A tall, big fig tree with its spreading branches stood in the middle of a thick forest. The tree turned out to be a happy home to a flock of geese that lived in harmony with other birds. From a seed blown by the wind, a heavy summer rain saw a little vine starting to grow at the roots of the fig tree.

One day, the eldest goose in the flock noticed the growing vine and summoned the others. He told the other geese that they need to get rid of the climber while it is still small. He said that once it grows, it will be nearly impossible for the group to dispose of the bigger, thicker stems. The wise goose added that those sturdy vines may then help some hunters climb up the tree and take out all birds in the tree.

The younger ones laughed off the old goose’s apprehensions. They casually replied that things had changed a lot and that he need not worry about the vine. Turning a deaf ear to his repeated pleas, they let the vine grow until it reached all the way to the top of the tree, where the birds built their nests.

One sunny day, a hunter came across the thick climber stem that went all the way up to the treetop. He climbed the tree and came across bird nests on all branches. Delighted at this unexpected discovery, he spread his net around the nests. The flock of geese returned in the evening to rest in their nests.

As the hunter had planned, every bird in the flock was trapped in his trap. All the birds began screaming for help. The old goose recalled the day when he had warned the flock about the vine and why it had to be cut when it was still tender.

Now the younger birds in the flock begged the wise goose for help. Mindful of the severity of the situation, the goose asked them to play dead when the hunter showed up. If he saw that the birds were dead, he might throw them away and free the birds from the snare.

Next morning, the hunter returned to collect the birds caught in the net. He felt happy to see that so many birds had been trapped in his snare. He climbed up the fig tree and, to his dismay, found the net with dead birds. Disappointed, he picked the birds and started throwing them away. The flock waited till he had thrown away the last of the lot and left the place with his net. Lying still for a few more minutes, the birds slowly flew back to their nests on the fig tree.

Having learned their lesson the hard way, the flock started pecking at the heavy climber. It took them hours to cut the stem into smaller pieces. However, the geese kept at it until they had removed the climber completely. The birds then accompanied the old goose to their respective nets to live safely and 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 Stories to Grow by.