Punyakoti lived in a large forest with her friends and her child. She had kind eyes and was wise. Her friends often came to her with their problems that Punyakoti solved. She loved her friends. Above all, she loved her child who was very attached to her.
One day, Punyakoti went with her friends to eat grass in forest land. She had left her calf at home. While nibbling at the green grass, Punyakoti had moved away from her friends and gone deeper into the forest. To her horror, she was stopped by a hungry tiger.
“Oh Tiger, spare my life. I’m a mother. I have a calf at home waiting for me to return,” pleaded Punyakoti.
“You want me to allow you to go home when I’m hungry?” asked the tiger.
Punyakoti realized that the tiger was right. He ate other animals when he was hungry. So why should he make an exception for her? “At least allow me to go and say goodbye to my calf. I’ll hug her once and then I’ll come back. I promise,” said Punyakoti.
The tiger thought about this a little. Punyakoti didn’t look like the sort of animal who would lie. He agreed.
Punyakoti reached home. She hugged her child. She requested her friends to take care her of her calf. “If she is in front of you, please do not push her away with your horns. If she is behind you do not kick her,” pleaded Punyakoti. Her friends were very sad. They even asked her not to return to forest to be eaten up by the cruel beast. Punyakoti looked at her child. She said nothing, but there were tears in her eyes.
Punyakoti was firm that she would not go back on her words. “Truth is our father and mother. If we do not abide by truth, the Lord will not like it,” said Punyakoti looking at her child.
Taking leave of her calf and her friends, Punyakoti walked towards the forest.
Meanwhile the tiger’s tummy was rumbling with hunger. He felt foolish that he had allowed the cow to get away. “Who will return to certain death? She won’t come back. Other tigers will laugh at me when they hear of what I have done,” thought the tiger. He was convinced he would not see that cow again.
Just then, he saw Punyakoti coming towards him. He was surprised. He asked her sharply, “Why did you choose to come back knowing that you will meet your end?”
“I had given my word that I would come back. So, I’m here. Go ahead and satisfy your hunger.”
This left the tiger thinking. It was rare for any animal to be so truthful. “All right, I think I can hold on for a while till I find some other food. You go home now. Go back to your calf,” said the tiger.
Punyakoti thanked the tiger and went home to her calf.