3

Shyama woke up abruptly at four o'clock. The door was unlatched. She ran outside to the cornice and tried to catch a glimpse of the nest above. She could not see the basket. By chance, she happened to look down, and what she saw caused her to run indoors and wake up Keshav. "Brother, the eggs have fallen down, and the chicks have flown off," she said excitedly.

Keshav got up in a fright and hurried outside. He saw the three eggs lying broken on the ground; some slimy substance was leaking out of them. The water bowl, too, lay broken on one side.

Keshav turned pale and stood gazing at the ground looking very forlorn.

"Where have the chicks gone, brother?" Shyama asked.

"The eggs have broken," Keshav replied in a pitiful voice.

"And where have the chicks gone?" Shyama asked again.

"They have flown into your head. Can't you see the broken eggs and the slimy substance coming out of them? It is the slimy thing which would have turned into chicks within another two to four days."

Just then their mother came out. "What are the two of you doing outside in the sun?" she asked.

"Ma, the bird's eggs have fallen down and are broken," Shyama told her mother.

When Ma came nearer and saw the broken eggs, she was very angry. "The two of you must have touched the eggs," she said.

Now Shyama felt no remorse for her brother. He must have kept the eggs carelessly, which had caused them to fall down. He must be punished for this crime. "Brother had touched the eggs, Ma," she said.

"Is that true?" mother asked Keshav.

Keshav had nothing to say. He stood looking like a wet cat.

"How did you reach the cornice?" mother asked.

It was Shyama who replied, "By placing the stool on the footrest from the bathroom, Ma."

Keshav could keep quiet no longer. "Weren't you holding the stool for me?"

"You told me to hold the stool," Shyama shot back.

Mother: "You have grown so big, yet you don't yet understand that human beings should not touch eggs laid by birds; the eggs become bad, and the mother bird does not warm them anymore."

"Have the birds dropped the eggs themselves, Ma?" Shyama asked.

Mother: "What else could the birds do? Keshav is responsible for this sin. The wicked boy has taken away three lives!"

Keshav was feeling very miserable. "I only placed the eggs on the rug, Ma," he said tearfully.

Ma felt sorry for the boy, and she could not suppress a smile. But for many days afterwards, a feeling of guilt tormented Keshav. He had wanted to protect the eggs but had ended up destroying them. This thought so overwhelmed him at times that the boy would break into sobs.

The pair of birds had flown away and was never seen again.

PREV<<

Summary

This story is about two children who discover eggs laid by a bird on the cornice of their house.

The children feel that the eggs are unsafe and they should do something to protect them. They handle the eggs and the eggs get destroyed. The children, in their innocence and lack of wisdom, truly feel that they are helping the mother bird by transferring the eggs to a more comfortable place. But their good intentions only leads to the destruction of the eggs.

The title of the story "Nadan dost" would loosely translate into "Naive friend". It is an apt title because the children think they are friends of the birds, but act unwisely.

Sometimes even our good intentions can cause harm if we act out of ignorance. Nature has equipped all living creatures to take care of themselves; the mother bird knows what is best for her eggs and the children should not have touched them.)