The Stork and the She-Stork

In a tamarisk tree beside a lake a stork and a she-stork made a nest and had babies. Early every morning both of them flew out in search of food to feed their chicks.

One day, while flying, they sighted a field of millet. The stork said to the she-stork, “You sit on a tree while I quickly go and graze in the field.” The she-stork stopped him, saying, “Don’t go. It is late. Let us fly away.” But the stork would not hear of it, and, leaving the she-stork behind, went to graze on the millet.

He had barely eaten two or three grains when the farmer arrived there, and deftly throwing his net caught the stork. Then slinging the net with the stork over his shoulder, he headed home.

Witnessing that the stork was captured, the she-stork called out, “I stopped you, I held you back, crying, ‘Don’t eat the millet! Don’t eat the millet!’”

The stork answered: “I was an idiot. I was a fool. I will die and you will live. Return to our young now! Return to our young!”

The she-stork went flying to her babies and after giving them food and drink, and putting them to bed, headed for the farmer’s house for news of the stork.

When she arrived there she saw that the farmer had killed the stork and was cutting him into pieces.

She said to the farmer, “Fie! Fie! You have committed a great wrong.”

The farmer replied, “I killed him because he had eaten my millet.”

The she-stork said, “Well, once you have cooked and eaten him, give the bones to me.”

The farmer’s wife and farmer cooked and ate the stork. When they put together the bones in one place, the she-stork came and sang over them:

“I stopped you, I held you back, crying,

‘Don’t eat the millet! Don’t eat the millet!’”

No sooner had she uttered the words than the bones rustled, and they came together and were made into the stork. He flew out and sat next to the she-stork.

The two of them flew back to the nest and to their chicks, and the stork swore never again to eat another’s crop.

Attributed to Muhammad Umar “Mamoor” Yousufani from Umerkot, Tharparkar. Translation © 2014 by Musharraf Ali Farooqi. All rights reserved.