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A long time ago, on a big tree in the lap of a mountain lived a bird named Sindhuka. He was a rather special bird because his droppings turned into gold as soon as they hit the ground. One day, a hunter came to the tree in search of prey, and he saw Sindhuka’s droppings hit the ground and turn into gold.

The hunter was struck with wonder. He thought, “I have been hunting birds and small animals since I was a boy, but in all my 80 years, I have never seen such a miraculous sight.”

He decided that he had to catch the bird somehow. He climbed the tree and skilfully set a trap for the bird. The bird, quite unaware of the danger he was in, stayed on the tree and sang merrily. But he was soon caught in the hunter’s trap. The hunter immediately seized him and shoved him into a cage.

The hunter took the bird home, joyfully. But as he had time to think over his good fortune later, he suddenly realised, ‘If the king comes to know of this wonder, he will certainly take away the bird from me, and he might even punish me for keeping such a treasure all to myself. So it would be safer and more honourable if I were to go to the king and present the unique bird to him.’

The next day, the hunter took the bird to the king and presented it to him in court with great reverence. The king was delighted to receive such an unusual and rare gift, and he told his courtiers to keep the bird safely and feed him with the best bird food.

But the king’s prime minister was reluctant to accept the bird. He said, “O Rajah, how can you believe the word of a foolish hunter and accept this bird? Has anyone in our kingdom ever seen a bird dropping gold? The hunter must either be crazy, or he’s telling lies. I think it is best that you release the bird from the cage.”

After a little thought, the king felt that his prime minister’s words rang true, so he ordered the bird to be set free. But as soon as the door of the cage was thrown open, the bird flew out, perched himself on a nearby doorway and defecated. To the surprise of everyone who was watching, the dropping immediately turned into gold.

Before Sindhuka flew away, he recited a line about fools: “First I was a fool because I allowed myself to be caught by a hunter. Later, the hunter was foolish enough to give me away, and then the king and his ministers were foolish enough to let me go!”

-Inspired by Panchatantra

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