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THE CUNNING CRANE

Long time ago in the big dense forest of Junglepur, once there lived a crane beside a small pond. This crane was extremely cunning and deceitful. The lake was abundant with fish, frogs and crabs. The crane fed on these animals every day. When the crane was young and strong, making any fish, frog his prey was a minor thing. But as years passed by, he started to grow old.

Each day, he found it extremely difficult to catch a prey and so he had to go without food often and starve through nights. But intelligent as he was, he said to himself, "If this thing keeps on going, I am sure to starve to death very soon. So, I must think of something to get food daily and regularly”. Thinking hard, he chalked out a cunning plan.

The very next day, the crane stood besides the bank of the pond. He looked very sad and upset, almost crying. The animals of the pond were very surprised to see him. They whispered to one another, "What has happened to the crane? Why is he not preying today?”

Ultimately, one of them, a frog, who thought himself to be bold, came out to ask the crane, "Oh, big crane, why are you so upset and why are you not preying upon us. What has happened?

The crane then making a very sad gesture replied, “What should I tell you, brother? It is so painful to tell you what is going to happen.

The frog got extremely inquisitive, and asked “Tell me what is going to happen that has even made you so upset and heavy?”
 
As planned, the crane replied in a very heave voice, “I do not want to dishearten you all, but this is what I have heard that this pond is very soon going to be filled with earth by the humans. It is this news that has made me so sad,” said the crane.

“Oh no, this is really big news and a very sad one indeed. What will happen to all the fish in this pond? They are definitely going to die,” retorted the frog in wonder.

“This is what makes me more sad. Since the moment I heard this news, I have been extremely worried,” said the crane.

And in no time, this news spread like wild fire in the entire pond. All the animals in the pond felt very awfully worried, upset and kept on speculating about their future and their life. They all gathered near the crane and said, “Oh Crane, you are the only one who is wise among us all. Only you can get rid us of this calamity. So please think and advise us as to what we should do.”


The crane replied again with a tinge in his eye and said, “I have already thought of a plan. I know of a very big and deep pond little far away from here. What I can do is I can make you all reach over there if you all wish so.

Then what could have happened. All the fish, frogs and crabs and other animals who were already so worried and fearful readily agreed to the crane’s idea and retorted in one voice,  “We are ready to follow your plan. Do as you wish to save our lives.”

“All right then, it is decided. I will try to carry all of you to the other tank. But as you know there is one problem with me. As I have grown old, I cannot carry all of you together.

So, you will all have to go with me one by one,” said the crane.

All the animals readily agreed to what the crane said and infact started fighting among themselves, as to who will be the first one to go.

The crane then picked up some fish in his beak and flew away. Instead of taking them to the other pond, he went besides a big rock and killed all of them there and ate them up.

When the crane had his fill, he fell asleep and took his rest. When he got up and felt hungry, he again reached the pond. As expected, the other fish were already waiting for him. He again picked up some of them with his beak and made them his prey.

So this kept on happening for a number of days and the number of fish came down considerably in the pond. But the crane was very happy, as he hardly had to make any effort to reach to his prey.
 
One day one of the crab from the pond said to the crane, "Oh big crane, you have carried a large number of fish to the other tank. So, it’s my turn now. Please take me too.”

“Why not, it is your turn now,” replied the crane. Having said this, the crane thought, “I am fed up eating fish every day. For a change, I must try this crab also. So, the crane caught the crab in his beak and flew away. Reaching near the rock, he began to fly down in order to land there. 

However, it so happened that the crab got a chance to look down. He could not see any water over there. This made him little frightened as he could not understand why the crane was landing on the earth instead of taking him to the pond. He said to the crane, “Oh big crane, I can't see any water here. Why are you flying me down then? Carry me to that place where you carried the others.”

The crane burst into laughter and said, “Don't worry dear, I am taking you there only. Look at that rock. I had brought all the fishes here.”

When the crab looked at the rock, he could only found bones scattered about. He saw through the wickedness of the crane. He immediately understood the plan of the crane and the fact that he had eaten up all the fish there on the rock.

The crab was now very worried with the thought of his impending death. He thought, “It’s now decided that I will be the meal for this cruel crane today. So, I must do something to save myself.” He thought of making a last brave attempt to free himself.

Thinking so, the crab began to fix his tentacles deep into the crane's neck. The crane tried its best to get his neck free but all went in vain. The crab’s strong tentacles were enough to injure the crane’s neck and bring out blood from it in a short time. Very soon, the crane's neck got severed from his body and came down tumbling to the ground. The crab gave a sigh of relief and started dragging the crane back to the pond.

Seeing the crab back with the crane’s neck, other animals of the tank were highly amazed and surprised. They asked him, “Brother, why have you returned to this pond again?  What happened to the crane, and whose neck is this?"

“Yes, this neck is none other than our crane itself. All of my friends, the crane was very cunning and wicked. He actually carried all the fish for his meal and not to any other pond. He made a fool of all of us and devoured whoever he had taken to that rock over there. I was fortunate that I could understand the crane’s intentions early of killing me and having me for his meal. But I cut off his neck with my sharp tentacles and here lies the dead cunning crane,” replied the crab.

Hearing this, all the animals applauded the crab but at the same time were extremely sad and doleful on hearing what has happened to all their other friends who had been taken by the crane. But atleast they were all happy that their lives were saved from the hands of the crane.

Moral- Bad actions would sooner or later lead to bad results. So, we must always stay from doing bad things and instead utilize our brains to do the right things.



 
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