Wise Birds And Foolish Birds – Jataka Tales

Buddha’s Tales for Young and Old
[Good Advice]
Once upon a time, there was a giant tree in
the forest. Many many birds lived in this tree. And
the wisest of them was their leader.
One day the leader bird saw two branches
rubbing against each other. They were making
wood powder come falling down. Then he noticed
a tiny wisp of smoke rising from the rubbing
branches. He thought, “There is no doubt a fire is
starting that may burn down the whole forest.”
So the wise old leader called a meeting of
all the birds living in the great tree. He told them,
“My dear friends, the tree we are living in is be-
ginning to make a fire. This fire may destroy the
whole forest. Therefore it is dangerous to stay
here. Let us leave this forest at once!”
The wise birds agreed to follow his advice.
So they flew away to another forest in a different
land. But the birds who were not so wise said,
“That old leader panics so easily. He imagines
crocodiles in a drop of water! Why should we
leave our comfortable homes that have always
been safe? Let the scared ones go. We will brave
and trust in our trees!”
Lo and behold, in a little while the wise
leader’s warning came true. The rubbing branches
made sparks that fell in the dry leaves under the
tree. Those sparks became flames that grew and
grew. Soon the giant tree itself caught fire. The
foolish birds who still lived there were blinded
and choked by the smoke. Many, who could not
escape, were trapped and burned to death.
The moral is: Those who ignore the advice of
the wise, do so at their own risk.

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