The Vulture and the Cat

Once upon a time there was an old and blind vulture named Taradgava. He lived in a hollow of a tree near the bank of the river. The other vultures would hunt around for food and would usually bring back a few scraps for Taradgava. In return for their kindness, Taradgava would look after their fledglings when the birds went out.

One day a cat happened to pass that way. It heard the chirping of the young birds and approached the tree to catch one or two. The cries of the fledglings rose an alarm as they sensed danger. Hearing this, Taradgava who was guarding the nests flew down. “Who is that?” he screeched loudly.

The cat thought its end had come near. Then it realized that the vulture seemed to be blind. Taking a chance, it decided to gain the confidence of the vulture. For one should only dread a danger which is yet to come. But one danger is in front of you, then it is time to act accordingly. So the cat went forward and greeted the vulture boldly. “O wise one. I am a cat. I have come from a long way to see you”.

“A Cat? Then I sense danger. Go away before I kill you”, said the vulture.

“Please listen to me, O Revered One” pleaded the cat. “The fame of your wisdom and piety has spread far and wide. I have come to you with the hope of attaining a little at least of your

wisdom. Please accept me as your disciple and give me shelter. Do not send me away”.

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Taradgava was immensely pleased on hearing the words of the cat. “Even so your presence here spells danger for the young birds. The hunter and the hunted cannot live in the same place. Go away now”, he said again.

The cat then spoke cunningly. “O Wise One! Your fledglings are absolutely safe from me. I have taken a vow not to touch meat”.

Reassured by the cat’s words, Taradgava gave it permission to stay in the hollow of the tree. For a few days the cat flattered the old vulture and would roam around freely when the other birds were out. Soon the fledglings too got used to the presence of the cat. Having thus created confidence in Taradgava the cat showed its true colors. When the birds were out hunting, the cat would slowly climb up the tree, grab a fledgling and would make a meal of it in the hollow. The poor blind vulture had no inkling of this at all.

One by one as their young ones were disappearing from the nests, the other birds began to look around everywhere. Seeing this, the cat quietly slipped away from the place. The vultures who were looking for their fledglings came upon a heap of bones and feathers in the hollow of the tree trunk where Taradgava had made his home. Immediately they jumped to the conclusion that the old vulture himself had eaten their young ones. In great anger they attacked the old bird together and killed it. That was the end of Taradgava.

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Moral: Avoid bad companion.

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