Once upon a time there lived a crow couple, who had built a nest on the top of a tree.
But unfortunately the tree was inhabited by a serpent at its bottom. So the serpent used to crawl up the tree and eat all the eggs that the lady crow used to lay.
The crow couple were deeply grieved and when this happened time after time, they decided to get rid of the serpent by a plan. So the crow approached his friend, the jackal, and asked for a plan.
The jackal told him to go and fetch a costly item from the palace of the king and drop it in the snake’s burrow.
The crow went to the palace and stole a necklace of the queen while she was bathing. The guards of the palace ran after it. The crow then dropped the necklace in the burrow of the snake beneath the tree.
The guards, on reaching the tree, found the necklace guarded by the serpent. They lynched the serpent and recovered the necklace.
So the crow family was happy that their eggs were safe now.
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This children’s story is from the Panchatantra (meaning “Five Treatises” in Sanskrit);
it is a collection of five volumes of moral stories written by a teacher Vishnu Sarma to help instruct the princes on different facets of kinghood.
The five volumes together serve as a manual for a prospective king, to help him in deciding how to rule, how to choose his friends and ministers, how to conduct himself in daily life, etc.
These stories, dated to about 200 BCE, are among the most widely known in the world, going by many names in many cultures. There is a version of Panchatantra in nearly every major language of India, and in addition there are 200 versions of the text in more than 50 languages around the world.