Awesome Strength of the Weak

Awesome Strength of the Weak

Once, speaking in the bamboo grove where he camped, Gautam the Buddha told the following story.

Deep in the forest a quail had built her nest in the grass and in it she had laid six beautiful eggs. One day she noticed an elephant herd marching toward her nest.

She went to the herd leader and with folded wings begged for the safety of her eggs. The kind mighty giant agreed and dutifully guarded the nest while the herd passed. But a lone rogue elephant was following right behind. On hearing the quail’s appeal he laughed with mischief in his heart, and going straight to the nest crushed the eggs into a paste.

The quail was sick with grief. After a while when she had recovered enough she decided to teach the cruel beast a lesson. She called her three best friends—a crow, a blue fly, and a frog—and requested them to plan a revenge.

The crow being the cleverest was assigned the responsibility of overall planning. Soon a detailed plan was ready. All the participants were told what each one was expected to do.

One day when the rogue elephant was fast asleep on the bank of a stream, the crow landed on its head and with deadly precision gouged out his left eye. Few days later, in another attack he destroyed the elephant’s right eye as well.

Now the rogue was stone blind and terribly unhappy. To make matters worse the blue fly laid eggs in the elephant’s empty eye sockets. They were soon infested with maggots, and the elephant’s suffering multiplied manifold.

Very thirsty one day, he groped about in search of water. The frog with his croaks misled him up a cliff and down a steep slope. He slipped, fell, and rolled all the way down breaking every bone in his body.

Thus the cruel beast that misused his body strength died a miserable death. In dying he taught us never ever to bother fellow creatures who may look completely helpless; for even the humblest among us have reserves of strength hidden from the eye but quite usable in times of need.

March 18, 2006