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The Crow's Hassle

ONCE upon a time, a farmer's wife was sitting and sifting corn....

The Crow's Hassle

  ONCE upon a time, a farmer's wife was sitting and sifting corn. All of a sudden a crow flew by and swooped off with a kernel of corn from her basket. The farmer's wife got really angry and threw a mud ball at the bird. She had such good aim, the mud ball hit the crow, who fell to the ground, the kernel of corn fell out of the crows mouth and it rolled under the roots of a great big Banyan tree. The farmer's wife ran up to the crow, and grabbed it by the tail, "Give me back my kernel of corn, if you don't, I'll eat YOU instead!

  The poor bird was so afraid, "I'll get the kernel of corn and give it back to you. I promise, I'll get it, I promise." He tried and tried but his beak couldn't quite reach the corn under the roots of the big tree. "Don't worry wife of farmer, I'll get it somehow, don't eat me, I promise I'll get the corn. I know what to do."

  So he flew off to see the the wood-cutter and he said,

  "Man! man! cut down the tree; I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife"

  But the wood-cutter refused to cut the tree; So the crow flew on to the King's palace, to talk to the king,

  "King! king! Punish the man. He won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the King refused to punish the man; So the crow flew on to see the Queen, and he said,

  "Queen! Queen! convince the King. He won't punish the man, The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the Queen refused to convince the King; So the crow flew on until he met a snake, and he said,

  "Snake! snake! bite the queen. She won't convince the king The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife"

  But the snake refused to bite the Queen; So the crow flew on till he saw a stick on the ground, and he said,

  "Stick! Stick! Beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the stick refused to beat the snake; So the crow flew on until he saw a fire burning below him and he flew down and said,

  "Fire! Fire! Burn the stick. The stick won't beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the fire refused to burn the stick; So the crow flew on further until he saw some water, and he said,

  "Water! water! Put out fire. The fire won't burn the stick. The stick won't beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the water refused to put out the fire; So the crow flew on till he met an ox, and he said,

  "Ox! Ox! Drink up all the water. The water won't put out the fire. The fire won't burn the stick. The stick won't beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the ox refused to drink up the water; So the crow flew on till he saw a piece of rope on the ground and he flew down and said,

  "Rope! rope! tie up the ox. The ox won't drink the water. The water won't put out the fire. The fire won't burn the stick. The stick won't beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the rope would not tie up the ox; so the crow flew on until he met a little mouse, and he said,

  "Mouse! Mouse! Chew on the rope! The rope won't tie up the ox. The ox won't drink the water. The water won't put out the fire. The fire won't burn the stick. The stick won't beat the snake. The snake won't bite the queen. The queen won't convince the king. The king won't punish the man. The man won't cut the tree. I can't get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  But the mouse said to the crow,

  "But Crow, if I chew on the rope, the rope will get scared and he will tie up the ox. The ox will threaten to drink the water. The water will threaten to put out the fire. The fire will burn the stick. The stick will beat the snake. The snake will bite the queen. The queen will convince the king. The king will punish the man, and then the man... well the man will cut down the great banyan tree!"

  The crow said, "Yes! Exactly! Then I can get the kernel of corn and save my life from the farmer's wife." And the mouse said, "The great banyan tree must not die. If the great banyan tree dies, the man will have no dead branches to chop. The king and queen will have no shade to enjoy. The snake will have no vines to climb. The stick will have no twigs to play with. The fire will have no leaves to burn. The water will have no roots to feed. The ox will have no bark he can use to scratch his back. The rope will have no tree to hang from. Don't you see crow? If the great banyan tree dies, then everyone suffers!"

  The crow was amazed and he said, "Well it's the only thing I can to do save my life from the farmer's wife." But the mouse was clever and he said, "There must be something else you can do. I know someone who helps everyone. He is very old and wise. Let us go and ask him what to do."

  Do you know who they went to go ask?... The crow and the mouse went to ask the great Banyan tree!

  The crow said to the Banyan tree, "I need the mouse to chew the rope; so the rope will tie the ox; so the ox will drink the water; so the water will threaten to put out the fire; so the fire will burn the stick; so the stick will beat the snake; so the snake will bite the queen; so the queen will convince the king; so the king will punish the man; so the man will cut you down so I can get the kernel of corn to save my life from the farmer's wife!"

  The great Banyan tree just laughed, "Oh, hahahaha! No. No. All that doesn't have to happen! I have a much better idea."

  The crow said, "Oh, yes! Anything to save my life from the farmers wife!" The Banyan tree said, "Mouse, is it true that you are rather sneaky?" The mouse said, "Why yes, I am very sneaky." The Banyan tree said, "Is it true that you can squeeze through any crack?" The mouse said, "Why yes, I can squeeze through any little crack!" The Banyan tree said, "Why don't you sneak down into my roots and get the kernel of corn for the crow?"

  So the mouse snuck into the roots of the great banyan tree and got the kernel of corn. The mouse gave the kernel of corn to the crow. The crow gave the kernel of corn to the farmer's wife. The Great Banyan tree was still alive. The man still had branches to chop. The king and queen still had shade to enjoy. The snake still had vines to climb. The stick still had twigs to play with. The fire still had leaves to burn. The water still had roots to feed. The ox still had bark upon which to scratch his back and the rope still had a tree to hang from.

  The farmer's wife went back to sifting corn, the crow flew away, and everyone was happy. The crow finally understood that when you think only of yourself, life becomes hassle after hassle after hassle. But when you think of others everything is taken care of. The Guru says,

  "Sadh Sang Sabh Hot Nibera  
  By the company of the Holy, all problems are ended." (Ang 271)

Storyteller:  Guruka Singh
Age ranges:  1 - 6, 7 - 12