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Hunters in the city of Varanasi went out of their way to capture the creatures of the forest. They knew that they would get rich rewards from King Dhananjaya. The King had a passion for animals and birds. He had an outdoor menagerie with caves and lakes with beautiful streams recreating a jungle scene.

One day, a poor hunter brought two tender fledgling parrots to him. The King gave him a sumptuous reward and surprised him. Little did he know that the king had spotted these birds to be rare breed of jungle parrots. In a short time fed and cared by the palace, they grew into two beautiful birds. Their plumage glowed a shiny green. Their beaks were red like the coral fruit. The ring around their necks looked like an ornament. They faithfully repeated the sweet rhymes that the ladies of the court taught them. From the palms of little children they ate the red peppers without hurting them. Only when they were called they flew and alighted on the shoulders. The King was so happy that a golden cage was built just for them.

One fine day a new inmate, a black monkey, arrived at the palace. The excited monkey pranced, and ran all over the place much to the delight of the children. A huge cage was built for him. Soon the ladies and the men folk of the palace began to spend more time with him and less with the parrot brothers. The younger parrot felt slighted. He said, “This is just not fair! We came here earlier than this rascal. We should therefore get more attention. May be we too should act up.” His brother replied calmly. “Let us continue to behave just the way we have been. After all we are being fed and cared. The food is not as fancy as before still it is food. At any rate we can never become a monkey. There is no need therefore to change our behaviour.”

The monkey’s pride grew each day. He climbed on the chairs, jumped from the windows and hopped on the beds. In the kitchen he freely roamed and helped himself to whatever caught his fancy. Half eaten fruits were all over the floor. Art objects lay broken, as he had knocked them down. He tore many a costly curtain. Eventually the courtiers winced at his destructive behaviour. The climax happened on the day he chased the King’s children round and round the grounds. He pulled their hair and snatched their belongings. The children complained to their father. More complaints followed from others. The King had enough. He beckoned an attendant and had him deposit the wild monkey back into the depths of the jungle. People of the palace returned to fussing over the obedient parrot brothers. Once again the birds were fed with honey from the King’s very own hands, every day.

Om Muni Muni MAHAmuniye Svaha