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THE SMART SWAN

This is one more story from Junglepur. Junglepur used to have a very huge tree in the center of the forest. Its strong branches had spread far on all sides. It was the biggest tree found in Junglepur and probably one of the biggest in that region. As every tale has it, there used to be a group of swans who had made their nests for a long time. Most of their time was passed perching on the tree branches and watching the whole jungle from the top. And all these swans loved this tree more than anything else.

One of the swans out of this group called Gyani was extremely wise and far-sighted. One day this swan accidentally saw a small twiner grow near the roots of the tree. So he asked one of his companions, "Do you see that twiner growing near the roots of this tree?

The companion replied, "Of course, I can see it friend. But why are you so worried. It’s too small to harm us or this tree?"

However, Gyani, far-sighted as he was, did not want to take any chances with his sweet home. So called and addressed all his companions and told them that, "Friends, this small twiner will grow thicker and harder in due course of time and curl round the tree stem.

"So what?" asked all his companions in surprise.

"Oh god, cant you see that any hunter will then be able to climb up the tree by means of this twiner and then get to us. Will then we remain safe in that case?" replied Gyani.

"But it is very small so far, Gyani and it will not be wise to destroy a budding thing," said all the other swans in one voice.

But Gyani persisted in his effort retorting that "Harmful things must be destroyed when they are small. This twiner presently is soft and thin and so it can be cut and uprooted easily now. But over the course of time, when it grows thick and hard, it will be difficult to cut or uproot it. It may then be a great danger to us," warned Gyani.

But Gyani’s words felt on deaf ears. All the swans retorted in one voice, "If ever it happens so, we will deal with it then."

So, luckily the twiner remained intact and started to grow in place as Gyani’s warning had been ignored. As a result, day by day it grew thicker and harder. Also, it curled round the stem of the tree.

Now, one day when all the swans were away to look for food a bird-catcher happened to come to that tree.

 

He thought in his mind, "Oh Vow, this tree is abode of swans. How safely they have built their nests over here. I must catch all of them by today evening," he whispered to himself.

Thinking so, the bird-catcher climbed up the tree by means of that same twiner. After setting a trap to catch the swans, he came down at once.

After toiling hard through the day, the swans returned to their nests at dusk tired. They could not notice the trap. So, as soon as they flew down to their nests, they got entrapped in the net laid by the bird-catcher. Inspite of their best efforts, they could not get themselves free.

They all shouted in one voice, "Who will save us now? This cruel bird-catcher will kill us all. Is there anyone in this world, who will save us now."

 

"Why are you shouting now, friends?" shouted Gyani. "You did not heed to my warning and the result is before you." But then he consoled them and tried to make all the swans calm.

 

He said, "It is no use crying now. We must think of something nice and quick for saving ourselves from the bird-catcher, or otherwise he will catch us all. So let me think and you also think."

"We all beg your pardon, Gyani, for ignoring your warning. But we know you are the only one who can get us out of this danger," said the other swan in one voice.

Thinking of some strategy in his mind, Gyani then whispered to his friends, "Listen to me. When the bird-catcher comes tomorrow morning, we should all feign death. We should remain here lying motionless and holding our breaths. He will start taking us out of the trap and placing us on the ground one by one. When he places the last of us on the ground, we should fly away all at once. But remember, we should fly only when he has taken all of us out."

All the swans agreed to Gyani’s plan. The bird-catcher came the next morning. Climbing up the tree, to his surprise he found all the swans lying motionless like dead within the trap. Considering them to be all dead probably due to hunger and choking, he started taking them out of the trap and placing them on the ground one by one. All the swans as decided earlier, lay completely motionless without even trying to breathe.

Finally, when the hunter had thrown the last swan on the ground, all the swans flew away at once before the bird-catcher could even do something in response. He could just watch them fly away and then sat down stroking his forehead in vain.

Talking to himself, he said "Oh no, all of these birds were alive. What a fool I am! I took them to be dead and placed them on the ground. Oh, what a big deception on their part.

The bird-catcher then climbed down the tree dejected, sad and surprised as to how foolishly, all the swans had made a big fool out of him.

What else could he have done, pondering over the great foresight and intelligence of the swans, he left the place never to return to bird-catching.

Moral - Anything that can lead to grave consequences later on life should be dealt at its birth. Therefore, children who are not far-sighted will finally repent in the long run.



 
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