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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Cat and the Sparrow

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

A pair of two little sparrows were living together very happily. One day, the she-sparrow brought home a grain of rice, and the he-sparrow brought a grain of mung. Together the two of them made khichri.

The she-sparrow went outdoors to fetch water. Meanwhile, the he-sparrow ate up all the khichri, then covered his eyes with a cloth blindfold and pretended to be asleep.

The she-sparrow arrived at the doorstep of her house carrying the pitchers of water, one atop the other. She called out to her husband, "Hey! Help me get the top pitcher off my head."

"Throw down the top pitcher; then you can take down the bottom pitcher yourself," he replied.

She did as she was told.

When she entered the kitchen and saw the empty pot, she asked him, "Who ate up all the khichri?"

"The raja's dog ate it," the he-sparrow told her.

She left to see the Raja and told him, "O Raja, your dog has eaten up my khichri."

The Raja knew that his dog did not like khichri, so he asked her to prove what she said so that he could do justice. She agreed. The sparrows, the Raja, and his dog went to the well on the Raja's command.

When they arrived at the well, the Raja handed them a flimsy piece of cotton thread.

"All of you must swing from this string across to the other side of the well. Whoever falls inside is the one who has eaten the khichri."

The sparrow swung and swung. She was tired, but the string did not break. As soon as it was the he-sparrows' turn, the string broke, and he fell into the well.

The sparrow began to cry. Some cats passing by heard her wails and asked her what the matter was.

"My male has fallen into the well," she told them sadly.

The cat asked her, "What will you give me if I fetch him for you?"

The sparrow answered, "I will feed you a pudding of rice and milk and give you roti made from wheat."

Tempted by the offer, the cat agreed and brought out the he-sparrow.

"Now feed me the pudding of rice, milk, and paratha which you promised!" the cat demanded.

The she-sparrow told the cat to go away and return once she sees smoke coming out of her house.

A few days later, the sparrow made a big fire in her house and heated up an iron plate in the oven. When it was blazing hot, she put a frying pan next to it and covered it up as if it had the pudding of rice and milk in it.

When the cat saw so much smoke coming out of the sparrow's house, she went there, ready for the tasty meal she had been promised.

The sparrow welcomed her in and told her that she was about to send someone herself to invite the cat.

"Let us not delay the feast any longer. Tell me where I should sit," said the cat.

The sparrow pointed towards the hot iron plate and asked the cat to sit. As soon as the cat sat on the hot iron plate, she got burned.

She leapt up in pain and yowled, “I got no pudding, and my backside has been burned! I bow down to luck; my lesson has been learned,” and angrily walked off, sulking. She never again asked the sparrow to feed her again.

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