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The Hunter of the Songbirds
A very relatable, yet surprising story about how songbirds are captured. This story traces back to the origin of how Tribal bird hunters in forests in Northern India would capture songbirds.
Do you like birds? Have you seen them up close? Have you heard them sing? Do you like them in cages? But how did they get in those cages? Trapping a bird! Have you thought about it? What does a bird-trap look like? How can you capture a bird which flies away at the slightest sound? Does a mouse trap work? But you don’t want to kill the bird! How do you capture a songbirds and cage it?
Well, this story traces back to the origin of how Tribal bird hunters in forests in Northern India would capture songbirds.
Long long ago, the King of the Kingdom of Avanti fell ill and his last wish was to hear a songbird’s melodious song. The Prime Minister was given the task of finding a songbird for the King. And the Prime Minister gave a proclamation that whoever captures a songbird, unharmed would be rewarded with 100 Gold coins! The people of Avanti made all kinds of traps and cages, but no one could capture any bird alive. They started calling for the King’s men when they failed in their efforts to capture songbirds.
“Your honour, there are songbirds on top of that Banyan Tree”. “Your honour, I heard a melodious singing from that Rose bush.” But the birds would be gone before any of the King’s men could get to that place. Moreover, everyone was at their wit’s end. How can you capture a bird without harming it?
People in the Kingdom of Avanti used to live by the principle of Ahimsa (the principle of non-violence). It says to not wish harm to any living creature - not even to any lifeless object. However, the King’s last wish also had to be fulfilled! The Prince of Avanti was a bright young lad and he took up the responsibility of capturing the songbird. He promised that he would capture a songbird within 2 days.
The Prince spent 2 days in the forest, following songbirds. By the end of day one, the Prince spotted a nice little meadow which was home to many different songbirds. He observed them continuously for hours together and by the end of day 2, he had a plan.
The Prince requested his aides, “Tie this rope between two trees in the center of this meadow. In the middle of the rope, I have secured a wooden stick.” The Prince handed over a long rope which had a short wooden stick right in the middle. The soldiers waited for more instructions. The Prince smiled and told “What are you waiting for? This is all! Let’s go get our song bird!”
The soldiers talked among themselves “The Prince must be crazy! How can this short stick trap a bird? Where is the trap in this?”. Saying so, the soldiers tied the rope between two trees in the meadow, just as instructed by the Prince.
Soon enough, a songbird flew in and sat on the stick tied to the middle of the rope. Suddenly the stick turned upside down because of the weight of the bird. The bird got frightened and started fluttering its wings, still hanging on to the stick. The soldiers and the Prince waited in amazement as the scene unfolded in front of them! The bird struggled so much with its wings, but never let go of the stick to which it was clinging to.
After a while, the bird stopped fluttering its wings. The Prince asked the soldiers to take the bird and put it in a cage. To everyone’s surprise, the bird could be easily put into a cage without any struggle. The Prince and his soldiers rushed back to the Palace and showed the beautiful caged songbird to everyone. Everyone was celebrating! How did the Prince easily complete such a challenging task?
The Prince told “I simply observed the birds! The bird is not fully aware of its ability to fly.”
He continued “When a bird comes and sits on the stick, the bird’s own weight turns the stick upside down and it loses its sense of balance. When it is scared, it tightens its grip on the stick and hangs on to its dear life. Because it is hanging upside down, the bird thinks it will fall to death if it lets go of the stick. The foolish bird completely forgets its ability to fly!!”
Everyone was shocked to hear this! How can a bird forget to fly? The Prince continued “Just like how we humans get lost in our worries and forget our real strength!” Everyone agreed to that and praised the Prince for his wisdom! Sure to say, the Kingdom of Avanti prospered under the next King.
Sometimes all that is required is to let go of your fears, to be reminded of your strengths.