FablesPanchatantra

The Duel between Elephant and Sparrow

In a dense bit of jungle lived a sparrow and his wife, who had built their nest on the branch of a tamal tree, and in course of time, a family appeared.

Now one day a jungle elephant with the spring fever was distressed by the heat and came beneath that tamal tree in search of shade. Blinded by his fever, he pulled with the tip of his trunk at the branch where the sparrows had their nest and broke it. In the process, the sparrows’ eggs were crushed, though the parent-birds – further life being predestined – barely escaped death.

Then the hen-sparrow lamented, desolate with grief at the death of her chicks. And presently, hearing her lamentation, a woodpecker bird, a great friend of hers, came grieved at her grief, and said: “My dear friend, why lament in vain?”

“That is good doctrine,” said the hen-sparrow, “but what of it? This elephant curse – his spring fever! – killed my babies. So if you are my friend, think of some plan to kill this big elephant. If that were done, I should feel less grief at the death of my children.”

“Now see what my wit can devise. But you must know that I, too, have a friend, a gnat called Lute-Buzz. I will return with her, so that this villainous beast of an elephant may be killed.”

So he went with the hen-sparrow, found the gnat, and said: “Dear Madam, this is my friend the hen-sparrow. She is mourning because a villainous elephant smashed her eggs. So you must lend your assistance while I work out a plan for killing him.”

“My good friend,” said the gnat, “There is only one possible answer. But I also have a very intimate friend, a frog named Cloud-Messenger. Let us do the right thing by calling him into consultation.”

So all three went together and told Cloud-Messenger the entire story. And the frog said: “How feeble a thing is that wretched elephant when pitted against a great throng enraged! Gnat, you must go and buzz in his fevered ear, so that he may shut his eyes in delight at hearing your music. Then the woodpecker’s bill will peck out his eyes. After that, I will sit on the edge of a pit and croak. And he, being thirsty, will hear me, and will approach expecting to find a body of water. When he comes to the pit, he will fall in and perish.”

When they carried out the plan, the fevered elephant shut his eyes in delight at the song of the gnat, was blinded by the woodpecker, wandered thirst-smitten at noonday, followed the croak of a frog, came to a great pit, fell in, and died.

Related posts
FablesHindu Fables

THE TIMID HARES

FablesStories from India

The Camel's Neck

Children's booksFables

Goldilocks and The Three Bears

FablesPanchatantra

The Snake and the Ants