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The Daily Dharma – February 16, 2022

The Love of a Falcon

A Peregrine Falcon in Flight and off for hunt Photo by Hari K Patibanda

Once upon a time there was a sultan who loved to hunt more than anything else. One of his falcons was famous beyond the borders of the land for his hunting skills. The kind and the beautiful animal were connected through a deep love for each other and they spent many happy days hunting together.

One day the king was hunting a herd of antelopes with some of his men and followed them far into the desert. It was already noon, the sun stood high in the sky; and the king was exhausted and thirsty from the long trip. All the water they had brought along had already been used up, and so the king’s men looked for a spring. After a long search they found a high block of sandstone from which a small trickle of water was running down. At once the king ordered a cup to be put under it. His throat was burning, and he could hardly wait to drink from the cool, clear water, and it seemed like an eternity until the cup was finally filled.

Greedily he lifted the cup, but his lips had barely touched the refreshing water when his falcon, which had been sitting peacefully on his arm knocked it out of the hand of his master. The precious water evaporated quickly in the hot sand. 

The king could hardly conceal his dismay. He gave the bird an angry look and put the cup again under the slow dripping water. The sun burnt down pitilessly on the hunters until the cup was given to the king for the second time. Carefully the king took it, but before he could take the first swallow, the falcon flew up like a flash of lightning and knocked it again from the king’s hand.

At that the king became furious. He picked up a stone, and threw it with all the strength of his anger at the bird. With a shriek, the falcon fell to the ground and lay dead at the feet of his master.

Desperate and beside himself with anger, the king ordered a soldier to climb on the top of the stone to look for the source of the water, but the soldier returned with an empty cup.

“Now,” said the king impatiently, “did you not find any water?”

“I did, Majesty,” replied the man. “Up there is a puddle of water.”

“Then why is my cup still empty?” asked the king, unbelieving.

“The water is poisoned, my lord,” answered the soldier. “Poisoned?” exclaimed the king.

“Yes, my lord. When I reached the top I saw three men riding away hurriedly, and next to the water hole I found an emptied poison vial. Your enemies tried to kill you, and without your falcon you would have suffered a horrible death!” 

When he heard this, the king was overwhelmed with grief for his beloved bird. “And this is how I have repaid him!” he exclaimed in his grief. “Twice he tried to save my life and in my fury I killed him!”

Moral: Do not act in anger.

Sant Thaker Singh
from Good Stories Make Us Good