A collection of Indian tales of wit, wisdom, humour, bravery, devotion and lots more...

Tag: chicks

The Cranes And The Serpent – The enemy of an enemy is not always a friend!!!

This is a story from the Hitopadesha. Hitopadesha as the name suggests is Hitha+Upadesha in Sanskrit which means, benevolent advice. This set of stories named as Hitopadesha is said to have been written in Sanskrit, by a person by name Narayana Pandit in the 12th century for a King by name Dhavalachandra.

It is understood that Emperor Akbar was very much impressed by these stories and had them translated by none other than Abul Fazl. Like Panchatantra, most of the characters are animals, birds and reptiles in these stories also.

This story tells us that an enemy’s enemy need not always be a friend. Further, when any action is proposed to be taken it is always better to be farsighted instead of looking for quick fix solutions.

Long long ago on the banks of river Airavati (present day River Ravi), there lived a couple of cranes on a fig tree.
Though the river ensured them plenty of fish, the cranes were very unhappy. The reason for their unhappiness was a serpent that lived in a burrow at the bottom of the tree. The serpent ate up the eggs of the cranes when they were laid or ate up the chicks if the chicks were lucky enough to be born.

After a long time, unable to bear this misery, the cranes sought the advice of an elderly crane for a solution for their problem. The elderly crane thought for a while and told them, “Listen, there lives a mongoose in a hole near the bushes not far away from here” and he showed them the bushes. “The mongoose is a natural enemy of the snake. So bring lot of fish from the river and lay a trail from the bushes to your tree in whose burrow the snake lives. The mongoose will surely kill the snake”.

The crane couple was very happy at this advice and the very next day the male crane brought lot of fish and laid a trail from the bushes to the bottom of their tree. As expected, that evening, the mongoose smelt the fish and eating up the fish, came till the bottom of the tree where the snake lived. Fortunately for the cranes, the snake was just the slithering out for his evening outing. The mongoose noticed the snake and immediately pounced on him and there ensued a deadly fight. After a while, the snake was killed.

The cranes cried out in joy on seeing the snake dead. Immediately,seeing their parents make so much noise, the chicks panicked and also made lot of noise from the nest.

That was it! The mongoose looked up and the next moment, much to the horror of the cranes, climbed up the tree and in a split second, had carried away the two chicks crushing them by their necks. The cries of the chicks had attracted the mongoose and now it knew that there was a nest on the tree.

The action of the cranes had been too hasty for they had not even thought that the mongoose also ate small chicks and could climb trees.

So……. The enemy of an enemy is not always a friend and no action should be taken in haste!!!

The story of the vulture and the cunning cat

This is a story from the Hitopadesha.

Long long ago in the forests of central India , there was a huge banyan tree. The tree was house to hundreds of birds who had built nests on the innumerable branches. All the birds left the tree during the day to look for food and came back by nightfall.

During a particular time of the year, lots of chicks had hatched on the tree and the parent birds were compelled to leave them and go to look for food.

One day, late in the evening, a very old  vulture by name Grudhra , battered by age and could barely fly , came to the tree. His eyesight had also become very bad due to his age . He was walking very slowly and was almost about to hit the tree when some of the birds saw him. He was a huge figure and they were frightened by him but soon realised that he was almost blind and had blunt claws and beak and so could not harm anyone.

Some of the bolder birds came down and asked him ” Who are you Sir and may we ask what you are doing here??” The vulture said “My name is Grudhra and  I am an orphan. I have become very weak due to age  that I have to struggle to get food every day. I have not had food for days and have come wandering in search of food.” The birds felt pity on him and offered him a deal. They told him, “Sir, we have our chicks on the tree and we have to go out the whole day for food  and there is no one to look after them. So if you stay in the hollow at the bottom of the tree and look after our chicks from danger while we are out, we shall bring you food everyday”. Grudhra was happy and he agreed to the deal.

Accordingly, from the next day, the vulture used to come out of the hollow and stand under the tree the whole day and the small animals like fox and cats who were on the prowl to hunt the chicks were intimidated by the imposing figure of the vulture and kept away. In the evenings the birds used to bring food for the vulture. This arrangement went on well for quite some days and both the vulture and the birds were happy.

One day a cunning cat by name Bidaala slowly came near the tree. He had seen so many chicks and was very eager to devour  some of them. But suddenly he noticed Grudhra and was taken aback. He thought the vulture would pounce on him and he would be minced meat in moments. But to his surprise, Grudhra slowly turned around and in a deep voice asked “Who is there???” The clever Bidaala understood that the vulture was blind but he could not underestimate the power of a vulture. So he said in a meek voice ,  “I am a mendicant cat by name Bidaala and I am on a yatra to see the holy places in this part of the country. Sorry if I have disturbed you Sir”. Grudhra could not see the cat clearly and the voice of the cat was so meek that he believed what he said.

“Oh! Welcome. I am Grudhra , an old vulture and guardian of these birds” said the vulture. “You may be my guest in the hollow of the tree where I reside for as many days as you please Sir.” he continued. The cat said ,”Oh! call me Bidaala. I am much younger to you Sir and it is my good fortune to serve elderly souls like you”. Grudhra was very pleased as he had got a companion to talk during day time.

Slowly Bidaala won the confidence of Grudhra. He stayed in the hollow being careful enough to come out of the hollow only when the last of the birds had left and go back in before the birds came back in the evening.

One day he tried his fortune and deftly caught a chick by its neck from one of the lower branches, so quickly that it could not make noise. Swiftly he ran into the bushes and devoured the chick. All the other chicks made lot of noise but Grudhra could not see any animal nearby and soon the noise died down. This started happening once in three days and later became more frequent. The parent birds noticed the missing ones but were at a loss to find out who was behind it. Bidaala was careful to leave the bones in the bushes.

One day a crane who had also lost one of her chicks happened to see the bunch of bones in the bushes. Coincidentally, the vulture was not able to eat much food in the evenings as he was feeling little sick. The crane told the birds of the heap of bones and they came to a conclusion that it was Grudhra who had devoured their little ones and therefore was not eating well in the evenings.

Poor Grudhra! The birds had unanimously decided to attack Grudhra and they swooped on him, swarmed around him pecking him with their beaks and claws making lot of noise .Grudhra tried to protest as  Bidaala watched in horror from the hollow.  Finally, Grudhra, not able to bear the attack sank and fell down senseless. He could not speak and life was ebbing away.

Then , the birds flew up the tree their anger still simmering. Just then, Bidaala slinked out of the hollow and started running towards the bushes where he used to devour the chicks. The birds , only then noticed Bidaala and understood that it was Bidaala, not Grudhra who was the real culprit.

Alas! it was too late. They had killed a member of their own clan who was innocent and was so old.

P.S. This happens with us human beings too. So choose your friends carefully and  do not act in a haste.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén