Swan and the Owl

Within a certain forest was a broad expanse of lake. There lived a king-swan named Passion, who spent his days in a great variety of pastimes. One day death, fatal death, visited him in the person of an owl. And the swan said: “This is a lonely wood. Where do you come from?”

The owl replied: “I came because I heard of your virtues.”

After this address, the swan gave his assent, in the words: “My excellent friend, dwell with me as you like by this broad lake in this pleasant wood.” So their time was spent in friendly diversions.

But one day the owl said: “I am going to my own home, which is called Lotus Grove. If you set any [130} value on me and feel any affection, you must not fail to pay a visit as my guest.” With these words, he went home.

Now as time passed, the swan reflected: “I have grown old, living in this spot, and I do not know a single other regions. So now I will go to visit my dear friend, the owl. There I shall find a brand-new recreation ground and new kinds of food, both hard and soft.”

After these reflections, he went to visit the owl. At first, he could not find him in Lotus Grove and *when, after a minute search, he discovered him, there was the poor creature crouching in an ugly hole, for he was blind in the daytime. But Passion called: “My dear fellow, come out! I am your dear friend the swan, come to pay you a visit.”

And the owl replied: “I do not stir by day. You and I will meet when the sun has set.” So the swan waited a long time, met the owl at night, and after giving the conventional information about his health, being wearied by his journey, he went to sleep on the spot.

It so happened that a group of merchants were passing by the next day early morning. The merchants chanted some hymns, and to that, the owl replied with a hoot. Thinking that this was a bad omen, the merchants then decided to shoot the owl down. But in the meantime, the owl had fled and taken refuge in a nearby hole near the shore of the lake. But the swan did not move. The arrow from the merchants came and hit the swan and it was killed.

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