Sunday, 20 May 2012

THE CROWS AND THE SERPENT STORY FROM PANCHATANTRA TALES OF INDIA


Here is another interesting tale from the collection of Panchatantra. Once upon a time, there stood a huge banyan tree on the outskirts of a small village. In this, tree there lived a pair of crows with their young ones. One day, a snake came to live in the hole at the bottom of the tree. The crows were not happy at the arrival of the snake, but they could do nothing.

After a few days, the female crow hatched a few more eggs and some more baby crows were born. When the crows went out in search of food, the snake crawled up the tree and ate up the babies. When the crows came back, they could not locate their babies. They chased high and low, but to no avail. The crows were full of grief on the sad loss of their young ones.

After a few months, the female crow hatched some more eggs. This time female crow stayed in the nest while the male crow went out in search of food. The snake was greedy and ignoring the presence of the female crow, he crept up the tree and attacked the babies. The female crow who was keeping a watchful eye on her babies, tried to fight with the snake, but she was weak. Hearing the shriek of the female craw, other crows came to help her, but the snake had already eaten the young ones and slithered back into his hole.

This killing became the feature of their life. Every time the crows laid their eggs, the snake crawled up the tree and ate all the young ones. Due to this, the crows were never able to raise their young ones. The crows were sad, but they didn’t know how to get free from this killer snake.

One day, the female crow asked the male crow that she wanted to leave this tree at once. The male crow consoled her by saying that the tree had been their home from the past many years and they should reside here. He considered of asking a wise fox for help in order to get rid of the snake. With this thought, both of them went to the place of the wise fox. The fox welcomed her friends and said, “Both of you seem to be very sad. What happened? “

The crows replied, “We are in a big problem. A snake is after us and he eats up our eggs and the young ones. We seek your help in this matter.” They narrated the whole story to the fox. The fox was intelligent; she thought for a few minutes and then laid out a brilliant plan before them. She said, “Listen carefully and do it as per the plan. In the morning, go to the river bank where the ladies of the royal family would be bathing. They keep their ornaments in a tray on the river bank. The guards keep a watch on them from a distance”.

The fox suggested the crows to pick up a necklace from the tray and fly away making a loud noise. This would make the guards to chase them to the tree where the crows would drop the necklace into the hole of the snake. In order to get the necklace, the guards would kill the snake to save themselves and take the necklace. The crows liked the plan and swore to execute it the next morning.

So, the next morning, the crows were ready with their plan. The crow couple flew to the river bank; the female crow picked up the necklace and flew off. While, the male crow shrieked loudly to attract the guards’ attention. The guards ran after the crows brandishing their sticks and swords. Soon, they reached the banyan tree where they saw the crows dropping the necklace into the snake hole.

As the guards were trying to take the necklace out with the help of a stick, the snake came out of the hole. The snake hissed at them and afraid of him, they killed the snake by sticks and swords. They took the necklace and returned to their place. The crows were happy to see the sight from a distance. They thanked the fox for her help. Thereafter, the crow couple lived happily with their young ones in the banyan tree.

Moral: Intelligence is greater than strength.

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