Owls and Dowry

Emperor Akbar was very passionate about hunting and used to go to the forest regularly to hunt. Birbal disliked hunting since King Akbar hunted birds like owls and peacocks which would then be thrown away. One day, King Akbar and Birbal were in the forest hunting birds.

They heard two owls hooting in a shrill voice on the trees. King Akbar asked Birbal, “Birbal, look at those two owls. They are far away and I cannot shoot them. They are making so much noise. Can you tell me what are they shouting about?”

Birbal said, “My dear King, I can tell you but you may not be happy to know.”

Akbar smiled and said, “Birbal, I want to know what these birds are discussing. Tell me.”

Birbal smiled and said, “There is a wedding between two families next week. One owl is the father of the groom and the other owl is the father of the bride. They are arguing over the dowry amount.

Birbal continued, “The father of the groom wants 40 acres of jungle in dowry. He does not want birds at all in this jungle other than his own family. The bride’s father is saying that he can arrange only 20 acres by this weekend.”

Suddenly, one owl hooted even very loudly. King Akbar laughed and asked Birbal, “I see! Now, tell me now what is he yelling about?”

Birbal said, “He is the father of the Bride. He is begging the father of the groom for six months time. He says that he would certainly give him 40 acres of jungle without birds.”

King Akbar was now very interested in this story. He asked, “Really Birbal? How does he plan to give such a gift?”

Birbal said in a sad tone, “My King, the father of the bride says that all the birds in the forest would be killed if King Akbar continues hunting without reason. Those birds which are not dead will all fly away in fear. Soon in six months, the entire jungle would be free of birds.”

King Akbar thought over this all night. He understood what Birbal meant. He had killed all the birds for fun without thinking of the environment or the birds. He never hunted again from that day.


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