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The Swan and the Owl

Once upon a time there lived a swan named Pushpak.  Pushpak lived on the shores of a lake.  The lake was in the middle of the forest.   The lake was a large one with many fish in it.  The thick forest around the lake was home to many animals.  The forest contained many trees of huge size.  The trees were very tall.  They spread their branches wide across the forest.  Many birds lived in the branches.
All the animals and birds which lived the forest would come down to the lake to drink water when they felt thirsty.  The swan, Pushpak lived there with its friends and his many relatives.  The swans would go out every morning deep into the lake.  They would feed on fish and other small sea creatures such as crabs.

The swans built their nests on the shore of the lake.  There, they raised their young babies.  The babies of swans are called cygnets.  This was the happy and beautiful life of the swans.
One day, an owl came down to the lake to drink water.  Owls had come earlier to the lake to drink water.  They too lived in the forest.  They would usually drink the water and fly away.

The swans did not mind the owls.  They went about their own business.  Over time, one of the owls became friendly with a swan.  The swan too liked the owl’s company.  The swan and the owl spent many hours together.  They became good friends.  They talked about their lives and their families.
However, many swans did not approve of their friendship.  “It is not right to talk to strange birds which are different from us”, they said, “their habits are different from ours”.  But Pushpak would not listen to them.

This went on for many days.  One day, the owl asked the swan to come over to his home.  The owls stayed in the other side of a forest, a few kilometres from the lake. 

Pushpak told the other swans of his plans to visit his new friend’s home across the forest.  They other swans tried to dissuade him from flying across to a strange place with a friend who has too different from them.  But Pushpak would not listen to them as usual.  He felt that he could make himself at home with his new friend.  Besides, he wanted to see how the owls lived.

Thus Pushpak flew off with the owl to the owl’s home in the trees.  The owl had made his home on top of a tree.  Owls are nocturnal birds, which, means that they hunt only during the night.
Pushpak struggled to keep awake at night when his friend the owl went hunting.  The owl would hunt small mice and other animals living in the forest floor.  Pushpak was beginning to grow tired of the owl’s routine.

One evening Pushpak and the owl were sitting on top of a branch.  A king was passing below the trees on the road.  He was returning from a hunting trip.  A large retinue of servants and soldiers were part of the hunting party.   The servants were carrying the animals caught in the hunt.  The soldiers were armed with spears, bows and arrows.

It was late in the evening, when the owl started to hoot.  Owls make a peculiar sound called hooting.  You can hear the sound if you happen to walk by a forested area in the evening.  The sound is considered to be inauspicious by many people.

When the king heard the sound, he was alarmed.  He was greatly disturbed, feeling that something bad was going to occur to him and to his kingdom.  The owl, though, kept on hooting.  It did not know the commotion it was causing.    The angry king ordered his soldiers to shoot at the owl.  But, it was evening time and was quite dark.  The soldiers could not see clearly.  They just shot a few arrows in the direction of the sound.

One of the arrows flew in the direction of Pushpak, the swan and hit him.  He fell down dead from the branch of the tree.  That was the sad end of the swan.

Children, this story tells us to be careful when choosing our friends.  We spend a lot of time with our friends.  Thus, is necessary to know about our friends, their habits and ideas.  Choosing a friend with bad habits or ideas can be dangerous to us.