LONG long ago there was a King. The name of the king was Sulochana.
Sulochana had a typical habit. At times he used to walk on foot like a common man in his capital city.
Once Sulochana was so walking. He happened to see a hunter. The hunter had a big cage. In that cage the hunter had brought a number of parrots right from the jungle. The speciality of the parrots was, they used to imitate words spoken by men in exact tones.
The King was surprised on seeing such unique parrots. The king purchased two parrots. He paid the price and proceeded ahead.
The King then went to the house of the royal priest. The priest was well-versed in Vedic lores. The King presented one parrot to the priest by way of gift and asked the priest to look after the bird with proper care.
Afterwards the King went to a butcher’s shop. The butcher used to kill lambs, cocks, hares and other animals. He used to sell their meat. The butcher was making a roaring business. The King donated the other parrot to the butcher. The butcher was pleased with the gift from the King. H promised the King to look after the bird with all attention.
So the two talking parrots lived in different houses.
Six months went on. The King remembered the talking birds all of a sudden and was curious to see how those jungle parrots had developed.
So the King first went to the house of royal priest. On seeing the King the parrot said with sweet and soft voice, “Welcome, welcome to you sir. Let God shower its choicest gift on you sir.”
The King was pleased with the best wishes uttered in sweet voice by the parrot.
The King then went to the butchers shop. He saw the parrot kept in a silver cage. On seeing the King the parrot cried in a wild voice, “catch him, kill him, cut him”.
The tone of the parrot was furious. He repeated the horrible words with raised voice. The King was shocked on hearing the nasty words. Moreover, the King considered the utterances of the bird as a rank insult to him.
The King quietly left the place. The next day the King called both the royal priest and the butcher with their parrots.
The King was very angry with the parrot of the butcher. He said, “I will punish this arrogant bird. I will punish the butcher too.”
Both the butcher and his parrot were stunned on hearing the Kings words. They started trembling.
Turning to the priest’s parrot, the King said, “How sweet his words! What a great mind this bird demonstrated. I would like to honour this bird with a gift. I would like to honour the priest too.
On hearing the words from the King, the parrot of the priest asked in all politeness,” Sir, may I say a few words if you kindly permit?”
“Of course, of course, do say what you like” the King said with pleasure.
The priest’s parrot said, “Respected sir, 1 heard day and night the words from Vedas and Shastras. They always talk about the wellbeing of the mankind. Moreover, I ate the food prepared by the priest-right in his house and served by his own hands.’ We imitate what we hear. We think like the feelings covered by the food. I heard pious voice. I ate pious food. So I uttered pious voice. So I need not be rewarded. I have been rewarded already by you by leaving me in a house reverberating with Vedas.”
“At the same time” continued the priest parrot, “I would request you not to punish the butcher’s parrot. Because the parrot imitated the words of his master i.e the butcher. He ate the food served to him. So that parrot too is not a sinner.”
Morale of the story: A man is known by the company he keeps. In order to be a good human being a person should have good company.