Udaan / Udaya

Once there lived an old couple with their family in a village next to the forest of eagles. The couple had seven sons who were all happily married. They were all happy but sadly none of their daughters-in-law were blessed with a child.

After waiting for many years, good news finally knocked on their door. Their youngest daughter-in-law was bearing a child. The old couple was extremely happy. To thank the God for this fortune, they walked to the temple in middle of the forest where every evening the eagles flew high in the sky in spiral formation posing as the guards of the forest.

Looking at the celebration in the house, all the other daughters-in-law were jealous of their younger sister-in-law. They thought that now that she is bearing the child, she will be the favorite of the house.

They decided to take action against it. One morning the eldest daughter-in-law went to the youngest and asked her to come with them to collect firewood for the winter. As they would require more wood for bathing, washing and keeping the coming baby warm and with the advent of the baby they may not get the time to attend to this chore. The youngest agreed.

All the sisters went into the forest to collect wood. Once they were deep inside the forest, all of them surrounded the youngest sister and pushed her to the ground. They kept on pressing her abdomen till she aborted the child. They then hurled the baby in the air towards a thorny bush.

All this while an eagle was watching this cruel plan being put into action.

As soon as the baby was hurled in the air, the eagle grasped the baby mid-air and flew away to its nest. Six women exhilarated with their achievement, did not notice the eagle. The baby was still crying so the eagle thought that it was in need of warmth of a lap. So he scavenged a soft rope from an artisan’s house and fashioned a cradle between the two branches. The baby stopped crying as soon as he was in the cradle. But soon the baby was hungry and so he started crying again. The eagle flew away in search of food. Soon the eagle saw a cowherd milking the cows. While his attention was riveted, the eagle took the can next to him and flew to the nest. She then fed the baby. The news reached all the eagles in the forest and each of them contributed to taking care of the baby. The convocation was very much attached to the baby. The baby was growing up to be healthy.

On the other side, the mother was inconsolable and silently suffered in the death of her baby. as the elder sisters-in-law made sure she was never left alone. The old folks were not convinced with the story of the daughters-in-law but could not question further.

Soon the baby grew up and] finally asked the question that the eagle had been waiting for that whether she is her real mother or not. The eagle had no words as her eyes welled up with tears. It was time to take the child home.

The eagle asked the baby to follow her. The eagle led the baby to a house at the end of the forest. As they approached the house there was a loud commotion. The mother recognized her child instantly and rushed towards him and hugged him tightly as tears rolled down her eyes. The eagle said to him that this is your real mother.

The mother thanked eagle and said that she would like to repay her debt. In reply, the eagle said “I neither wish nor demand a return for the favor. I could not see a life being murdered and that’s the reason I saved him. Let this be a reminder that nature will look after you in times of adversity and misfortune. And to never to lose faith in nature.” Saying this the eagle flew away.

That evening the convocation in the forest flew higher than ever reminding the village that they were protected and safe.

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