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Story No 77

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77 - The Birds and the Beasts and the Carpenter

Long time ago, a peacock used to live on the seashore with his wife. Now the place was full of wild animals so he and his wife slept on a tree in the night, and went in search of food in the night. But their fear continued to increase till they thought to move from there. They found an island with many streams and trees of fruits, so they went there and started living there.

Now there came a duck near that tree where those rooster and hen were perching. They asked the duck about her, she said - "I am sick of this man." The peacock said - "Do not be afraid, we are here to protect you." The duck got very happy to hear this and thanked God. The peahen said - "How can a man come here on this island in the midst of the sea? So be happy and don't worry about him." At this duck said - "I had been living here happily till one night when I was asleep, a voice said to me - "You should be careful of man. Do not trust him because he is very crafty. He can take out fish out of the sea, he can shoot the birds and even can trap the elephant. Nobody can escape his mischief. I am telling you what I heard. Since that day my fear has not gone."

I went here and there and I came to a mountain and saw a lion cub sitting at the door of a cave. He got very happy to see me and called me near him. When I went to him, he asked me - "What is your name and what is your nature?" I said - "My name is duck and I am of the bird kind. But why are you here?" He said - "My father had warned me about the man, but this night, I saw a man in my dream." And he told me the same what I told you. So I said to him - "O lion cub, I take asylum with you, because you can kill him. After all you are the king of the beasts." And I urged him to kill the man.

So he arose immediately and ran towards the road and I followed him. We came to a spot where the road forked and a naked donkey was rolling away in the dust. The lion cub asked him - "What is your kind and why have you come here?" He said - "My kind is donkey and I am fleeing away from man." The lion cub asked - "Do you fear that he will kill you?" The donkey answered - "No, not for that reason, but I fear that he will put a cheat on me, he will ride on me and make me run more than my strength, if I will bray he will beat me, and when I will grow old he will give me to water carriers, who will carry water on me." So O Peahen, When I heard this, I trembled and I said to the lion cub - "I am very afraid of all this." Then the lion cub asked the donkey - "Where are you going now?" The donkey said - "I saw a man in the morning and now I am going where the man cannot find me."

When we were talking like this, another dust of cloud arose and we saw a horse coming towards us. The lion cub asked him - "What is your kind and why are you running away like this in this desert?" The horse said - "I am horse and I am fleeing away from man." The lion cub said - "You should be ashamed of saying this. You are such a majestic animal and you are fearing from man? See, that even being so little I have resolved that I will encounter the man and eat him so that I can protect this duck; but you are turning me back from what I have resolved. You said that the man has mastered you and you could not overcome him."

The horse laughed and said - "It is very far from my power to overcome him. He can bind me, he can ride me, when I am old and weak he sells me to the miller who makes me turn the mill; just do  not ask me the hardships I endure with him." The lion cub got very angry hearing this, he asked him - "When did you leave him?" "At midday and he is on my track." And the horse also went away.

While the lion cub was talking like thus, he saw another cloud of dust and coming out from it was a furious camel. When the lion cub saw such a big animal, he took him to be the man and was about to spring upon him, that I said to him - "O Prince, He is not the man. He is a camel, and it seems that he has also run away from the man." The camel came and saluted the lion cub. The lion cub asked - "What makes you run so fast?" "I am fleeing away from the man." The lion cub again asked - "How come that being so huge you fear from the man? If you kick him even with your one foot, you can kill him."

The camel said - "O Son of the Sultaan, You don't know him, one cannot withstand him, nor one can stand against him. He puts a rope in my nose and give me to his little children to follow them. He puts me to hard labor all through the hours of day and night. When I am old and weak, he sells me to the knacker who kills me and sells my skin and flesh. Do not ask me about the hardships I suffer from the man." The lion cub asked him - "When did you leave the man?" "In the evening. And he might be coming after me, so let me go to the wilds." The lion cub said - "Wait a while, O Camel, till you see how I tear him and give his flesh you to eat." The camel said - "I am afraid, O Prince, he is very cunning."

