This happened long, long ago. There was a huge forest with many trees on the bank of a river. A huge mango tree was home to one hundred or more parrots. These parrots had some problem or the other. One was blind, another was deaf, one could not fly, and so on.

You may wonder how the poor parrots unable to fly and unable to see, found food. Luckily for them, there was a kind-hearted girl, who was fond of them. She would take them around the forest, get juicy fruits for them and feed them lovingly. All the parrots loved this girl. They called her Vana Rani.

One day, a witch moved into the forest. There was a tamarind tree next to the mango tree where parrots lived. The witch made the tamarind tree her home. She said “Hello” to the parrots of the mango tree. The birds refused to speak to her. “Don’t you want to befriend the most beautiful person in this world?” she asked.

The parrots laughed. “The only beautiful person we know is Vana Rani,” they said, pointing out the girl who was coming towards them. The witch became very angry to hear this.

A wise old parrot was now worried. He asked Vana Rani to avoid the witch. “Do not to take anything she might give to you,” the parrot cautioned her. Vana Rani laughed and said the parrot was unnecessarily worried.

The next day, the witch met Vana Rani and offered her a flower. “A beautiful girl like you must have this,” she said. The flower was so beautiful and attractive, Vana Rani could not say no. She thanked the witch as she took the flower. “What a fragrance,” she said, as she smelt it. The next moment, she fell down, unconscious.

Some of the parrots came flying. The witch laughed. “Your friend is dead. Throw her into the river. Now I’m the most beautiful person,” she screamed.

The parrots were sad that their friend was dead. They made a raft and put her on it and floated her on the river. “Goodbye, friend,” said the parrots, “Be safe. May gods bring you back to life,” they said.

This is a tale told by Jayalakshami Amma to her grandchildren. Her grandchildren used to visit her in the Halkurke village near Tiptur town in Karnataka. Her grandson, Abhilash T B, wrote down the stories he heard. Abhilash, who works in an IT firm in Bengaluru, sent this story to Katha Kids. Though some details have been modified, the narration has been kept close to Jayalakshmi Amma’s rendering.

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