The Bird Pair and the Sea

The Bird Pair and the Sea anchatantra Story

The Bird Pair and the Sea

A pair of Tittibha birds, a husband and wife, lived on the seashore. The female Tittibha bird was expecting to lay eggs and raise a family.

When it was time for her to lay her eggs, she asked her husband to find a safe place for her to do so. She said, “My dear, please find a good and safe place for me to lay my eggs because it’s almost time.”

But the male Tittibha bird said, “Dearest, where could be a better place than this seashore? Please lay your eggs here.”

She disagreed and said, “The waves of the sea on full moon nights are so high that they can even drag an elephant into it. No, please find a place away from here.”

The male Tittibha bird laughed and insisted, “The Sea wouldn’t even dare to harm my children! Don’t be afraid for no reason and lay your eggs here without any worries.”

All this time, the Sea had been listening and thought, “I didn’t expect such impudence from such a small bird. I’ll certainly take away his eggs to see what he does after that and teach him a lesson.”

Within a few days, the female Tittibha bird laid her eggs on the seashore. Shortly afterward, when the birds went away to look for food, the Sea started making waves. The waves got higher and higher until they swallowed the eggs.

The birds came back later to find their nest empty. The female Tittibha bird started crying bitterly and said, “See for yourself that the waves of the sea have swallowed our eggs. You were foolish not to listen to me when I asked you to find a safe place to lay my eggs.”

The male Tittibha bird continued being foolish and said, “Dear, don’t worry. I’ll show you how smart I am. I’ll dry up the sea and make it give our eggs back.”

The female Tittibha bird wondered how he could do that and said, “How can you dry up this huge sea?”

The male Tittibha bird explained, “Even small beings can overcome the strongest opponents if they’re determined. So I plan to dry up the whole sea by sucking out its water with my beak.”

His wife argued and said, “How can you suck the sea dry when rivers like the Ganges and Indus and hundreds of other rivers flow into it? There’s no point in talking like this.” But her husband argued back and said, “I’ll work day and night to suck all the water from the sea with my beak which is as strong as iron. People can only succeed after they try hard.”

The female Tittibha bird understood that she wouldn’t be able to convince him and said, “Dear, there’s no point in arguing. If you want to conquer the sea, please call your friends to help you.” Her husband agreed and said, “All right, I’ll do this with my friends’ help.”

So all of his friends were called and when they all gathered together, the male Tittibha bird explained his problem with the sea and how it had insulted him by taking his eggs. He also explained how he planned to dry up the sea to get revenge.

All of his friends – swans, cranes, peacocks, and others – agreed that it was impossible. They said, “There’s no point in talking like this. It’s impossible for us to suck out all of the sea’s water to dry it up completely. Instead, let’s go visit our king Garuda (Lord Vishnu’s vehicle according to Hindu mythology). When he finds out that we’ve been bothered by the sea he’ll get angry and get revenge. Even if we just go visit him for advice we’ll feel better.”

As they had decided they all went to their king Garuda and told him why they were so sad. They said, “O King! The sea has taken away the good Tittibha birds’ eggs even though you’re supposed to protect us! If this keeps happening our whole race will disappear!”

Garuda realized that the birds were in big trouble and agreed to go dry up the whole sea. But just as he was leaving a messenger came from Lord Vishnu who needed his help right away for something important.

Garuda explained to the messenger that he couldn’t help his master right now because he had something else important to do. He said, “I’m just an ordinary servant of Lord Vishnu so he doesn’t really need me. The sea which is where Lord Vishnu rests has taken away my humble servant’s eggs -the good Tittibha birds’ eggs- so I won’t serve him unless he makes the sea give back their eggs right away! That’s what I’ve decided so please tell him!”

When Lord Vishnu heard about Garuda’s decision from his messenger he thought, “I understand why he’s acting like this and I need to calm him down. He’s the king and protector of all the birds so I have to go see him right away.”

When Lord Vishnu came to see Garuda, Garuda bowed respectfully and explained, “O Master, the sea which is where you rest has insulted me by taking away my humble servant’s eggs -the good Tittibha birds’ eggs. I didn’t do anything to get revenge because I respect you so much.”

Lord Vishnu thought about what he said and said, “Come with me Garuda. You’re right. The sea shouldn’t have done that on purpose. Let’s go give the eggs back to the Tittibha birds. After that we’ll leave because I need your help.”

They all went to the seashore where Lord Vishnu scolded the sea. He took a thunderbolt in his hand and warned, “O Sea! You’ve been bad! Give back the Tittibha birds’ eggs right now or you’ll face my anger!”

When the sea heard Lord Vishnu’s warning it was really scared. It said sorry right away and gave the eggs back to the Tittibha birds.

The wise indeed say: Don’t underestimate the power of someone who seems weak.

The moral of this story “The Bird Pair and the Sea” is that even those who seem weak can overcome strong opponents if they are determined and have help from their friends. The male Tittibha bird was able to get his eggs back from the sea with the help of his friends and their king Garuda who got help from Lord Vishnu. This story teaches us that we should never underestimate someone just because they seem weak or small. 

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