The Shrewd Old Gander

In a part of a forest was a fig tree with massive branches. In it lived a flock of wild geese. At the root of this tree appeared a creeping vine of the species called koshambi. Thereupon the old gander said: “This vine that is climbing our fig tree bodes ill to us. By means of it, someone might perhaps climb up here someday and kill us. Take it away while it is still slender and readily cut.” But the geese despised his counsel and did not cut the vine so that in course of time it wound its way up the tree.

Now one day when the geese were out foraging, a hunter climbed the fig tree by following the spiral vine, laid a snare among the nests, and went home. When the geese, after food and recreation, returned at nightfall, they were caught to the last one. Whereupon the old gander said: “Well, the disaster has taken place. You are caught, having brought it on yourselves by not heeding my advice. We are all lost now.”

Then the geese said to him: “Sir, the thing having come to pass, what ought we to do now?” And the old fellow replied: “If you will take my advice, play dead when that hateful hunter comes. And when the hunter, inferring that we are dead, throws the last one to the ground, we then must all rise simultaneously, flying over his head.”

At early dawn, the hunter arrived, and when he looked them over, everyone seemed as good as dead. He, therefore, freed them from the snare with perfect assurance, and threw them all to the ground, one after the other. But when they saw him preparing to descend, they all followed the shrewd plan of the old gander and flew up simultaneously.

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