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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Clever Little Sparrow

Once upon a time, there was a village next to a forest. In the village, a cow was roaming around the fields, minding her own business. A sparrow came and landed on her back. The sparrows often landed on her back, and she never used to mind.

They used to stay around, keep away flies, and also find food. One day however, the sparrow was chirpy, and the cow was in a bad mood.

The sparrow flew to the ground to pick up grain, and the cow showered the poor little bird with a lot of dung.

The sparrow got stuck, she struggled a lot to free herself, flapped her wings, but gooey as she was, it was to no avail.

In the meantime, a lion passed by. The sparrow was tiny, but she was very smart. An idea popped into her head. She called out to the lion.

“You’re walking away, why don’t you just eat me?” (1)

The lion paused for a moment, and glanced around, trying to figure out who called to him. Then he saw a sparrow stuck in a heap of cow dung. The lion thought to himself, oh well, free food! Why not?

He walks to the pile of dung, takes the sparrow out, and just as he is about to put her into his mouth, the sparrow starts to stream.

“Stop, stop, if you’re going to eat me, why do you want to eat me like this, why don’t you wash me first? (2)

The lion takes a pause and thinks about the idea. He thinks it’s a good idea and takes the sparrow to a tap nearby. He washes her clean, and then nearly eats her before the sparrow makes noise again.

“Hang on, what fun will it be to eat me dripping wet, let me dry first!” (3)

The lion thinks to himself, that well, I’ve waited long enough, I can wait a while longer. Eating her like this won’t be any fun anyway. He puts the sparrow on a wall, where the sun can warm her up.

She starts to dry, as she ruffles her feathers and spreads her wings.

The lion asks, “Can I eat you now?”

The sparrow takes flight and flies around him chirping, “why would you eat me now, do you think I’d let you eat me now, do you think I care about what you eat, eat your mother for all I care!” (4)


Notes on Translation:

In the original language, the first three dialogues for the sparrow are poetic and rhyming, whilst the last one is a rather insulting jab used in everyday colloquial Punjabi The audience who understands it can find them below.

(1) Turya turya jaanna aey te sannu kyun ni khaana aey?

(2) Je gandi mandi khaanna aey te t'ho ke kyun ni khaana aey?

(3) Je gilli gilli khaanna aey te sukha ke kyun ni khaana aey?

(4) Leh, sannu ki? Khasmaan nu khaa hun meri wallon apni maa nu jaakay kha.

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