It happened on a time that a poor fisherman had caught nothing for many days, and while he was sitting thinking sadly of his miserable fortune, Punya In, the god of wisdom, came from his high home in heaven in the form of a crow, and asked him, “Do you desire to escape from this life of a fisherman, and live in ease?” And the fisherman replied, “Greatly do I desire to escape from this miserable life.”
Beckoning him to come to him and listen, the crow told him of a far distant province, whose chow lay dead.
“Both the province and all the chow’s former possessions will I give thee, if thou wilt promise ever to remember the benefits I bestow,” said the crow.
Readily did the fisherman promise, “Never, never will I forget.”
Immediately the crow took the fisherman on his back and flew to the far distant province. Leaving the fisherman just outside the city gate, the crow entered the city, went to the chow’s home, and took the body of the chow away, and, in the place put the fisherman.
When the fisherman moved, the watchers heard, and rejoicing, they all cried, “Our chow is again alive.”
Great was the joy of the people, and, for many years, the fisherman ruled in the province and enjoyed the possessions of the former chow.
But, as time went by, the fisherman forgot the crow had been the author of all his good fortune, that all were the gifts of a crow, and he drove all crows from the rice fields. Even did he attempt to banish them from the province. Perceiving this, the god of wisdom again assumed the form of a crow and came down and sat near the one-time fisherman.
“O, chow, wouldst thou desire to go where all is pleasure and delight?” asked the crow.
“Let me go,” replied the chow. And the crow took him on his back and flew with him to the house where, as a fisherman he had lived in poverty and squalor, and ever had he to remain there.
This content is from the Project Gutenberg EBook of Laos Folk-Lore of Farther India, by Katherine Neville Fleeson, originally published 1899.
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