So happy was the farmer that he told his wife who summoned the village priest to bless their fortune. I do not need to tell you how soon news travels in a little village and so it was quite a crowd that gathered by the side of the pond to see the priest furrow his brow and chant serious something that nobody ever understands.
Just then, the richest farmer in the village pushed his way to the front of the group. He was always upset when things took place that he was not invited to. Looking at the farmer and the placid pond, a slow smile of contentment creased his face. “I see you have come to bless my pond,” he said to the priest. “Your pond?” stuttered the poor farmer. “Why yes,” smoothly oiled the rich one. “Your patch, surely, ends just there. This land is all mine.” And saying this he crossed his arms and planted his feet four-square on the ground. As the rich farmer and the poor one looked at each other, the buffaloes, the dogs, the boar and yes, even the little bird stopped by to see. They all stood around the little jewel of blue and in every mind, small and big, came a similar thought: “Surely, I had something to do with this!”
And so I end with a question to you, my beloved friend.
“Who owns the water?” Not a moral, just a thought – a germ of an idea to dig and make bigger.
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!
Meanings of difficult words:
|summoned||ordered to be present|
|furrow||a line or wrinkle on a person's face|
|placid||not easily upset or excited|
|stuttered||stammered, stumbled with difficulty to talk|
|four-square||strongly and firmly|
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-3 English Standard-6. Who Owns the Water (pp 71-80). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.