Once upon a time a rich merchant lived in a city, located near the sea coast. He had two sons who had domesticated a crow as their pet. They regularly used to feed him with the leftovers in their plates. The crow had thus partied now, for quite sometime on the tasty and nourishing food that he got from his masters and with that he had even grown fat. And, because of the royal treatment that he got from his masters he had also become arrogant. Where, he had started considering himself, a class above the other birds, in the surroundings and often used to insult them.
One day near the sea coast some swans landed. Perhaps, they were coming from a long distance and wanted some rest. The sons of the merchant who happened to be there, couldn’t help but praise those beautiful birds. The crow could not bear this and got jealous. In anger and to show off, he went up to the swans and finally to the one who appeared to be their head and said—‘I want to have a flying competition with you.’
The swans tried to explain—‘brother! We are long distance fliers. Our home is in Mansarovar which is quite far off. By competing with us what will you achieve? And can you even compete with we swans?’
The crow in an arrogant tone said—‘I know many ways of flying. I can fly at various speeds. And each speed, I can maintain for hundred yojans (miles). So, tell me if you have the guts to take me on? And at what speed you all want to fly?’
The head swan said—‘Dear crow! I know you are very talented. But I know of only one speed that is my speed and I’ll fly in that only.’
Upon hearing the meek answer of the Swan. The arrogance in crow only increased. He said—‘Fine, you fly the way you want.’
By then some birds had also arrived there to witness the competition. Soon, both swan and the crow flew towards the sea. Where, the arrogant crow soon started performing acrobatics in full strength. He flew ahead of the swan but swan preferred to cruise at his optimum speed. And upon seeing the swan trailing, the crows that had gathered there started cheering.
After a little while the crow started tiring. He started looking here and there for islands with trees where he could go and rest. But he was unable to find anything around except for the deep blue sea. In the meantime the swan surged ahead of the crow. By now the speed of the crow had dropped. He was extremely tired and was about to fall in the sea. That had various types of mammals and fish that could have eaten him up.
When the swan realized the crow was left behind. He turned around and came up to him and asked—‘brother what is the matter with you? You look extremely tired and you’re unable to fly anymore. Soon you would be touching the waves of the sea. So which is this speed of yours?’
Upon hearing the sarcasm of the swan. The crow in a humble tone said—‘Dear Swan! we crows, only know how to caw-caw. So how at all, will we know, how to fly long distance. I have paid the penalty for my arrogance and stupidity. Kindly, therefore, save my life.’
The swam took pity in the half-dead, semi-conscious and drenched crow. He lifted him by his legs. Loaded him on his back and flew over the sea and dropped him at the same spot from where they had started flying.
The short story only conveys the downside of being arrogant and being humble is the biggest virtue one can possess.
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Translated by Kamlesh Tripathi