A long time ago, along the banks of the mighty Sutlej, lived a small sparrow named Chibi. She was golden brown in color, with eyes as black as a moonless night. One day, Chibi thought of growing herself a field of wheat. However, it soon dawned on her that doing all the work on her own would take a lot of time. So she sought the help of her neighbor, who was a crow. His name was Ojas.

Ojas was blessed with a jet-black coat and smooth features. His eyes were an even deeper shade, almost resembling a black hole. When asked for help by Chibi, Ojas readily agreed. He told her to leave ahead of him as he had some unfinished business to attend to. However, he assured her that he would surely come to lend her a helping hand.

Chibi was ecstatic when she realized that the crow was willing to assist her. She went to the field and waited for the crow to show up. However, when an hour passed with no sign of Ojas, Chibi decided to proceed with the work. She plowed and sowed seeds throughout the field, all by herself. Several weeks passed and the seeds had started sprouting, but there was still no sign of Ojas.

Yet again, Chibi asked Ojas to help her water the field. Once again, Ojas told Chibi that she should get going first and he would shortly follow. Hoping that Ojas would make good on his promise this time around, she left for the field. She eagerly waited for him until noon, but seeing no sign of him, she decided to go solo.

It took Chibi some effort to water the entire field. A few months later, her hard work bore fruit as the field was full of golden wheat stalks swaying in the wind. Chibi was delighted. It was now time for harvesting! This time, though, she decided that she would not ask Ojas for help and would do the work on her own.

Two weeks went by as Chibi harvested, threshed, winnowed, and packed the wheat grains into a sack. Chibi felt very proud of herself for completing the task. As she mulled over her remarkable achievement, Ojas sneaked up behind her and made off with the sack of grains. By the time Chibi noticed this, Ojas was already high up in the air. The poor sparrow felt devastated. All that she was left was the straw, chaff, and her utter dismay at the loss of her hard-earned wheat grains.

That night, an intense storm started wreaking havoc in the forest. Thunder and rain fell from the sky like bloodthirsty bullets. Ojas took shelter in the stolen heap of wheat grains. However, his refuge proved to be inadequate as the grains flew away in the raging wind, exposing the defenseless crow to thunder. Struck by a rather deadly strike, Ojas fell to the ground, injured and soaked in the relentless rain. Chibi, on the other hand, found herself well protected in her nest of chaff and straw.

It is thus said that you reap what you sow.

…now that you’re here

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Ananya Susarla, Folk Tale writer at Ameya

Ananya loves to both read and reinterpret folk tales from different parts of the country. Shoot her an email at ananyasusarla2915@gmail.com if you would like to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Folktales of India.