Once upon a time, there was a hill that sloped down to the banks of a river. At the bottom of the hill, there was a tree which made the shelter for many birds. One day, a blind old Vulture came to live in the hollow of the tree. The birds welcomed the blind vulture and decided to give him a share of their food since he was old.
When the Blind Vulture saw birds’ concern for him, he was overwhelmed with gratitude. He thought to himself, “As these birds are being so kind to me, it has become my duty to protect their young ones when they are away gathering food”. After this, the Vulture used to get his food from the birds and in return, he took care of their young ones while they were away. So like this, all of them were passing their days happily.
One day, a cat passed by that tree when the birds were away. Hearing the noise of the young ones, she came near the tree with the hope of catching and eating the baby birds. But when the young ones saw her coming, they made a chirrup. The blind Vulture heard them and shouted, “Who is there?” On seeing the Vulture, the Cat got frightened and said to herself, “O God! I am as good as dead. But I need to be brave. I should try to gain his confidence”.
At once, the Cat replied, “O wise one! I just came to pay my homage to you”. The Vulture asked, “Who are you?” The Cat answered, “I am a Cat”. The Vulture shouted, “Go away otherwise I’ll eat you up”. The Cat was clever and she made quick responses to the Vulture. She innocently said to the Vulture, “Sir, Listen to me first then you can decide further. It is not good that you are discarding me as I belong to a particular race”.
The Vulture decided to listen to her. The Cat said, “I live on the other side of the river. I don’t eat meat and take bath everyday in the river. I am doing great penance for my sins. I have heard much about your intelligence from the birds on the banks of the river. They told me that I should learn more about religion from you as you possess all knowledge. So, I came here to become your disciple and seek your blessings”.
She further said, “But, I don’t feel what the birds told me is true, when you got ready to kill a poor cat. You should have treated me well, after all guests are form of God. Even if you don’t have any food to offer me, at least you could say something kind to me”. The Old Vulture replied, “How can I trust you since you are carnivorous and young birds reside here”. The Clever Cat was well-versed in tantrums.
She touched the ground and her ears as a sign of her honesty and replied, “I’ve read all scriptures and came to know that killing is immoral. The entire forest is full of herbs and vegetables. So why should I commit sin by killing birds?” The Vulture believed her and allowed her to stay with him in the hollow of the tree. With the passing days, the Cat started eating the young birds one by one without the knowledge of the Vulture.
When the birds found that their young ones were missing, they started looking for their kids. As soon as the Cat realized that situation is not in her favor, she quietly slipped away. Unknown about the happening, the blind Vulture lay down near the hollow of the tree where the Cat had thrown the bones of some of the birds eaten by her. When the Birds saw the bones of their young ones, at once they shouted, “The blind Vulture has eaten our innocent kids”.
All of them got enraged by the ingratitude of the Vulture and they pecked him to death. The poor Vulture didn’t even get the chance to defend himself.
Moral: Never treat someone whom you hardly know as a friend.
Source: Hitopdesha Tales