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Deep inside the forest, there lived three friends, a deer, a bison and a crow. All three were fast friends and spent most of the time together. They enjoyed the company so much that they even lived together.
Both; deer and bison grazed together and enjoyed each other’s company. Crow was a regular companion but had to leave the company in search of food. Other than that small gap, all three were together all the time.
One year, the rain god played hide and seek. Scanty rain coupled with the overtime working sun, resulted in parched land and dried up forest. Survival became a challenge to all living beings.
These three friends were no exception. They equally faced the hardship. Famine had a severe impact on herbivorous animals. Large body and never satisfying appetite made them eat more and more and resources in forest dwindled faster than expected. Carnivores animals were having lesser hardship as the starved pray was available in abundance. Still problem persisted with water. However, happiest animals were scavengers; the carcasses were available in abundance. They fed on all variety of animals.
Crow being a bird of multiple tastes, it easily adopted to new challenges. Deer and bison being herbivorous, they faced great difficulty. The other companions of deer and bison decided to migrate to farther place. However, both deer and bison decided to stay together and chalk out different plan. Crow remained with them as a bonus.
All three decided to migrate to a nearby human habitat. They felt that such move would help them in getting better food. Humans grew the food and have better capacity to protect themselves against such famine.
The journey began in the early morning and they reached a village adjacent to forest by late evening. The long day, long travel and heat wave had taken toll on the bodies of the three friends. They could hardly walk or talk. Thirst and hunger was playing in their minds.
At that moment, they came across a road leading to the village. deer saw a a stack of green grass in the middle of the road. It was huge and it was neatly cut and tied together. The grass looked fresh. The deer called the bison in jubilation.
Tired bison had fallen behind. She came up hurriedly to the road. The sight of green grass caught her eyes. She ran towards the haystack, leaving behind the other two. Crow flew faster and sat on the haystack, obstructing the plans of bison.
The crow said authoritatively, ‘Our journey has borne its fruit. We have a stack of grass. Now we have to be wise in using it. It should last for a few days’.
The wise words, made the bison angry, and on the other hand made the deer to think.
The irate bison said, ‘I am going eat it all today itself. I am not going to share with anybody’.
The behaviour of the bison came as a rude shock to both, the crow and the deer. In a feeble voice, the deer retorted, ‘how can you have everything? I saw it first’.
That statement enraged the bison. He took a stance of attack. The crow and deer were scared to death.
After second thought, instead of attacking, bison said, ‘no matter who has seen it, it’s mine and I will have it’. The sternness in her voice gave no indication of further discussion.
Finally, the crow spoke up. It was more hurt than angry. The pain could be felt in the voice. It said, ‘Bison, at least for the sake of our long standing friendship, don’t do this’.
At that point of time, the deer intervened with tears in her eyes. She said, ‘I don’t want anything, I can’t fight with my friends. Let her have everything’.
Bison instead of being ashamed of the act looked pleased. She was dreaming of having it stomach full.
‘I do not agree with the deer’. Crow was back to its authoritative best. ‘If at all, there is going to be any kind of agreement, it has to be divided equally.’ Crow said disapproving the deer statement.
All three of them had forgotten hunger and thirst. Bison was engulfed by greed, deer was disillusioned and crow was determined. The greed made bison ready for a fight. Disillusionment put deer in tears. Stubbornness made crow to fight till the end.
Deer was tired of the animosity. To breath fresh air of friendship, she again said ‘For me friendship is more important than anything. I will sacrifice even my life for it’.
The crow replied, ‘Don’t be a fool. Always you be noble to good people only. Bison doesn’t deserve your goodness’.
By that time, all three heard human voice; it looked like they were coming back in search of this stack of grass.
The crow without wasting anytime unfastened the stack and told the deer to pick half and run. Before bison could react to the apparent danger by humans as well as friends, deer had picked up half stack on its back and ran. Bison picked the remaining and ran in the opposite direction.
The principle: “Relationship can be protected only when reciprocity is shown by other party”
In this story Deer was ready to sacrifice. But the question is, whether the sacrifice was worth it? The principle to be kept in mind is to always look for reciprocity. If reciprocity is absent then sacrifice is looked at as weakness.