Once upon a time, deep inside a forest lived a hunter with his family. Every day, he would go hunting to feed his family. Even though he cultivated crops, he depended on hunting for food nonetheless.

The hunter had a pet crow. The crow flew away every morning and came back home in the evening. During its outing, the crow would regularly visit the court of Lord Brahma.

There was a neem tree near the court gate. The pet crow would perch on the tree and listen to the court proceedings. After coming back from the court, it would then narrate everything it heard in there to the hunter.

One day, as the crow sat listening to the court proceedings, it heard Brahma telling his record-keeper something alarming. Brahma mentioned there would soon be no rainfall and a devastating famine was on its way. He added that it would only rain in the mountains.

The crow conveyed this message to the hunter, asking him to cultivate his crops in the hills. Following the pet crow’s advice, the hunter got the crops ready in time. The mountains received sufficient rainfall, and that helped the hunter get a good yield.

Next year, Brahma predicted that insects and pests would destroy the crops. The crow conveyed the message to the hunter, telling him that there would be one lakh insects and pests, so the hunter needed to summon two lakh maina and chhanchan birds to eliminate the pests. The hunter complied. When the insects and pests showed up to devour his crops, the birds swallowed them at once. The hunter enjoyed a really good harvest.

The following year, Brahma foresaw that one lakh rats would devastate the crops. This time, the crow advised the hunter to get two lakh cats to kill the mice. The hunter did as he was asked to, and the cats took care of the rest.

Brahma was puzzled as to how nothing had affected the hunter all these years. That year, He predicted that those who failed to separate the seeds from their stalks wouldn’t have any crops at all. He also ruled that the farmers who didn’t use cow dung as manure wouldn’t get a good yield.

As always, the hunter studiously followed the crow’s advice. He used cow dung as manure and enjoyed a rich harvest. Over the years, the hunter realized that those who are always alert never suffer during difficult times.

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 Internet Archive.