A long time ago, a sparrow carried the grain of a gram to a grinding stone to break it into two. While the grinding stone would break the grain into two, a part of the grain remained inside the wooden pricket, the pivot of the grinding stone.

The sparrow diligently worked to get the trapped grain but to no avail. Feeling helpless and exhausted, the sparrow flew to a woodcutter and sought his help. She explained that she needed the grain to feed on while flying overseas. Irritated at her request, the woodcutter told her that he couldn’t rip the pricket for a morsel of grain. The disappointed bird then flew to the king and requested him to punish the woodcutter for refusing to help her.

However, the king contended that it wasn’t fair to punish the woodcutter over a tiny grain. Chirping angrily, the sparrow went to see the queen. She requested the queen to speak to the king on her behalf. Even the queen refused to help her, saying that it wasn’t becoming of her to discuss such a trivial issue with the king. The disappointed sparrow then approached a snake and asked him to bite the queen for not agreeing to persuade the king. The snake hissed and turned down her crazy request. Now, the sparrow turned to a stick and requested it to kill the snake. Again, the stick turned a deaf ear to her pleas. The sparrow tried to convince the fire to burn the stick but to no avail.

The sparrow now turned to the ocean, begging it to put out the fire. After her pleas went unanswered, she approached an elephant. She requested the elephant to swallow the ocean. The sparrow accompanied the thirsty elephant to the ocean as the latter sought to quench its thirst. Scared to see the furious elephant walking toward its rushing waves, the ocean begged the elephant to spare it. It agreed to extinguish the fire for the sparrow.

The fire pleaded with the ocean to not to do so and promised to burn the stick instead. As the fire was about to pounce on the stick, the latter promised to kill the snake instead. Likewise, the scared snake rushed to bite the queen, who, in turn, begged the snake for her life and asked the king to punish the woodcutter. The woodcutter now requested the king to spare his life and ran to rip the pricket and get the morsel of grain for the sparrow. However, the pricket didn’t wait for the woodcutter to show up. It split on its own and threw the crumb out for the sparrow, who picked it up and flew away happily.

…now that you’re here

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Folklore Thursday.