Jataka Tales – A Greedy Crow
Greedy and a meanie.
There was a time long ago when the people in a kingdom were so kindhearted that they built homes for birds in their houses and allowed them to stay there in safety. The birds also were very grateful and lived there peacefully. They never did anything to bring trouble to their kindhearted protectors.
During those times, a pigeon lived in a little home built for him by a nobleman in the nobleman’s palace. Every day, the pigeon would fly out and spend his day flying here and there, gathering grains and other kinds of food for himself. In the evening, he would fly back to his little nest in the palace of the nobleman.
In the same kingdom, there was a crow. The crow unlike the pigeon and the other birds was a very cunning and dishonest bird. He was always up to some mischief. One day he saw the pigeon flying out of his nest in the palace. He said to himself,
Crow: If I befriend the pigeon and gain entry into the nobleman’s palace, life will be very easy for me. The cook in the palace makes many tasty dishes. I am sure I can steal a bit of it every now and then. They will surely not notice the difference.
So from that day, the crow followed the pigeon around till the pigeon asked him,
Pigeon: Why are you following me around?
Crow: I have seen what a fine bird you are. I wish to follow you so that I can learn all about you and your good qualities.
The pigeon was flattered but he also knew that the crow was a cunning bird. So he said..
Pigeon: if you really think you can learn anything from me, you can come home and spend a few days with me. But let me warn you, if you are up to any of your old tricks, you will surely fall into big trouble. My master the nobleman is a very kind man, but will not tolerate a thief.
Crow: Don’t worry, my friend, I will never do anything wrong.
Pigeon: Okay, now let’s go.
That evening, the pigeon took the crow home with him. The crow looked at the different kinds of food being prepared in the kitchen. The next morning when the pigeon was getting ready to fly away, the crow said,
Crow: I am not feeling well today. Please let me stay here and rest awhile till I feel better. I will join you later.
Pigeon: Take care of yourself, my friend. I am leaving now.
The crow stayed in his nest looking greedily at all the food being prepared in the kitchen. He liked the fish more than anything else. The crow could hardly wait to taste the curry. The cook poured the curry into a bowl and went out to fetch some vegetables from the garden. Seizing that chance the crow quickly flew into the kitchen. He held the lid of the vessel containing the fish and tried to lift it silently, but the lid fell with a big bang. The cook rushed into the kitchen and caught the crow red-handed. He plucked all the features and threw him out of the palace garden.
One should never be greedy. Greed leads to nothing, but downfall.