Nepali Folk Tales – Grit Of A Sparrow

Hardships in life are inevitable. It’s up to us to figure out how we come out of them. Grit and Courage are invaluable toolkits!   

This story is about one such hardship and grit.

Once there lived a pair of sparrows. They loved each other and didn’t have much to worry about. They dwelled near the King’s palace so food came easy. All they had to do was enter into the palace garden through a small hole and they could soak themselves in grains, seeds, and all that was there. How much does a sparrow eat anyway!

They worked hard for only one day a week, during which they collected enough grains to feed them for the remaining days. Life was simple and good.

But now they had a concern – They weren’t able to bring young ones into the world.

This was because their nest never lasted long enough. Every time they built a nest, and prepared for the hatch, the royal elephant who walked the same route – destroyed them. It wasn’t done intentionally, it was just that his belly smashed the nest each time he walked. This way the sparrow couple never got enough time to hatch the eggs.

Once, while the king went on a hunting trip of 2-3 days with the elephant, the sparrows took a chance, built a nest, and even laid eggs. They buzzed with hope and excitement. But as soon as the king returned, the old story repeated itself – the elephant walked and obliterated the nest along with the eggs.

The female was distraught.

‘This is too much. I cannot take it anymore. Let’s leave this place, even if it means starving or struggling hopelessly for food,’ she cried.

This stirred the male. He couldn’t see his partner in such agony. But he couldn’t accept the idea of moving out of such a convenient place either. He had seen other sparrows immensely suffer for the lack of food. There were sparrows who had to abandon their eggs just because they had nothing to eat. The male had heard and seen all this! He couldn’t leave but couldn’t see his partner in distraught either. So, he decided to immediately do something about the elephant. He went and told his partner about it.

The female wasn’t amused at the idea.

‘What will we do? We are helpless! How can we fight an elephant?’ she questioned.

‘Don’t worry! I will do what I can. If I fail, we’ll move out,’ the male calmed her.

The next day the male decided to follow the elephant and attack when he was the most vulnerable. When the elephant reached near their shelter, he sat on the howdah. The mahout took the elephant to a cliff to graze. When the mahout went away leaving the elephant alone, the male entered into the elephant’s ear and flapped his wings with all his might. This hurt the elephant. He started to panic and restlessly move around. The male sparrow put more effort into the flapping. The elephant couldn’t take it. He lost control over himself and ran aimlessly. The sparrow came out and watched as the elephant fell from the cliff and died. The male smiled and returned home.

They gave birth to many chicks thereafter.

Meanwhile, the king bought a new elephant and, luckily for her, her belly didn’t interfere with the sparrow business!