“None of your subjects, great and just and glorious ruler,” replied Dhairya-Sila, “but the God who created us both, making you my master and me your humble servant. It was that God,” he went on, “who saved me, knowing that I was indeed guiltless of any crime against you. I had not been long on the tower when help came to me in the form of a great and noble eagle, which appeared above me, hovering with outspread wings, as if about to swoop down upon me and tear me limb from limb. I trembled greatly, but I need have had no fear; for instead of harming me, the bird suddenly lifted me up in its talons and, flying rapidly through the air, landed me upon the balcony of my home and disappeared. Great indeed was the joy of my wife at my rescue from what seemed to be certain death; but I tore myself away from her embraces, to come and tell my lord how heaven had interfered to prove my innocence.”
Fully believing that a miracle had taken place, Surya Pratap asked no more questions, but at once restored Dhairya-Sila to his old place as vizier, taking care not again to ill-treat the man he now believed to be under the special care of God. Though he certainly did not deserve it, the vizier prospered greatly all the rest of his life and as time went on he became the real ruler of the kingdom, for the Raja depended on his advice in everything. He grew richer and richer, but he was never really happy again, remembering the lie he had told to the master to whom he owed so much. Buddhi-Mati could never understand why he made up the story about the eagle, and constantly urged him to tell the truth. She thought it was really far more wonderful that a little beetle should have been the means of rescuing him, than that a strong bird should have done so; and she wanted everyone to know what a very clever husband she had. She kept her promise never to tell anyone what really happened, but the secret came out for all that. By the time it was known, however, Dhairya-Sila was so powerful that no one could harm him, and when he died his son took his place as vizier,
13. What lessons can be learnt from this story?
14. What do you think was Dhairya-Sila’s motive for telling the Raja the lie about the eagle?
15. What did Surya Pratap’s ready belief in the story show?
16. How do you think the secret the husband and wife kept so well was discovered?
A Crow and His Three Friends
In the branches of a great tree, in a forest in India, lived a wise old crow in a very comfortable, well-built nest. His wife was dead, and all his children were getting their own living; so he had nothing to do but to look after himself. He led a very easy existence, but took a great interest in the affairs of his neighbours. One day, popping his head over the edge of his home, he saw a fierce-looking man stalking along, carrying a stick in one hand and a net in the other.