| Jataka Tales|
|by Ellen C. Babbitt|
|Eighteen fables from the Jatakas of India, skillfully retold and attractively illustrated. Includes The Monkey and the Crocodile, The Merchant of Seri, The Turtle Who Wouldn’t Stop Talking, The Foolish Timid Rabbit, The Banyan Deer, and others. Ages 7-10 |
THE QUARREL OF THE QUAILS
NCE upon a time many quails
lived together in a forest. The wisest of them all was
A man lived near the forest and earned his living
by catching quails and selling them. Day after day he
listened to the note of the leader calling the quails. By
and by this man, the fowler, was able to call the quails
together. Hearing the note the quails thought it was
their leader who called.
When they were crowded together, the fowler threw his net
over them and off he went into the town, where he soon sold
all the quails that he had caught.
The wise leader saw the plan of the fowler for catching the
quails. He called the birds to him and said, "This fowler is
carrying away so many of us, we must put a stop to it. I
have thought of a plan; it is this: The next time the fowler
throws a net
 over you, each of you must put your head through one of the
little holes in the net. Then all of you together must fly
away to the nearest thorn-bush. You can leave the net on the
thorn-bush and be free yourselves."
The quails said that was a very good plan and they would try
it the next time the fowler threw the net over them.
The very next day the fowler came and called them together.
Then he threw the net over them. The quails lifted the net
and flew away with it to the nearest thorn-bush where they
left it. They flew back to their leader to tell him how well
his plan had worked.
The fowler was busy until evening getting his net off the
thorns and he went home empty-handed. The next day the same
thing happened, and the next. His wife was angry because he
did not bring home any money, but the fowler said, "The fact
is those quails are working together now. The moment my net
is over them, off they fly with it, leaving it on a
thorn-bush. As soon as the quails begin to quarrel I
shall be able to catch them."
The quails lifted the net and flew away with it.
Not long after this, one of the quails in alighting
 on their feeding ground, trod by accident on another's head.
"Who trod on my head?" angrily cried the second. "I did; but
I didn't mean to. Don't be
angry," said the first quail, but the second quail was angry
and said mean things.
 Soon all the quails had taken sides in this quarrel. When
the fowler came that day he flung his net over them, and
this time instead of flying off with it, one side said,
"Now, you lift the net," and the other side said, "Lift it
"You try to make us lift it all," said the quails on one
side. "No, we don't!" said the others, "you begin and we
will help," but neither side began.
So the quails quarreled, and while they were quarreling the
fowler caught them all in his net. He took them to town and
sold them for a good price.
The fowler caught them all in his net.
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