Section - I
There was a small bird in the outer parts of a small dusty village. She was looking for some tree or bushes to lay her eggs. But the ground was extremely dry due to the heat and not a single bush was found. The bird did not have a choice; it finally found a hole of small depth and started clearing the stones to make the hole bigger. She reduced the firmness of the ground by using her claws and laid her eggs in the spot, in the scorching heat.
The bird laid her eggs in the hole!
The eggs opened up and the mother bird safeguarded the baby birds. She fed the tiny ones until they grew into bigger birds. Then the birds flew away. That would have been the end of the story if it was about the bird. But interestingly, the story is about the "hole" that was used as a short-term nest!
One may wonder what could be so interesting about a hole in the ground. The hole gained more importance than just holding the bird's eggs for a temporary period. Read on to know more...
The hole which served as a temporary nest!
The hole remained empty and dusty for some days; no one occupied it. One day a wild boar (an animal resembling a pig) passed by the hole and decided to settle in the hole. It placed the backside of its body into the hole. The hole was small for the boar and therefore it was uncomfortable. He got up and started digging the ground of more comfortable size to place its body. He made the hole into a pit and rolled around to make sure he had enough space. He made a harsh noise to express his satisfaction. He decided to take a nap for a short time, but he slept for quite a long time.
The wild boar took a long snooze in his dugout!
Every time he moved his hands and legs in his sleep, the ground loosened up a bit. Finally, it was time for sunset, when his stomach started making deep sounds, indicating that he was hungry. So he stretched up himself and got up with a kick and left the hole without looking back once.
So does the story of the hole end here? The author says that it had just started!
Section - II
A group of wild dogs came to the place where the wild boar had lied down, by following the smell it had left behind. The dogs smelt the area which had the fresh scent of the boar. The dogs made a long crying sound and screamed aggressively at the smell and dug the ground, as they thought the boar was still hiding there. But soon they realized that they did not have the food they expected in the hole. They left the place with pride. In the process of the dogs searching their food, the hole was again widened.
The wild dogs did not find their dinner, they left the place!
One might wonder what happened after that. Did any other animal come to the hole? Yes, there is more to the story of the hole.
Soon after, it was time for rains. It rained heavily without a break, for three days and three nights. Just like how a hungry puppy drinks up milk, the dry land drank up all the rainwater and retained the moisture in the surface.
It rained heavily in the parched land!
The whole area smelled fresh and wet. The village people felt happy and there were smiles in their faces, otherwise serious faces. The hole was filled with water and bright green grass grew around the hole. Some buffaloes that came along the way; they saw the grass and water. They ate the grass and drank up the water from the hole. They also rolled about in the water pool that had been formed by the rainwater and the water was filled with mud now. The author had moved away from the place, so he did not see what happened after that. But he says he heard that the buffaloes continued their gathering there for many days. Due to the huge number of sharp feet that crushed the land in the hole, the hole was again widened. Once a small hole, it now looked like a bigger watering hole.
The buffaloes fed on the grass and drank water from the hole!
Did the story end here? Did they all live happily ever after? In real stories it doesn't happen that very easily. There is more to the story of the hole, says the author.
Section - III
There came along a poor farmer. He did not have a great life and rains had often failed his crops. During summers, he had to travel great distances to get water for his crops. Even after that much difficulty, his produce was very less. One day after the recent rains, he raised up from his back aching work and saw that the land was becoming dry and brown again. When he saw the whole area view, he spotted the green patch, right next to his miserable land. When he went near the hole to inspect the area, he fell on the ground thankfully, on seeing the green patch with vegetation. The land looked like a bowl of green grass. He had found water for his crops as well, so close to his land. He forgot all his exhaustion and went home swiftly to get his tools like axe and spade. Sometime later, the buffaloes spot had become a neat small pond.
One might think that the story ends here with a moral. But the author says, we have something new to learn from everything that we see and hear. He further says that we will have to wait till he reaches the end of the story.
Getting back to the story, the farmer was delighted about his new find. When he told his wife about it, she called the village priest to bless them with good luck. In small villages, news spreads like wildfire within no time. Hence a crowd had assembled near their pond to witness the ceremony. The priest chanted something serious with wrinkled brows that nobody understood.
Suddenly the richest farmer in the village came forward, pushing aside the crowd. He was angered because he was not invited for the ceremony. He saw the farmer and the calm pond and smiled with satisfaction. He told the priest that he had come to bless his pond. The poor farmer was shocked; he stammered and asked how it was his pond. The rich farmer said it was his pond as the poor farmer's land ended with his patch of land; he said the rest of the land belonged to him. As he said that, he placed himself firmly on the ground as if declaring that it was his land. The rich farmer and the poor farmer looked at each other; the buffaloes, the dogs, the wild boar and also the small bird had come to witness the scene! All of them stood around the precious pond, which looked like a little blue jewel in the otherwise dry area. They all had a similar thought in their mind - they had their own role in the pond.
The author ends the story here, finally, with a question. Who owns the water? Is it the bird or the boar or the wild dogs or the buffaloes or the poor farmer or the rich farmer? It belongs to everyone as it is part of Mother Nature. The pond was formed by the rains given by nature. All the animals had a share in widening the hole. The farmer also had a role by clearing the whole area into a neat pond. The land belonged to the rich farmer. Nobody can answer the question as to who owned the water.
The author says it is not the moral of the story, but an idea to ponder about and think about the larger picture of life.
Water is common to all of us!