The Hunter and The Dove - Panchatantra Stories

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A wicked bird hunter, used to roam about in the jungle. He had neither friends nor relatives. He was deserted by everyone because of his cruel deeds.

One day, while the hunter was wandering about in the jungle, he caught a female dove and jailed her into a cage. It was evening when suddenly, a storm, accompanied by heavy rain, broke loose, ferociously. The hunter was terrified and began to shudder from the rain and cold. He searched for somewhere to shelter and went and stood under a tree.

After some time, however, the sky cleared and when the hunter looked up, he saw a bright star.

Then he said in a loud voice, ‘I seek shelter from whoever may be living in this tree. Let him protect me! I am bewildered by cold and hunger.’

A pair of doves had, for a long time, made their nest in this tree. This particular evening, the female dove had not come home and her husband was desperately worried about her.

The wind blows fiercely along with the rain, he said, ‘and my wife has not yet returned. My home is empty without her.’

Now the bird hunter had caught this very dove’s wife and put her in his cage. When the trapped dove heard her husband talking like this, she replied to him, ‘A wife whose husband is not pleased with her, cannot be called a wife, but a woman who makes her husband happy, wins the esteem of the gods. Now, a father, a brother and a son. Give within limits, but what wife won’t desire to please her husband, when he gives beyond limit.’ ‘Now, my dear,’ she went on, ‘I want to tell you something for your own good. Please listen. If someone comes to you for shelter, he should be protected, even if it means risking your own life.

This hunter is cold and hungry and he asks you to protect him. So, make him welcome. And don’t hate this hunter because he has caged your beloved. I have been imprisoned only as a result of my past actions. Poverty, disease, grief, imprisonment and disaster, all these come from one’s own deeds. So, stop hating the hunter because of my captivity, think of religion and welcome him according to our traditions.’

When the male dove heard his wife’s virtuous words, he approached the hunter warmly and said to him, ‘My friend, welcome! Consider this as your own home and don’t let anything worry you.’

When the hunter heard this, he replied, Oh, dove! please protect me from this terrible cold.

The dove flew to a place some way off and brought back a live coal. He dropped it on some dry leaves and the flames began to spread rapidly.

He said to the hunter, ‘Warm yourself and don’t be afraid. Unfortunately, I have nothing here to satisfy your hunger. But sir, What is the good of staying in the house of someone who is so beset with troubles that he is unable to feed even one guest? So, what I shall do is sacrifice this sorrowful body of mine and make myself useful, then I shall not have to admit that I turned a guest away hungry from my door. The dove put all the blame on himself.

Then he said, ‘Just wait a moment, soon I shall satisfy your hunger.’

When he had said this, with joy in his heart, the pious bird flew once round the fire and then entered it, as if it had been his own nest.

When the hunter saw all this, his heart was moved with pity.

He said, ‘The mind of a man who lives wickedly is always in turmoil and ultimately he has to pay for his evil actions. I, as a result of all my sins, will undoubtedly go to hell. But this virtuous dove has set an ideal before me. From today on, I shall give up all my pleasures and lead a life of discipline.’

Thus the hunter threw away his net, released the unfortunate female dove and broke the cage into pieces.

When the female dove saw her husband burnt in the fire, she began to wail and sob pitifully. ‘Oh, My Lord!’ she cried. What is the good of living without you? Widowhood results in loss of pride, loss of respect in the household and loss of authority over servants.

And so, heartbroken and crying pitifully, the devoted wife sacrificed herself in very same flames.

“Some time after her earthly death, the female dove saw her husband transformed into a divine creature. He was riding a chariot and wearing costly ornaments. The female dove found that she too had assumed a divine form and she went to her husband. ‘My virtuous wife,’ said the male dove, ‘you have done well in following me.’

“And, as for the hunter, he renounced everything and began to live in the forest as a Saini. His mind became free of all desires.

One day, he saw a forest fire in front of him. he walked into it and his body was burnt. Thus he paid for his sins and entered heaven with great joy, “Continued Kruraksha that’s why I said, a dove entertained an enemy, who came to him for protection and even went so far as to give his own flesh to him to eat.”

When Arimaradan, the owl king, had heard Kruraksh s advice, he turned to Deeptaksha and asked him, “My dear fellow, what would you advise, under the circumstances?”

“My Lord,” he replied, “this crow should not be killed, for he may prove beneficial to us by exposing the weakness of his own clan. As they say, ‘Even a thief proved beneficial to an old man!”

“How was that?” asked Arimaradan. And Deeptaksha told this story. THE STORY OF THE OLD MERCHANT

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