The Enmity Between Crows And Owls|
Once upon a time, all the birds, the swans, the parrots, cranes, cuckoos, nightingales, owls, peacocks, doves, partridges and the rest of them, had a meeting. They began to hold a discussion with great vehemence.
'Garuda is our king,' they said, 'but he is so busy worshiping Lord Vishnu, that he doesn't bother about us. 'What is the point of having a master who is just a namesake! He never helps us to get out of the traps set by hunters! They say: "As a boat without a helmsman just drifts with the tide, so too the people come to grief, when their king takes no care of them. So never put your faith in such a king any more than you would in a sinking ship in the ocean. The same applies to a teacher who does not teach, a Brahmin who does not study the Vedas, a wife who has a sharp tongue, a cowherd in a town and a barber who wants to become a Sanyasi." 'And so,' continued the birds, 'let us consider the matter carefully and elect a new king!'
"Now when the birds looked round at one another, they noticed that the owl had very impressive features and everyone said, 'The owl shall be our king. Bring the things that are necessary for the coronation!'
"And so, the birds collected water from the holy rivers and also a hundred and eight different roots. The throne was decorated lavishly and a tiger skin was spread over ground in front of it. They drew a map of all the continents and the oceans. They beat the drums and blew the conches. Brahmins began to recite the Vedas and beautiful maidens sang songs of joy.
"But just as the owl was being led to the throne to be crowned, a crow arrived on the scene and demanded, 'What is the meaning of this great gathering of birds?'
"When the birds saw the crow, they said to one another, 'Let's have his opinion too, for they say:"A barber is the shrewdest aniongst men, crow amongst birds, jackal amongst animals, and a white-robed Jain Holy-man amongst hermits." And," A plan, once decided upon, in consultation with a wise man, will never go astray."
'Birds,' repeated the crow, 'why this meeting and why this celebration?'
'Friend,' replied the birds, 'we birds have no king of our own, and so we have decided to crown this owl as our king. You have come just in time to give us your opinion too.'
Well,' replied the crow with a smile, 'my advice is against crowning the owl our king. Why choose this ugly and blind-by-day owl, when. we have, amongst us the best of the birds--peacocks, swans, cuckoos, nightingales, pigeons, cranes, and so on! I certainly advise against it! His crooked nose and his squint eye make him look cruel, even when he is not angry. Whatever would he look like if he was really angry? What could we possibly gain by electing such an ugly and vicious-looking leader. And what is more, even if this owl has his qualities, it is not necessary to elect another king. We already have Garuda, and just by mentioning his name, you can keep your enemies at bay. They say: "The mere utterance of a great man's name helps you get out of difficulties.
In this way, the hares mentioned the name Chandrama and lived happily ever after."
' How was that?' asked the birds.
And the crow told the story of 'The Hares And The Elephants'.