Long long ago in the forest of Swetharanya, there lived a two hawks. They had recently migrated to this forest from another forest as humans had begun to inhabit that forest in which they lived earlier. Here, they had built their nest on a tall tree by the side of the river Swetha Pushkarini. There were a couple of eggs in their nest which were about to hatch any time.
The hawks were very happy in the new forest which was free of humans and in due course their eggs hatched into cute little chicks.
From the day they had come into Swetharanya, Shyeni, the female hawk was insisting that they should find out who their neighbours were and be friendly with them. The male hawk Shyena , on the other hand was not so particular and was also lazy and did not bother. However , due to the persistence of Shyeni, he finally went to seek his neighbours. In a burrow in another tree lived a Kingfisher by name Suchitraka. He was very happy when Shyena met him and they both became good friends.
Now, there was a lion by name Jatila in a cave near the river. Shyena met the lion and introduced himself and became good friends with him too. Finally he found that there was this tortoise by name Dadru living in a bush just below the tree where he had his nest. And so, because of the hawks’ efforts, Suchitraka, Jatila and Dadru became friends with Shyeni and Shyena.
They used to meet everyday and exchange courtesies. Life was going on smoothly until one day……
It was a new moon night and the forest was pitch dark. It posed no problem for the hawks and their friends as they could see well in the nights also. It was just after midnight, when Shyeni thought she heard some rustling near the tree. She peered out of the nest and was shocked to see two human figures groping their way through the dark. Shyeni and Shyena could fly away but what about their chicks? They were yet to grow wings fully and were very vulnerable. Shyeni was worried.
When the men came near the clearing under the tree, they stopped. “Hmm.. it seems we have lost our way.. All because of you “, grunted one fellow who was giant like. “Don’t blame me for everything . It was You who wanted to come with me?” retorted the other who was of a smaller built. “Ok Ok” said the bigger man, “I am feeling hungry. Get me something to eat. I was a fool to come fishing with you in the river. We didn’t catch even one fish and you let the net get washed away by the current. Now, go and get some food to eat.. Fast!” he ordered.
By now Shyena was also awake and was wondering what to do if the chicks woke up and started making noise. The very next moment, what he dreaded happened. The chicks were disturbed by the sound of the men and started making screeching noises. The men were first frightened but then knew that it was the sound of young birds. “Aha.. ” said the bigger fellow, “I can see the nest on the top most branch. Now, you fool, go and collect some twigs and we shall make a fire and eat roasted chicks…” he ordered the smaller fellow. The smaller fellow got up mumbling something and ambled into the bushes peering in the dark for twigs and slowly brought some. “Faster, you fool, now rub some stones and make fire, fast.. and go and get some more twigs….” said the bigger fellow and the other one obeyed him.
Soon, a fire had started to blaze and the bigger fellow now tried to climb up the tall tree. Shyeni was panicking and told Shyena to go and call their friends. Shyena also, not knowing what to do went straight to Suchitraka and called out to him . “Suchitraka, Suchitraka, my friend, Please come and help me!” he cried out, “My chicks are in danger!”. Suchitraka woke up with a start and flew out fast to see the blazing fire and the man trying to climb the tree. The tree had its branches high up and so the man was struggling to get a foothold and go up.
Suchitraka thought for a moment and like a flash of lightning dived into the nearby river, came out like an arrow from the quiver and went over the fire and flapped his wings hard. The water droplets fell on the fire and the fire made a fizzling sound. The man who was trying to climb the tree, turned around, but Suchitraka had vanished for another round of water spraying. He did this act again and again. The fire was now struggling to burn due to the continuous spraying of water and was almost extinguished and the enraged men saw the bird and came running at Suchitraka waving a cloth.
Suchitraka was terribly tired of this exercise and flew into his burrow and dropped down due to exertion. The bigger man then said, “Don’t worry, I shall climb the tree and kill the chicks and we can go home and have a good breakfast” and continued his efforts to climb the tree.
Now Shyena was worried. What could he do next? In the meanwhile, Dadru, hearing the commotion had come out of the bushes. In a flash he understood what was going on. He pulled himself up and walked as fast as he could near the smaller man and the man almost tripped on Dadru in the dark. But he found that it was a tortoise and shouted to his comrade , “Hey , don’t take the trouble of getting the chicks. Here is a tortoise. It’s a long time since we had tortoise meat. Lets’s take him home. Come on”
The bigger man sneered at him and said “You Budhdhoo, how do you propose to take a tortoise home? Lead it like a doggie Huh? We do not have any weapons . Go , Go and get some creepers from over there and we shall make a rope to tie and carry him . Go fast, you dud!, else the tortoise will go away !” The smaller man retorted with a grunt and went to bring some creepers. Dadru consciously moved very very slowly and the men thought they could catch it. The man returned with many creepers and they started making a rope.
Shyena and Shyeni were very worried now. They could not afford to lose Dadru for the sake of their chicks. Shyeni said to Shyena , “Go , go quickly and call Jatila!!” Shyena flew fast and called Jatila from his den. Jatila sprang up and came running . The men had caught Dadru and were about to tie him up when from their back they hear a roar “Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….” Terrified, they turned around and to their horror found a big huge lion staring at them menacingly as he roared again. The roar was deafening and the next moment, the men forgot Dadru, the chicks and all and started running for their lives.
They ran out of the forest never to be seen again. And the hawks thanked the three friends for saving them and their friendship bonds were further strengthened.
Shyena looked at Shyeni thankfully as it was at her insistence that he became friendly with their neighbours.
Moral: Always maintain a good relationship with your neighbours.