Thursday, December 17, 2015

Folktale from Bangladesh-The Fox and the Crocodile

A long time ago, there was a village situated on the bank of a beautiful lake and there used to live a clever fox and his faithful friend, the crocodile. Almost every day, the two friends used to meet each other and discuss how they can ensure the availability of the food without much hassle.

The availability of the food was particularly very low in the winter and hence the fox had to steal away the leftover from the villagers outside their house. But this was a very risky job to do as the villagers, one day, out of fear that the fox might eat their chicken, threw stones at him. After this rude reception the fox returned to his den with bruises and starvation and the crocodile came to accompany him.

Then one day, the fox came up with an idea. He went to the crocodile and said, “I have an idea my friend, let’s cultivate our own food.” Though the crocodile spent most of his life in the water and did not have much idea about the land, he replied, “That sounds interesting. But what crops shall we cultivate?"“We could cultivate rice” said the fox. “Rice requires water hence it is best to cultivate them near the lake”.

“That’s a great idea. But how does it taste?” “It is tasty, soft and easy to swallow than the meat,” replied the fox. “That is nice, can’t wait to start the process.”So the crocodile helped the fox to cultivate the grains of rice. He took care of the plants until they were tall and ripe.

“Now we should harvest the crop” said the fox and the crocodile licked his lips hungrily. “Wait my friend, how we shall share this rice?” asked the fox. He then pretended to think for some time and replied, “I have an idea, since you have worked so hard for the last few months, you can have all the parts that grows below the ground and I will just take the top part.”

“That is so kind of you” the crocodile said. “Thank you very much.”

But as they pulled out the rice plant from the ground, the crocodile found out that only thin roots grow below the ground and all the ripe rice seeds have grown above the ground. The evil minded fox started to laugh but the crocodile was disheartened and annoyed with the fox.“We should grow something different next time,” said the crocodile.

The fox agreed with him. “We should try to cultivate potatoes this time” he recommended. So like before, the crocodile helped the fox to plant the potatoes and took good care of them until they were tall and bushy.“Now let’s harvest the crop,” said the fox and the crocodile licked his lips hungrily. “Wait my friend, how we shall share this potatoes?” said the fox. “I know what we should do, since you have worked so hard for the last few months, you can have…”

“Oh this time I’ll take the top part, if you don’t have any problem with it, fox,” the crocodile was unfair to in previous occasions, this time you would say which part of the coconut you want to take.” The crocodile got deceived by the shiny outer surface of the coconut and decided to take the outer part of it leaving the tasty and smooth part for the fox. When they started to cut through the shiny smooth impatiently said. “Oh, I suppose that would be fair. Last time I took the part that grows above the ground, this time you can take it.”

They dug up the potatoes with a shovel and the crocodile got surprised when he saw all the white potatoes have grown beneath the ground. He only got a mouthful of leaves but tasted very bad and he spat them out with disgust.“ This time we will grow coconuts. I have seen village children climb up to the tree to pick them” the crocodile said.

So they grew the coconut and when they were ready to harvest, the fox said, “my friend I green skin, the rough hairy brown shell came out. The crocodile saw that on the inside there was refreshing, milky coconut water and white coconut flesh.

This time the crocodile got furious. “Stop tricking me fox!” If we grow anything else I want to have the inside.”

Next crop they grew was mangoes and as per his desperate request, the crocodile got the inside part of the mangoes, the seed. The crocodile got so angry that he was about the snap off the tail of this false and heartless friend. Meanwhile the clever fox was plotting how he can save himself from the angry crocodile. Then he came up with a new idea. The fox was about proposed their next venture, which was to grow sugar cane. He was just about to promise the crocodile to have the both roots and leaves but had to stop because of the smiley expression of the crocodile.

“What is it?” asked the fox.

The kind hearted crocodile had a broad smile on his face and said, “I’ve got much better idea that any of yours. There is a much fairer way of sharing and we will never have to worry about starvation if we follow that. The fox was surprised with the sudden change of behavior from the crocodile. He asked, "What is your idea?”

The crocodile said that they should equally share the total harvest, not just a certain portion of them. Eventually the fox understood and agreed on the term of the crocodile and they never had to face any scarcity for food. (Maliha, 2015)

Moral: If we can share and utilize our limited resource, we can maximize result.

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