, the other will surely eat me. That is the reason why I am worried.”
The daughter said, “Worrying won’t help you in any way, mother. I’ll tell you about a plan. Just follow it and those animals won’t be able to harm you at all.” The daughter took a huge pumpkin and made it hollow. She made her mother sit in the hollow pumpkin and gave her a bag of salt and chilli powder. Then she closed the pumpkin properly and rolled it on the way.
The pumpkin kept rolling and rolling. The lion saw it first. He asked, “O Pumpkin, an old woman was supposed to come on this way today. Did you see her?” The old woman replied from inside, “Pumpkin, keep moving. What do I know about the old woman?”
The lion moved aside for the pumpkin and the pumpkin rolled over again. It met the tiger on the way. The tiger too asked the same thing from the pumpkin. The old woman replied from inside, “Pumpkin, keep moving. What do I know about the old woman?”
The bear too was waiting for the old woman. He asked the same question as soon as he saw the pumpkin. The old woman too replied the same from inside the pumpkin. The bear got furious upon hearing the answer and hit the pumpkin hard with his leg. The pumpkin broke into two pieces and out came the old woman!
By that time, the tiger and the lion too came over there in search of the old woman. They saw the old woman sitting inside the pumpkin. All of them leapt towards her and began fighting among themselves to eat her.
The old woman said, “If you will fight like this, who will eat me? I will climb up on that big tree. All of you stand underneath it. I will jump from above. Whoever will catch me will be eligible to eat me.”
They all agreed on this. The old woman climbed a tree and they sat under it. When they all were looking up, she opened the bag and said, “Here I come.” Instead of jumping down, she began throwing salt and chilli powder.
When this powder went into the eyes of the lion, tiger and bear, they couldn’t open their eyes. They went mad with the pain and burning it caused. The old woman quickly got down from the tree and hurried towards her home. That is why they say, neither the tiger nor the bear is the most powerful. It is intelligence which is the most powerful of everything.