Like all other partridges, Palika built her home in the ground. Her home was a hole below a large tree. It was small, yet, cosy. The entrance to the hole was small which helped keep out other big animals. Once inside, the chamber was spacious to live in.
The trees provided plenty of seeds and fruits for Palika to eat. Palika drank water from the lake nearby. She lived happily. Palika was fond of the nuts and seeds from the trees in the forest. Every day, she would wake up in the morning and go to the lake to take a short bath and drink some water. Then she would go near the trees picking the seeds and nuts which lay strewn around them.
One day Palika was thus foraging amongst the forest floor that she wandered away from her nest. She did not realise this and soon was far away. As she kept moving she discovered a place in the forest she had never seen before.
The place was even better than her old home. The ground was carpeted with flowers which had fallen from the trees. Just like her old home, this place too had a small lake nearby. However, the place was more beautiful and the food more plentiful.
Palika liked the new place. She decided to stay here for a while. She was excited about the new place. She soon found a suitable place in the ground to live in. A few days passed and then a few weeks. Palika had almost forgotten her old home. She was happy in her new surroundings.
A month later, the first rains of the monsoon arrived. Palika did not pay much attention to it. Her old home was located in an area which was higher than the normal ground. This kept the water out. What she did not realise was that her new home was on the ground level. So when the rains fell, the water started to seep into her burrow.
The water at first came slowly but as the rain continued it grew into a big stream. Palika’s new house was soon flooded. She fled from it. She turned around to search for a new home. The rain was pouring. It was dark. Palika desperately searched for a new home. She found none. She spent the night under a tree shivering in the cold.
She screeched in anger. The rabbit came out hearing the commotion. “This place is mine”, she said,” I have stayed here for many years”. But the rabbit would not listen. Soon the argument degenerated into fisticuffs. Palika flapped her wings and tried to peck at the rabbit. The rabbit, in turn, kicked at Palika with its legs. But neither of them could defeat the other.
A wily cat was observing the two fighting from a distance. The cat had a wicked idea. Slowly approaching them, the cat kept a distance and asked what the matter was. The rabbit and Palika looked up. For a moment, they forgot their own fight in terror.
The cat had expected it. With a soft voice, it called out to them, “Friends, I see that you have a disagreement. I would like to know what it is. I can help you sort this out “. The rabbit and Partridge were suspicious. They were raised to consider cats their enemies.
The wily cat continued, ”See, I am old and weak. Do not be afraid. Tell me your problem and I will solve it”. The rabbit was the first to begin telling his side of the story. As soon as he finished a few sentenced, the cat interrupted him. “Friend”, it said, “I am old and am a little hard of hearing. If you can come closer and tell me what you have to say, I will be able to understand”. The Rabbit and Palika crept slowly towards the cat. As soon as they were within striking distance, the wicked cat pounced on them and killed them.
Dear Friends, this story teaches us to value what we have and not be taken in by things which seem attractive. It also teaches us to solve our disputes amicably through discussion. If not, others will take advantage of our disagreements.