Once upon a time, there lived a crow called Kaalpakshi. Kaalpakshi lived in small town. He lived a happy life. But he had one grievance. He felt that he was black and ugly. He felt bad about himself because of this. One day, when Kaalpakshi was perched on the tree, he saw a beautiful bird. He had never such a bird before. It was a crane.
The Crane flew over the town and landed on the tree where the crows had made their home. It perched itself on a branch near the top of the tree. The bird was, indeed, beautiful. Its long feathers shone in the bright sun. They were soft and lustrous and as white as snow. Kaalpakshi felt all the more ugly in the presence of the crane. Gathering courage, he approached the crane and talked to him. The crane was a pleasant and amiable bird. Kaalpakshi complimented the crane on his good looks. “You look very beautiful”, he said, “You are not ugly like us, the crows”. The crane said, “I am not beautiful either. I am pure white in colour. There is no other colour in my body. A few miles away, there is another huge tree. The huge tree is home to many parrots. They are green in colour with bright red beaks. They have a red ring around their neck. They are the most beautiful birds I have seen”.
Kaalpakshi grew curious. He had never seen a parrot before. “Can there be birds more beautiful than this crane”, he wondered. Kaalpakshi asked the crane if he would take him to where the parrots lived. The crane obliged. The next day, they reached the parrots’ tree. They spotted a parrot sitting in a branch nearby. The crane and Kaalpakshi went up to the bird. They told him why they had come. They were full of admiration for the parrots. “You are the most beautiful birds I have seen so far”, Kaalpakshi said.
The parrot was happy to hear their words of admiration. “We are indeed beautiful”, he said, “but I feel that we have only two colours. There is another bird a short distance from here. The bird is so beautiful that all the colours in the world can be seen in its bright plumage. It has a graceful gait and it can dance. All the people from the towns far and near come to see and marvel at its beauty. They extol its beauty in song and poetry. The bird lives in a cage.” They asked the parrot to lead them to the bird he had just described. The parrot agreed. It was already dark by then.
The crane and the crow stayed in the tree for the night. The next morning, they flew over to the place where the colourful bird stayed. It was a zoo and the colourful bird, the parrot was talking about, was a peacock. The Peacock was locked in a large cage. There were a few fruits on the floor. The cage was surrounded by people who looked at the bird. Some of them took photographs. The bird appeared to be stressed by all the attention and noise. It hid itself in a corner of the cage. A few mischievous schoolboys threw small stones at the poor bird.
The parrot, crane and the crow flew down and perched on the outside of the cage. Soon the boisterous crowd left and the peacock was alone. The crow told the peacock why they had come. “You must be the most beautiful bird in the world”, the crow said, “You must also be the happiest”. The Peacock replied, ”Once upon a time, I too thought so. But not any more. This beauty has become a curse for me. I have been locked up in this cage because I am beautiful. I have lost my freedom.”
The crow felt sad and confused. He had thought that beauty gives you happiness. The peacock said, ”If only I had been born a crow I would not suffer this way. Nobody trifles with the crow. They are free birds who can fly wherever they want and live as they please. They must be the happiest birds”. The crow was surprised to hear this. “Is being a crow really a blessing ?”, he thought to himself. The crow felt sorry for the peacock.
The birds stayed there for a while and then left. Kaalpakshi came away from the zoo a wiser bird. He no longer felt inadequate or inferior about himself.
Children, this story tells us to first love ourselves. We need to be happy about who we are and our circumstances. Too often, we wish we were someone else. Everyone has problems and shortcomings. The secret to being happy is to accept ourselves and our situation. Happiness will then come on its own.