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The Clever Leader and the Doves in the net

In the forests of Anandvan, lived a flock of doves. The forest had tall trees and a river which ran across it.  The doves lived in perfect peace and security in the forest.  They had no enemies who could harm them.   

The doves lived by feeding on the seeds which fell from the trees. Sometimes, the doves flew across the few villages which lay near the forest in search of food.  One day, when they were flying about as usual.  They came across the some grain strewn in the forest floor itself.  The older birds looked around sensing something amiss.  They had seen grain strewn across in the village by kind people who loved to see the doves feed on them.  But to see so much grain strewn in the forest was strange.
But the younger doves were impatient.  The grains were fresh and looked tasty.  They descended to the ground to devour the tasty grains.  "Come back! Come back!” cried the older doves in alarm.  They knew that danger lurked somewhere nearby.

But the younger doves were in no mood to listen.  Ignoring the warnings, they landed on the forest floor and eagerly began gobbling the grain.  There were about a dozen doves on the ground.  It was then that one of the doves feeding on the grains made a sad discovery.  As it sought to move ahead, it discovered that its feet were trapped in a net.

It cried out for help and flapped its wings frantically.    Some of the other doves tried to fly away on hearing the alarm only to discover that they too had been trapped in the net.  What a frightening scene it was as over a dozen doves flailed about in the forest floor desperately trying to free themselves from the net which had trapped them.    Many birds were injured as they thrashed about with feathers falling off and the birds scratching one another with the sharp claws on their feet.

The older and more experienced birds which were perched safely on the branches of the trees could only watch helplessly at the sad scene below.   One of the doves flew back to their colony in the forest.  He met the leader of the doves, an old and respected dove called Pakshiraj. 

Pakshiraj was an able leader known for his wisdom and concern for his followers.  He flew down with dove to the scene of the incident.  The situation was indeed serious.  Pakshiraj thought fast. 
He flew down to the ground.  “Calm down, young fellows!” he said” we are going to get you all out of here”.  Seeing their leader and his brave words, the younger doves grew calm. 

Pakshiraj then called some of the older doves from the branches.  “Quick, get into the net” he said.  The brave leader got into the net himself.  He, too, was now trapped.  The other doves on the branches could not understand what their leader was doing.  Nevertheless, on seeing their leader’s example, the other doves too got down into the net.  Now, all of them were entangled.

Suddenly, one of the doves in the branches cried out in alarm.  The hunter was approaching.  He was only a short distance away from them.    A sense of terror spread through the doves.  If the hunter managed to catch them, they had no hope.  Pakshiraj, though, was calm and composed.  “Now, stop struggling against the net and try to flap your wings”, he said.  The doves did as their leader told them.  They stood still and began flapping their wings in unison.  Then, the incredible happened.  They began to rise from the ground with the net along with them.  He could hardly resist shouting in cheer.

Meanwhile, the hunter had come closer.  He looked at the birds flying away with his net in anger and yelled curses.   He also threw the stick he was carrying at them.  But the birds had risen high enough to avoid the stick.  In a short while, there were near the trees where they stayed. 
The other birds of the colony were happy to see them, though they were puzzled at the strange scene of the birds with the net. 

“Fly above and land on the branches”, said Pakshiraj.  The birds did as he told them and perched on a branch high in the trees.  Pakshiraj now called out to other birds in the colony to help them.  Under the guidance of Pakshiraj, the other birds, using their beaks, carefully untied the strands of the net from the feet of their companions.  The birds became free one by one. 

Dear Children, this story teaches us to listen to our elders.  Many things which are attractive and easy to reach can be dangerous.  Hence, we need to always listen to the warnings of our elders.  This story also teaches us to be always calm and composed so that we can think of ideas to come out of a difficult situation. 

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