Tale of the Farmer, Rats and a Cobra

Long long ago, in a not so far-off land, there lived a farmer with his prosperous land. The piece of land was much fertile, in fact so much so that it could easily feed the farmer and his family, and even leave him a decent surplus. Sadly, wherever there is prosperity, follows the crisis. Not surprisingly, the farmer’s land was invaded by a bunch of fair-skinned rascals, who took over the land, made the farmer toil, and took away all the surplus. Suddenly, in the field which used to feed and leave a surplus, the farmer and his family were facing starvation. For what seemed like a long age seemingly stretching for two centuries, the farmer suffered, starved and toiled. The land was his but the produce was not. He strove hard against the new lords, and finally was able to evict them. And he heaved a big big sigh. His land was his again, the food was his again. He dreamed of a good future, quite unlike the time before the fair-skinned crooks had come.

With a renewed vigour and zeal, he started toiling, it was his time in the sun. And then one day while taking a stroll in his field, the farmer heard a squeak, and spotted a little mouse. Looking at the field that produced so much, the farmer thought how much could the poor famished rat eat. So he let it be. Time passed, and as the farmer toiled through the day and night, getting his rewards, he could hear the squeaks getting multiplied. But then he was too happy and glad, to bother about a few or more rats.

‘God has been kind, and its his wish’, he say to his family. This went on for a long time, and in the same time the mice turned into medium sized rats, and then into huge bandicoots. They thrived on the land and its surplus. And then came a time, when the pestilence grew so much that the farmer’s output was affected. First his surplus was steadily wiped off, and then his subsistence ration was. The farmer realised his folly, but alas it was too late. He tried killing a few with sticks, scaring them, but it would make no dent. The rats had reached a point, where a few dead was no issue. Newer ones were quickly added.

The rats now realised their power, and were emboldened. They would now move freely and in the open, they even started invading the farmer’s house, would even gnaw at the skin of his children. These rats would finish off the milk for his kids, they’d destroy his belongings, and just so to prove their invincibility they’d leave their droppings all over the place. The farmer was petrified now, forget tilling the field, he would be scared of moving out of his home. The rats were now furious, they dug our his whole field, destroyed his crops, and invaded his home, taking a bite at the farmer and his family. The farmer was now paying for the sins of his ignorance; of his indulgence. If only he would have stuck hard at the first rat, this all wouldn’t have happened.

Ruminating over all this he sat under the banyan tree, cursing his luck and his folly. Suddenly, he looked at the tree and realised that it was the only flourishing piece of vegetation in his field. The tree was still green, in fact ita bark had grown stronger. While everything else had been dugout and destroyed, the banyan tree stood tall. The tree had been untouched by the rats. Amazed at the resilience of the tree, the farmer started searching for reasons. And he found one, quite easily. At the bottom of the banyan, there was a big burrow, in it lived a ferocious cobra.

The cobra would devour the rats that lived in the vicinity. Every now and then, the snake would slither out and maim a few. The sheer presence of the cobra was sufficient to instill terror. The bandicoots, though huge and large were petrified of the large venomous snake. Thus, like an oasis, while the whole field was destroyed the banyan stood tall, because of the Cobra.

Indeed, the cobra was ferocious and could be dangerous to the farmer and his family. But, given the state of affairs, there was little choice that he had. Because of his inability earlier, this dour step had become a necessity. And so, the farmer decided to bring the cobra to his house, to be freind the cobra. Over the next few days, he’d regularly visit the burrow and place offerings. And once the cobra was confortable, the farmer picked him up and brought him to his house first. Sure enough the brazen bandicoots vanished. Next, he introduced him in the fields, sure enough, the rats fled or were eaten up.

Over a period of time, the rat infestation finished, and the farmer’s surplus returned. Luckily for the farmer, the cobra did not believe in dynasty or kids, so the cobra remained alone. In time, he returned to his burrow, lived out his life. The farmer then built a small shrine, stuffed the skin and placed it prominently on the field. And most importantly, he learnt his lesson. Thus, next time whenever he heard a little squeak, he’d hunt down the rat and kill it instantly, howsoever cute it might seem.

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