Now when the camel was speaking thus, there rose another cloud of dust and a lean and thin man appeared out of it. He was carrying a basket of carpenter's tools on his shoulder and a branch of tree and eight planks on his head. He was leading little children by hand. He was coming slowly, never stopping anywhere till he came near the lion cub. When I saw him, I fell down from the fear, but the young lion rose and walked forward to meet him. Seeing him coming towards him, the man said - "O King, Please protect me from mischief." And he stood before him wailing and complaining. Hearing him, the lion cub said - "I will surely save you from your fear. Who has done what to you? And who are you? I have never seen anything like you in my life, nor any goodlier form and sweeter tongue than yours."

The man said - "O King, I am a carpenter, but whoever has wronged me, he is a man, and after this night, from next morning he will be with you." Hearing this the Lion roared with anger and said - "By Allaah, I will wait for him and will not return to my father till I have won him. I see that you are short of step and you are finding hard to keep pace with wild beasts. Tell me where are you going?" "In fact I was going to your father's Vazeer (Lynx), for when he heard that the man had set his foot in this forest, he feared greatly for himself and sent his messenger to me to make a house for him where he could live safely and no man can come to him; so I am taking these planks to make a house or him."

Now when the young lion heard this, he envied with Lynx and said to the carpenter - "There is no help for him, but first you make one house for me with these planks. When you have finished mine, then you may go to Lynx and do whatever he likes." The carpenter replied - "By Allaah, I cannot make you a house unless I have made the one for Lynx. And of course, as soon as I have finished with him, I will return to you." The lion cub cried - "By Allaah, I will not let you leave this place until you build me the house of these planks." And he sprang upon him, knocked the basket off his shoulder and threw him down on the ground in a faint. He said again - "Look, You are weak, you have no strength, so you must fear the man."

The carpenter got very angry at this but smilingly he said to him - "OK, First I will make the house for you." So he made a box of the planks he brought with him. He left the door open because he had cut in the box a large opening for which he had made a strong cover with many holes. Then he took out some old nails and a hammer and said to the lion cub - "Now you enter your house through this opening, so that I can fit it to your measure." The lion cub was very happy to see his new house and went inside it. The carpenter said - "Now you crouch down on your legs and arms." And the lion cub did the same, but his tail remain outside. He wanted to come out but the carpenter said to him - "Just wait, Let me see if I can make a place for your tail also." The carpenter stuffed his tail also in the box. Then he put the lid over the opening and nailed it down.

The lion cub cried out - "O carpenter, What is this narrow house you have made for me. Let me come out, Sir." The carpenter said laughing - "Now you cannot come out of this place. You have fallen into the trap and now there is no escape from here." "What are you saying?" "You have fallen into that which you feared most." When the lion cub heard this he knew that this was the man he had been listening about.

I also moved a little far from him, just to see what he will do next with the lion cub. Then the man dug a hole near the box, threw the box in it, put some dry wood on it and, to my horror, set fire to those wood. The lion cub had been burned.

On the 147th Night

But when the peahen heard this story from the duck, she assured her safety there, because they were on the island and there was no way the man could come there. The duck said - "I fear lest some calamity falls on me by night, because then nothing can save me then from him." Now when they were talking like this a cloud of dust appeared and approached them. As the cloud cleared they saw an antelope. Peahen said to the duck - "This is an antelope, he cannot hurt us, because he lives on herbs." The antelope saluted them and said to them - "I have come here because this place is rich in herbs." They got happy to hear his friendly talks, so they all ate and slept ...

Till one day a ship came there which had strayed from her course. People on it soon caught sight of these three friends. Seeing them coming, peahen flew on the treetop, the antelope ran into the desert, but the duck got paralyzed by fear. So they chased her, caught her and took her to their ship.

The peahen saw this and flew to antelope. Antelope asked about the duck and the peahen told him that the enemy had taken her to their ship. They must have killed her. She also wanted to leave the island because of this calamity fallen on duck, but the antelope protested of this proposal, so they lived together for sometime. The peahen said - "I think the duck died not because of the ship but because she did not say "Praised be Allaah"; I fear for you also, because you also do not say this, say always this." Then the antelope also started saying "Praised be Allaah." And they lived there for long time."

End of Story No 77



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Created by Sushma Gupta on January 15, 2002
Modified on 07/13/14