The Results of Education

The following story is part of TIMELESS TALES OF A WISE SAGE book by U. Mahesh Prabhu

On a part of a mountain, a hen-parrot brought two chicks into the world. These chicks were caught by a hunter when the mother had left the nest to search for food. One of them – since fate decreed it – contrived to escape, while the other was kept in a cage and taught to speak. Meanwhile, the first chick encountered a wandering holy man, who caught him, took him to his own hermitage, and gave him kindly care.

While time was passing in this manner, a certain king, whose horse ran away and separated him from his guard, came to that part of the forest where the hunters lived. The moment he perceived the king’s approach, the parrot straight away began to call out from his cage, “Come, come my masters! Here comes somebody riding a horse. Bind him, bind him! Kill him, kill him!” And when the king heard the parrot’s word, he quickly spurred his horse in another direction.

Now when the king came to another wood far away, he saw a hermitage of holy men, and in it a parrot who addressed him from a cage “Enter, O king, and find repose. Taste our cool water and our sweet fruit. Come, hermits! Pay him honor. Give him water to wash his feet in the cool shade of this tree.”

When he heard this, the king’s eyes, blossomed wide, and he wonderingly pondered what it might mean. And he said to the parrot, “In another part of the forest I met another parrot who looked like you, but who had cruel disposition. ‘Bind him, bind him!’ he cried.” And the parrot replied to the king by giving a precise relation of the course of his life.

“And that is why I say:

Our education, good and bad,
The obvious consequences had.

Thus, mere association with you is an evil. As the Neeti says:

To foes of sense, not foolish friends,
It’s wise for to cling:
The robber for his victims died;
The monkey killed the king.”

“How was that?” asked Damanak. And Karkat told two stories, called The Sensible Enemy and The Foolish Friend.

November 15, 2017

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