Once upon a time there was a village called Mahilaropya. There was a huge banyan tree where all crows of the village made their home. The tree had hundreds of branches. Their king, known as Meghavarna, set up strong fortifications to ensure security for his brood. Similarly, The Owls of the Village made a nearby cellar their colony. They had a king, Arimardana, who ruled with the help of a strong army and cunning.
The owl king kept a close eye on the banyan tree and one account of previous enmity killed every night “any weak and young crow he sighted on the tree. Slowly, the Owl king managed to kill all young crows that could be seen tree.
Alarmed at the loss of his flock, Meghavarna called his assembly of ministers. He asked his ministers to prepare a plan to fight the owls. He placed before them and six strategies and asked his ministers to comment. The first minister suggested compromised as a tactic because one had to first survive and later to gather strength destroy the enemy.
The second minister ruled out offered compromised and suggested trickery has a formula.
The third minister said, “O lord, our enemy is not only wicked but also strong and witty. Neither compromise nor trickery will work with him. Exile is the best way. We shall wait and strike when the enemy becomes weak.”
The fourth minister Opposed All These tactics and Suggested The King of Crows “should stay in His Own Box Mobilize support from friends and Then Attack the enemy.
The fifth minister offered a strategy similar to that of the fourth
After listening to all the ministers, Meghavarna turned to the wisest and senior most among his counsel, Sthirajeevi, and asked for his advice. The wise man Told Meghavarna,
“Oh, king of crows, this is the time to use duplicity to finish the enemy.”
“Well said sir, we have no idea of where Arimardana lives.”
“That is not difficult. Send your spies and gather information. Find the key men advising the king of owls. The next step is to divide them by setting one against-the-other. ”
Meghavarna asked Sthirajeevi, “What should we do in such a situation?” Sthirajeevi, the wise crow told him, “There is a better strategy than the six we discussed”.
“Tell us your plan. We shall do as you command us,” said Meghavarna.
Sthirajeevi then spoke of his plan, “Abusing me and punish me in front of everybody. Brand me as the friends of your enemy. That will convince the spies of our enemy that you do not trust me anymore. Bring some blood and spray it on my body. Then you with all the flock go to the Rishyamooka hills, leaving me behind.”
“I shall remain here bruised when the enemy comes, I will try to earn his mercy and trust by blaming you. You stay in the hills till I find where they live and give you the signal. When all the owls are sleeping in the day, you can come and with the help of your army kill all the owls. This plan is the result of great thought. We have no alternative. ”
Meghavarna approved the plan.
Sthirajeevi started a fierce and ugly fight with the king of crows. The king’s men and others, mistaking it for a real duel, were ready to kill Sthirajeevi, Meghavarna then told them, “Do not interfere. Go away. I will have the pleasure of punishing this unfaithful fellow.” Meghavarna then pretended to attack Sthirajeevi with his beak and doused blood on him.
Then Krikalika, wife of the pretender who was spying on the crow camp carried the news of the assault on minister Sthirajeevi & the king’s departure for the hills to the owl king Arimardana. Soon after sunset, the Owl King, accompanied by his followers and ministers, set out to kill all the Crows. They reached the tree, home of the Crow, and surrounded it.
Finding not a single crow there, they were happy and Arimardana told his men to chase the crows to the hill and kill them. Meanwhile, Sthirajeevi, who suffered mock injuries, moaning weakly began to attract the attention of the owls.
When owls saw this they rushed to kill him, he pleaded, “Sir, my name is Sthirajeevi and I was a minister of Meghavarna, the King of Crows. Before you kill me, I have something to convey to your king. ”
Arimardana came to see the minister at the at once and asked him the reason for his plight. Sthirajeevi told him, “Our king wanted to avenge the massacre of his subjects by your men. When I knew he was bent upon waging a war with you, I advised him not to be rash and not go to war with you. I asked him to sign peace with you. My King thought that I was on your side and in great anger attached me and has almost killed me. As soon as I recover, I will show you where he and his men are hiding. You can destroy them. ”
The king of owls called a meeting of elders and his five ministers for consultations. He asked his minister, “Friends, Our enemy’s minister is in our custody. What shall we do with him? ”
All but one of his ministers were in favor of the crow. So, the king of owls granted life to the crow.
Raktaksha one of this ministers could sense the foul and continued advising that we should not trust the enemy and that a crow and cannot become an owl.
Yet, disregarding Raktaksha’s warnings, the King’s men and the King took away Sthirajeevi to their fortress not to knowing that they were bringing ruin upon themselves.
When Sthirajeevi’s procession arrived at the entrance of the fortress, King Arimardana ordered his men to accommodate a comfortable place for him. Purpose Sthirajeevi had other ideas. If he had to hatch a plan to kill the king, It was not possible within the fortress because he and his movements would be constantly under watch. So, he thought, It was better to be outside the fortress.
He told the King, “My Lord, I am grateful for your generosity. But I am a politician and belong to the enemy camp. Yet I am your devotee and faithful servant. It does not become of me to live inside the palace. I will stay at the entrance and sanctify my body every day with the dust of your feet. ”
The king of owls accepted his request and let him where he wanted to stay. The King’s men took care of his needs and very soon Sthirajeevi became as strong as a wrestler.
The wise minister, Raktaksha told the King, “I can sense serious danger here. Let us leave now before it is too late. ”
Listening to the advice of the minister some wise owls moved to a far off place.
Seeing thats the obstacle of his way has disappeared and that the remaining King’s men were all stupid, Sthirajeevi began piling up twigs on the pretext of building a nest. He heaped them at the entrance of the cave in which the King and other Owls lived. When the pile was big enough, he waited for daybreak when the owls would become blind. Then he Flew off to Meghavarna and asked him that before the word reaches the enemy camp of this plan, he and his followers should accompany him (Sthirajeevi) each carrying a piece of burning wood.
Accordingly, Meghavarna and his men followed Sthirajeevi, each carrying a burning twig in their beaks. When they reached the entrance of the cellar, which was now blocked by the pile of twigs built by Sthirajeevi, they threw the burning twigs on the pile, which began to burn fiercely killing all the owls trapped inside.
It was not easy for Sthirajeevi to live with the enemy camp but this was how the crows killed the owls.