The Crow and the Serpent - Story
Once a pair of crows built a nest on a big banyan tree. They lived there in a great happiness. One day a black serpent took shelter under the tree. He started living there in a hole. The crows did not like this but they could not do anything. After sometime the female crow laid eggs. In due course small crows were hatched. The crow couple looked after their small ones with loving care. One day while they were away in search of food, the serpent climbed the tree. He ate up the young ones of the crows. When they came back to their nest they found the nest empty. They were very sad. They asked other animals and birds living there if they had seen their young ones. No one could tell them anything. They were dejected for a long time. Finally when they got over their sorrow, they decided that the next time they had young ones they would not leave them alone.
Many months passed. The female crow laid eggs once more. Once again they had young ones. This time the crow couple was very careful. They always kept their eyes on the young ones. One of them always remained with them. One day the female crow saw the big black serpent climbing the tree towards her young ones. She crowed wildly for it to go away. But the serpent paid no heed. He ate them up. The mother crow was heart broken. She wept bitterly. All her relatives gathered round her. They wanted to punish the serpent but by then he had vanished in to his hole.
When the father crow returned in the evening, he heard the whole story. His sorrow too knew no bounds. At last the mother crow said that they would leave the tree and go away somewhere else. That way the tragedy would not be repeated in future. But the father crow reasoned with her. He said that they had been staying there for such a long time. It was their house. If anyone, then, it was the serpent who had to go. How could they punish the serpent? Then they remembered their friend, the cunning old, fox who lived nearby. They would go and ask her to help them. She was sure to have some clever way to punish the serpent. So they went to the fox. They told her the whole story and then begged her to help them. Otherwise they would have to leave their old banyan tree and go somewhere else.
The fox thought for some time. Then she told them, "No, you do not have to leave your old home. I will tell you how the serpent is to be properly punished." "Tomorrow morning the royal Princess will be going to the river bank for a bath. Before entering the water she will take off her ornaments and clothes and keep them beside the water. There will be guards to look after them." The fox continued, "You make it a point to be hiding in a tree there. When nobody is looking, one of you pick up the precious necklace of the princess and fly away. The other one will follow making a lot of cawing sound. This would make the guards and others see that you have taken away the necklace. They will surely chase you. You carry the necklace to your tree and drop in on to the hole of the serpent. Then watch the fun."
The crows agreed to do as they were told. The next morning the crow couple went on to the river bank and hid themselves among the thick branches of a tree growing near the bank. After some time the Princess, followed by her friends, servants and guards also reached there. The Princess and her friends took off their clothes and ornaments and kept them at one place on the bank. Then they entered the water and started frolicking among themselves. The crow couple was waiting for this opportunity. They had noticed a beautiful pearl necklace among the ornaments of the Princess. The mother crow swooped over it, picked it up and started flying away. The father crow followed it, cawing loudly all the while. The servants and the guards had seen the crow pick up the necklace. They all shouted loudly and started chasing the crows.
The mother-crow came to the banyan-tree and dropped the necklace on the hole of the serpent at the foot of the tree. Then she flew away. The chasing servants had seen the necklace falling being dropped. They reached the foot of the banyan tree. The necklace was half inside the hole. So they tried to take it out with the help of sticks and spears. The serpent did not like this disturbance. He got infuriated and came out of the hole hissing menacingly. The attendants of the Princess surrounded the serpent and beat it to death with their sticks and weapons. They then picked up the necklace and went back. The crow couple was watching the show from a safe distance. When they saw that their old foe was safely dead, they both heaved a sigh of relief. Then they lived happily ever after, increasing their family and always grateful to their friend, the clever fox.