Himpaksh along with the other cranes lived on the fish found in the lakes adjoining the hills of the Himalayas. The fish would be plentiful in the summer months. The cranes would feast on an abundance of food. In summer, as the lakes froze with the onset of winter, the cranes embarked on their long journey south to the warmer lakes which lay in the plains.
It was summer and Himpaksh was high in his Himalayan home. The air was fresh and carried the scent of the pine and deodar trees which dotted the hills. The fish were plentiful and the weather was warm.
Himpaksh was proud that he was born a crane. “Cranes are beautiful and elegant”, he thought. He was even glad that he could fly while other animals would have to be content to stay on the ground. He was proud of his graceful neck and slender legs. His milky white coat of feathers made him prouder still.
Besides the lake, there also lived other animals like foxes, yak (a type of buffalo which lives in high altitudes) and several kinds of deer. Foxes were found along the shores of the lakes as they feasted on small insects and crabs. One of the foxes there was known as Champak. Champak would spend the day loitering about the lakes. Every once in a while, his keen sense of smell would lead him to a place on the ground which may appear to be of no interest. With his agile paws, he would then begin digging. Within a few moments a crab would crawl from beneath. Champak would make an easy meal of it using his sharp teeth.
Champak was also a beautiful animal with a luxuriant brown coat and quick blue eyes. Champak lived in the high altitudes of the Himalayas. Himpaksh would sometimes notice Champak as he was walking by the side through the lake. Himpaksh would be standing in the shallow lakes often on one leg. He would stand like this for many hours patiently for an unfortunate fish to swim within striking distance.
Once the fish was within range, he would make one quick dart with his sharp beak. The poor fish would be struck so fast and Himpaksh would swallow it whole. Himpaksh and Champak were friends, though not close. Sometimes, when Himpaksh was busy fishing, Champak would be on the shore hunting for his food. They would exchange glances and pleasantries.
Himpaksh was so self-conceited and full of himself that he decided to play a practical joke on Champak. “Surely, Champak will know how cranes are special creatures”, he thought.
The next day, when he met Champak, he invited him for dinner in the evening. Himpaksh had a clever plan to embarrass the poor fox.
Champak turned up in the evening to the foot of the tree where Himpaksh lived. They talked for a while over many things. Then, Himpaksh placed two tall jars before them. The necks of the jars were narrow. Himpaksh turned to Champak, the fox and said, “Well, friend, I have prepared food for you. Please taste the tasty fish broth I prepared today from the fish I caught.”
The strong aroma was overpowering and Champak wanted to taste the broth. However, as he neared the jar, he found that he could not reach the broth. The neck of the jar was too narrow for his mouth. Meanwhile, Himpaksh was enjoying the discomfort of the fox. He was able to eat the broth as his long beak was able to get through the narrow neck of the jar. He laughed out loud heartily.
Champak was angry at the humiliation. Nevertheless, he did not reveal his anger and left the place.
However, he did not forget the incident. A month passed when Champak invited Himpaksh to a dinner at him home. That evening, he went for the Dinner at Champak’s den. Champak had prepared a stew of delicious crabs. They talked about many things for a while. Then, it was time for food. As Champak brought out the food, Himpaksh was taken aback. The stew was served in two shallow trays. That long beak of Himpaksh was useless with the plate. But Champak easily lapped up the stew with his tongue, leaving Himpaksh hungry.
Himpaksh was ashamed of what he had done to Champak during the previous dinner at his home. He apologised to Champak. Champak was forgiving. He brought out a jar with a tall neck which suited Himpaksh. He poured stew into it. Himpaksh ate the stew heartily.
Children, this story teaches us to accept people for what they are. It also teaches us not to be proud of ourselves. We may be clever in studies. We may be good at sports. But this should never be a reason to be proud and arrogant. We should always be humble and accepting of other people’s limitations and different abilities.