Once upon a time, there lived a family of hawks at the edge of a lake in a dense forest. There was Mama hawk, Papa hawk and the baby hawks. Across the shore of the lake there lived a Lion, a Turtle and a Kingfisher.
One day Mama hawk said to Papa hawk, “It’s time we made some friends in the forest. It’s always good to have friends around if we ever are in danger or trouble.” Papa hawk agreed and asked, “With whom should I become friends?” “How about the Lion, the Turtle and the Kingfisher who live on the other side of the lake,” replied Mama hawk. Hearing this, Papa hawk set off to meet the Lion, the Turtle and the Kingfisher. Soon they all became fast friends.
A few days later, some hunters came to the forest. They hunted from morning till night, but did not catch anything. Tired, they decided to rest near the lake, under the tree where the family of hawks lived. They lit a fire to keep away flies and mosquitoes. The baby hawks got scared on seeing the fire and smoke and started crying loudly.
When the hunters heard the bird crying, they said, “Did you hear that? There are young birds in this tree. They will do well for our breakfast.” Saying so, they put more wood into the fire to make it blaze.
The Hawks listened to the hunters’ conversation. Mama hawk got frightened and said to Papa hawk, “These men are planning to eat our young ones. We have to ask our friends to save us. You must go to the Lion, the Turtle and the Kingfisher and ask them to help us!”
Papa hawk flew quickly to the Kingfisher’s nest, which was the closest and narrated the whole incident. The Kingfisher flew back with the hawk to his nest and saw the hunters making the fire. He swiftly dipped into the lake, soaked water in his wings and sprinkled the water over the fire, putting it out. The hunters started making another fire, which the kingfisher put out again. Every time the hunters made a fire, the kingfisher would put it out. By midnight, the kingfisher was exhausted.
Seeing him exhausted, Mama hawk said to Papa hawk, “Our friend, the Kingfisher is tired. You must go to the Turtle and ask him to help us, so that the Kingfisher can get some rest.” Papa hawk flew to the Turtle and narrated the whole incident to him. He also told him how the Kingfisher had been working for so long and was now tired. The Turtle accompanied Papa hawk back to where he lived. He dived into the water and carried some mud up with him and put out the fire with the mud.
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On seeing the Turtle, the hunters said, “Why bother about the young hawks. Let us catch this Turtle for our breakfast.” But they did not have any nets with them. So they tore their clothes and made a net with it. When they tried to put the net over the Turtle, he dived deep into the water. The hunters followed him into the water, but were unable to catch him. The hunters were now very tired, drenched and without clothes. They said, “Let’s forget about the Turtle and go to sleep. We will catch the young birds in the morning. If any animal comes in our way, we will kill it.”
Hearing this, Mama hawk told Papa hawk, “These hunters will not stop at anything and will kill all of us. You must go to the Lion and call him immediately.” Papa hawk went to the Lion and told him the whole story. The Lion said, “Don’t worry my friend. Go to your nest and tell the Turtle and Kingfisher to rest. I will take care of the hunters.”
So saying, the Lion went roaring towards the tree. The hunters heard the lion’s roar and ran away as fast as they could. When the Lion reached the tree, there was no sign of the hunters. The Hawks were happy to see the hunters gone and thanked their friends, the Lion, the Turtle and the Kingfisher.
This story is from Jataka Tales. Read more Jataka Tales here.