panchatantra story 12

crows and owls

In India, there lived a colony of crows on a huge tree, known as banyan tree. On another tree nearby, lived a colony of owls. The owls were powerful enemies, frequently attacking and harassing the crows. The owls could see at night, giving them advantage over the crows. The king of the crows called a meeting of his ministers. One of them suggested to make peace with the owls. “But the wicked enemies, the owls, will never keep their promise” replied the king. If the crows chose to move out to another place, they will have to build up their lives once again. The new place could pose other problems. Finally, an old crow came up with a novel idea.

The old crow said, “Let us have the policy of double dealing. You attack me and throw me out of the flock. Then go and settle temporarily in the nearby mountain. I will try to gain the confidence of the enemies out of compassion, stay with them and then tactfully destroy them.” So the old crow picked up a mock quarrel with the king. The king punished him and he was thrown off the tree. The crow colony then moved to the nearby mountain, waiting for further instruction from the old crow.

One of the owls saw the miserable fate of the old crow and hurriedly went to report to his king. The king of the owls arrived at the spot. He saw the groaning old crow while the rest of the crows have left. The old crow sought shelter of the owls. He said in pain, “When I asked our king to pay tribute to you, he kicked me out and almost got me killed. I have no place else to go, I seek your protection, Oh king. I promise to work for you in the destruction of the crows.”

The king took pity and invited the old crow to stay in their fortress but the old crow humbly said, “Oh king, I am so very grateful to you but I am not worthy of the honor of staying with you, after all, I am only a crow. Allow me to build my nest at the gate of the fort.” In fact, he did not want to stay too close to the owls or else he would be constantly watched and would not be able to carry out his plans of destroying the owls.

The old crow made a big nest by laying dry twigs at the entrance of the owl fort. Theone morning, when the owls were sleeping, the old crow slipped out and flew straight to the nearby mountain where his friends were hiding. He asked the king to instruct each of the crows to quickly pick up a burning twig and follow him. They did as instructed and began to drop the burning twig on the nest of the old crow which was nothing but a pile of old twigs. In no time a huge flame came up. The owls woke up, but could not escape. The gate was shielded by the flame and smoke filled the fortress. In no time the entire colony of owls was perished. What is the moral of the story?

Cleverness will outshine brute force.