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The Partridge and the Crow

Once there was a partridge living in a forest called Kanishka.  The partridge lived there for many years.  It made its nest in the floor of the forest.  Every day it would come out of its nest in the ground and go around scouring for leaves and seeds in the forest floor.  The forest was a huge one and finding food was not difficult.  There were many fruit bearing trees in the forest.  These trees would bear fruit.  The fruits would fall down to the ground after they had fully ripened, releasing the seeds.  Kanishka and his partner lived in the nest with their chicks.  Kanishka would carry the seeds in his beak to feed his chicks.

The forest was also home to many other birds such as crows, eagles, mynahs and peacocks.  Near the place where the Kanishka had made his nest lived a group of crows.  The crows lived by eating leftover food in the nearby villages or by scavenging on some dead animal in the forest.  Sometimes, they would slyly pick food carried by some traveller who chanced to pass through the forest.

Kanishka knew one of the crows in the group. He was called Kalaraja.   He had known Kalaraja since he was a small chick.  They were good friends.   They talked of many things – about their families and their food habits.  The crow lived in a nest high up in the trees.

One hot summer day, many years later, the birds of the forest had found shelter perched in the branches of the trees.  There they were safe against the heat of the day.  They waited there for the heat to subside in the evening.  Kanishka too was perched in one of the branches of the trees.  His chicks had grown up now.  They too had flown up with him to cool themselves under the branches.
It was evening.  The peace of the forest was suddenly disturbed by the sound of the men and animals.  The birds looked down to see a group of people passing through the forest.  They were carrying utensils and pots on the heads.  They were carrying butter to be sold in the market.  The crows looked down at them.    They liked butter a lot.  It would surely be a welcome break from the boring food they had been eating all week round.

Kanishka’s friend, Kalaraja too had seen the butter.  He could not control himself.  But he had to be careful.  The people carried long sticks as they walked through the forest floor.  They kept swinging it over their heads.  They too knew about the clever crows.  They were careful.  If the crow managed to put its beak into one of their pots, the butter would get spoilt.  They would, then, have to dump the entire butter in the waste.  It would be a big loss to poor people like them.

Kalaraja flew from his perch and hovered over the travellers.  He soon noticed that one of them had forgotten to cover the pot he was carrying in his head.  This was his opportunity.  He would have an easy meal.  He flew low over the unsuspecting person and in quick swoop managed to carrying a big scoop of butter in its beak.  It was indeed tasty.  Kalaraja offered some of the butter to his friend Kanishka.  But Kanishka would not have anything to do with stolen things.  He was an honest bird.
He only watched from a distance.  Kalaraja wanted to have some more butter.  He did his feat again.  He swooped low and came back with another piece of butter in his mouth.  He offered the butter to Kanishka again.  Kanishka refused to have it.  Kalaraja ate the piece and then swooped down again to steal some more.

He came back with yet another piece in his mouth.  He called out to Kanisha to taste some.  Kanishka was having second thoughts.  “What is the harm in tasting butter once a while?”, he thought.  Since, He reasoned that since Kalaraja had already stolen the butter, he would not be doing anything wrong by just tasting it.   He decided to taste the butter just once.  He flew from the branch where Kalaraja was hovering.  Kalaraja was happy to see his friend.  He descended again and dived into the pot and brought a large morsel of butter.  He offered it to Kanishka who tasted it.  It did taste good.  It was different from the seeds he ate all the time.

While Kanishka was thus relishing his new food, the villager carrying the pot had noticed the havoc the crow had caused.  He had carried the pot for such a long distance from the village in the hot sun.  Now, all the butter in the pot had got spoilt.  He would not be able to sell anything in the village market.   He was furious.

He put down his pot and took out his catapult which he was carrying in his sash.  He looked above to see the birds which had caused such loss to him.  As he lifted his eyes up, he saw Kanishka and Kalaraja with the butter still dripping from their beaks.  He was enraged.  He took a stone, put it in his catapult and shot it.  He stone whirred up and stuck Kanishka in the breast.  Kanishka fell down to the ground.    This was the end of poor Kanishka.

Children, this story tell us to stay away from our friends when they do wrong things.  When we are with people who do wrong things, we too will be caught and be punished.