Once up on a time,in another age, number of parrots were dwelling in the forest.They had plenty of fruit to eat, tall trees to sleep in,and clear skies to swoop and dart about in as they pleased.Yet they were troubled persistently by a cruel hunter,who would lay his traps,tempting the birds with tasty grain and catching large numbers of them every day.Indeed,the population dwindled to such an extent their elders began to fear lest their race disappear entirely from the forest.They held meeting, with twittering and chattering,and resolved that their leader should approach a venerable old rishi living at the other side of the forest to request his assistance. without delay,the leader took off and presently reached the rishi's hermitage.Approching that great personage with all due respect and humility, and making the proper salutin,he began.
"O honourable one! I am leader of the parrots of this forest. Our numbers are diminishing daily on aount of the cruel hunter who is catching us in his traps.Pray advice us,holy sir,what is to be done."
The old rishi replied "Certainly i can point out the remedy. Even though the hunter sets his traps there is no danger to you if you are not tempted by the tasty grain which he spreads inside; So be satisfied with the fruits and nuts so bountifully provided by the lord ,All you have to remember is not to eat the grain."
Our parrot was overjoyed that the problem could be solved easily,Yet a doubt still remained------ "O noble sage" he said,"we parrots are not noted for our intellect,nor for our long memories.I fear that the excellent advice which your revered self has given may quickly slip out of our minds."
"That also is easily solved"replied the rishi graciously."just repeat the rhyme I shall now give you a number of times so as to fix it firmly in your mind."
"The hunter will set his traps
The hunter will spread his grain
We will never eat the grain
So we won't fall in the trap"
Our parrot repeated the rhyme a number of times and got it fixed firmly in his mind .He felt very pleased with himself. Humbly accepting a few nuts by way of prasadam,add taking leave respectfully of the old rishi,he took again to the air.
As soon as he reached his part of the forest,the parrots all crowded round eagerly to hear what the rishi had advised.
"Friends"said the parrot"the noble rishi has given us a wonderful solution.All we have to do is repeat this rhyme.You all learn it immediately"And he repeated it for all to hear.After a little effort all the parrots learnt it by heart.It caught on like wildfire.On all sides the parrots could be heard repeating it over and over again:they repeated it even while attending to their daily duties and there was general rejoicing.
The next day the hunter came to the forest.He set his traps, and spread the grain as usual.The witless birds,even while repeating their new rhyme,saw the grain,swooped down to eat it, and were all caught in the hunter's trap.Some of the birds went on repeating the rhyme even after getting caught!
On hearing the rhyme from them the hunter laughed loud and long."You foolish birds. Even though the holy man gave you sound advice,You were happy merely to repeat it instead of considering itsmeaning and acting upon it. Now you are all trapped.You fully deserve your fate".So saying,he bundled up all the parrots and took them off to the market.
Matrusri Monthly Journal (English) | Vol.18 | June 1983 | No.3