The rat Hiranyaka freed up the pigeon flock from the hunter’s net and protected them. Impressed the crow Laghupatanakam landed at the entrance of Hiranyaka’s house and proposed a hand of friendship.

Hiranyaka expressing surprise at the proposal said, “Elephant and lion, cow and tiger, rat and crow are natural enemies. They can’t be friends. One of these is eaten by the other as food. So, there is no way we can be friends. You may please go away”, and rejected the proposal. He said, “If I accept this friendship I will face danger the way the deer faced by befriending its natural enemy, the fox”

Jan-2020-Self-Confidence-The-Deer-and-the Crow

The crow became curios and asked, “Hey Hiranyaka! This looks interesting. How did the deer get into trouble and how did it come out of that? Can you please elaborate?”

Hiranyaka started narrating…

“Long ago there was a forest named Manda:ravati in the kingdom of Magadh”. A crow and deer were good friends in that forest. As they were roaming around in the forest free of fear, the deer grew very healthy and stout. A fox saw the deer. He wanted to somehow trick the deer and feast on the healthy flesh. He thought, to cheat someone, one should first win the confidence. So he approached the deer and introduced himself
portraying a very positive opinion.

The innocent deer believed all that and became ready to accept the friendship. However, the crow who was his friend sensed danger and didn’t approve of the same. He said, “We should not believe strangers blindly. We should first verify their antecedents before inviting them into our lives. Once, an old eagle Jaradgavam, believed a cat blindly and lost its life.”

“There used to be a huge banyan tree on the banks of Ganges. An old blind eagle used to live in a hole in that tree. As she was old, she couldn’t go around in search of food. Many other birds also lived there. Together they used to feed the eagle by sharing a part of the food they fetched for their young ones. In return the eagle used to take care of their young ones. Once, a cat climbed the tree to feed on the baby birds. Seeing this, the baby birds started screaming for help. The eagle immediately came out of its home shouting, “Who’s that?” The cat was frightened at the sight of the huge eagle. As the eagle advanced towards the cat, he understood it is impossible to fight this eagle and feed on these birds. He immediately devised a plan to avert the danger. He prostrated in front of the eagle and said, “Salutations! Oh wise one. I am the cat deerghakarnam”

As young birds are natural prey to cats, the eagle threatened, “Leave this place immediately. Else you will have to face the consequences”. The cat acted very docile and said, “Hey eagle, you are elderly. You should first enquire about the antecedents of a guest and then decide action. It is not fair to judge someone by their birth.”

To this the eagle responded, “Ok. Tell me about yourself.” The cat felt a bit relived and started narrating thus “I reside beside the river bank near-by. I take a holy dip in the river every day. I have foregone non-vegetarian food, follow brahmacharya, do daily tapas and lead a pious life. I heard from other birds about your greatness and wanted to get in touch with you. I intend to spend time with you and learn some good things from your immense wisdom. Is it fair for such great souls like you to punish a pious and sincere guest at your doorsteps?”

To this the eagle responded, “You are a cat and these birds are your natural prey. My intention is only to protect these birds from danger. Hope you understand”. The cat became more relaxed and went a step ahead in its dramatics. Keeping a sorry face he said, “I must have done bad deeds in previous births to be born a cat. I have no intention to eat these baby birds and accumulate more bad karma. Our scriptures and elders preach ‘Ahimsa: paramo: dharmaha’. Those who follow dharma show compassion towards fellow beings, is my belief.”

The eagle believed the cat’s words and did not object to his movements around the tree. She befriended the cat and started spending sometime chatting with him every day. After getting used to the baby birds also for a while, the cat gradually started strangling them by neck one after the other. She would then feed on the dead birds and leave the remnant bones near the eagle’s nest. This continued for a while. The mother birds started searching for their missing young ones and tracked down to their bones near the eagle’s nest. They mistook the eagle to be the
culprit and killed him by piercing with their beaks.”

Thus the crow reasoned, why one shouldn’t blindly believe strangers. The fox was cunning and cleverly presented a counter
narrative to the deer. “Weren’t you a stranger when you first met with the crow?”. The good natured deer fell prey to this and somehow convinced the crow to accept the friendship. The crow finally obliged and started spending some time together every day. One day, the fox said, “My dear friend, I have found a gift for you. There’s a field nearby with lot of greenery” and led the deer there. The deer happily started feeding on the lush green crop. This continued for a couple of days. The farmer suspected some animal is feeding on the crop and laid a net to catch the thief. Unawares, the deer went into the fields as usual and got trapped in the net.

Seeing this the fox thought, “At last my wait has borne fruit. The farmer will kill this deer and I will have a sumptuous
dinner tonight.” The deer spotted the fox nearby and appealed, “Hi! friend. I am trapped in this net. Please free me up and save me.” The cunning fox responded “Oh! today is Sunday and I cannot bite the net with my teeth as I am fasting. Please tell me something that I can do using my brains.” The deer thus realised how dangerous it is to befriend such cunning animals. As the dusk approached, the crow wondered ‘why the deer hasn’t arrived’ and started searching. Flying above the crow spotted the deer trapped in the net and asked, ‘how has this happened?’ “This is the result of not heeding to the advice of a well-intentioned friend” responded the deer repenting.

The crow thought for a while and said, “When the farmer arrives, you lay still like a dead corpse. I will act as if I am
piercing and eating your eyes. The farmer will think you are dead and loosen the net. Once he loosens, I will hint you so you can run to safety.” As they guessed the farmer arrived and started to loosen the net. The moment all the corners were loosened, the crow cawed and the deer ran away in a jiffy. Caught unawares, the angry farmer threw the stick in his hand aimed at the deer. Missing the aim, the stick hit the fox nearby and it lay dead.

Thus, the fox which tried to cheat the deer fell prey to its own plan and died, while the crow and the deer remained friends
happily ever after.

– Tanslated by Balaji Gorantla from Telugu original by Molagu Krishn Priya, Veerullapadu