Pigeon and the Crow
Danger of Greed]
a time, the people of Benares were fond of setting up bird houses.
This was an act of generosity and kindness, done for the comfort
of birds. It also made the people happy to hear the friendly birds
man in the city had a cook. He kept such a bird house near the
kitchen. In it lived a gentle and careful pigeon. He was so gentle
that he did not care to eat meat. And he was careful to keep his
distance from the cook. For he knew the cook was in the habit
of roasting and boiling dead animals, even including birds!
So the pigeon
always left the bird house early in the morning. After spending
the day finding and eating his food, he returned each night to
sleep in the bird house. He was quite contented with his calm
and harmless life.
was a crow who was quite a different sort of character. For one
thing, he would eat anything! And he was not known for being gentle
and careful. Instead, he often became overly excited, and acted
without considering the danger. And far from being contented,
he often got himself into trouble.
One day the
crow smelled the delicious food being cooked in the rich man's
kitchen. He was so attracted by the odour that he could not take
his mind off it. He decided that he must have the rich man's meat
at any cost. So he began spying on the kitchen, trying to figure
out a way to get some of the meat and fish.
that evening the pigeon returned with his little belly satisfied,
and contentedly entered his little home for the night. Seeing
this, the hungry crow thought, "Ah, wonderful! I can make
use of this dull pigeon to grab a delicious feast from the kitchen."
The next morning,
the crow followed the pigeon when he left for the day. The pigeon
asked him, "Oh my friend, why are you following me?"
The crow replied, "Sir, I like you very much, and I admire
your calm and regular way of life. From now on, I would like to
assist you and learn from you."
said, "Friend crow, your life style is much more exciting
than mine. You would get bored following me around. And you don't
even eat the same food I do. So how can you assist me?"
The crow said,
"When you go each day to find your food, we will separate
and I will find my food. In the evening, we will come back together.
Being together, we will be able to help and protect each other."
The pigeon said. "That sounds all right to me. Now go your
own way and work hard finding food."
spent his usual day eating grass seeds. It took some time patiently
searching for a few little grass seeds, but he was satisfied and
The crow spent
the day turning over cow dung patties, so he could gobble up the
worms and insects he found there. This was fairly easy work, but
he kept thinking it would be even easier to steal from the rich
man's kitchen. And no doubt the food would be better too!
When he was
full, he went to the pigeon and said, "Sir pigeon, you spend
too much time searching for and eating food. It is no good wasting
the whole day that way. Let us go home." But the pigeon kept
on steadily eating grass seeds, one by one. He was quite happy
At the end
of the day, the impatient crow followed the pigeon back to his
bird house. They slept in it together peacefully. They spent several
days and nights in this way.
Then one day
there was a delivery of many kinds of fresh meat and fish. The
cook hung them on hooks in the kitchen for storage.
saw this and was overwhelmed by the sight of so much food. His
desire became greed, and he began plotting a way to get it all
for himself. He decided to pretend to be sick. So he spent the
entire night groaning and moaning.
The next morning,
the pigeon was ready to go look for food as usual. The crow said,
"Go without me, sir pigeon, I have been sick to my stomach
all night long."
replied, "My dear crow, that sounds so strange. I've never
heard of a crow getting an upset stomach. But I have heard they
sometimes faint from hunger. I suspect you want to gobble up as
much as you can of the meat and fish in the kitchen. But it's
for people, not crows. People don't eat pigeon food. Pigeons don't
eat crow food. And it would not be wise for you to eat people
food. It might even be dangerous! So come with me as usual, and
be satisfied with crow food, sir crow!"
The crow said,
"I'm too sick, friend pigeon, I'm too sick. Go ahead without
well," said the pigeon, "but your actions will speak
louder than your words. I warn you, don't risk safety for the
sake of greed. Be patient until I return." Then the pigeon
left for the day.
But the crow
paid no attention. He thought only about grabbing a big piece
of fish, and was glad to be rid of the pigeon. "Let him eat
grass seeds!" he thought.
the cook prepared the meat and fish in a big stew pot. While it
was cooking, he kept the lid slightly off, to allow the steam
to escape. The crow smelled the delicious fragrance in the rising
steam. Watching from the bird house, he saw the cook go outside
to rest from the heat.
The crow saw
that this was the chance he'd been waiting for. So he flew into
the kitchen and sat on the edge of the stew pot. First he looked
for the biggest piece of fish he could find. Then he stuck his
head inside and reached for it. But in so doing, he knocked the
lid off! The clattering sound brought the cook into the kitchen
He saw the
crow standing on the edge of the pot with a fish bigger than he
was, hanging from his beak! Immediately, he closed the door and
window of the kitchen. He thought, "This food is for the
rich man. I work for him, not for some mangy crow! I will teach
him a lesson he'll never forget!"
The poor crow
could not have picked a worse enemy. This cook just happened to
be rather ignorant, so he did not mind being cruel when he had
the upper hand. He took no pity at all on the clever crow.
him, and plucked out all his feathers. The poor crow looked ridiculous
without his shining black feathers. Then the vengeful cook made
a spicy paste from ginger, salt and chilli peppers. He rubbed
it all over the crow's pink sore skin. Then he put him on the
floor of the bird house, and laughed.
The crow sweated
and suffered from the terrible burning pain. He cried in agony
all day long.
In the evening,
the pigeon returned from a quiet day searching for and eating
grass seeds. He was shocked to see the terrible state of his friend
the crow. He said, "Obviously, you didn't listen to me at
all. Your greed has done you in. I'm so sad there's nothing I
can do to save you. And I'm afraid to stay in this bird house
so close to that cruel cook. I must leave at once!"
So the careful
pigeon flew away in search of a safer bird house. And the plucked
and pasted crow died a painful death.
moral is: Greed makes one deaf to sound