When the cuckoo opened her eyes from what she thought was a small nap, she was surprised to find herself surrounded by so many different animals and birds. The ambiance and environment was unfamiliar and strange. There was absolutely nothing under or above her. It was not like the sky and the terrains that she was used to. She felt lighter. She couldn’t find her friends or kids. There were animals from different communities: Some of whom she had not thought very highly about and some, whom she always aspired to be. Some of whom she never wanted to befriend, and some, whom she couldn’t befriend in spite of all her efforts. When she looked around, she saw a giant eagle sitting on a rock above them. One look at the eagle and she realized something very strange. The animals could hear and understand each other without speaking a single word. They could read each other’s mind. None of them uttered a word, but they all spoke.
They welcomed the cuckoo to their new “temporary shelter” as they all called it. They had gathered there to take stock of the previous journey and may be learn some lessons, before they started their next one. All of them were curious and looking forward to their next journey. But they had to do some stocktaking before that.
They were all waiting for the cuckoo to wake up to start their discussion. The lion said” I never thought I was committing such a big mistake. I had boasted about it to my children. But now, I see them doing the same thing and at a much larger scale. I was assured one animal a day for meal by the jungle animals. And they kept their word. But I would kill a couple of more of them just for the sake of killing. Now, I see my children do the same thing. I also see the number of animals in the jungle declining at such an alarming rate. I feel worried. I want them to stop killing unnecessarily but they wouldn’t listen. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late! ”
The honeybee was shocked when the entire group heard her. Her shriek voice, in spite of being the queen usually fell on deaf ears. But here, her mute voice was as powerful as that of any other animal. She said” I did everything to protect my eggs. I had to choose between protecting my eggs and saving my workers. It was my motherly instincts that led me to take such a drastic step.” Eagle looked into her eyes and the bee quickly responded” You are right! I could have saved my workers and my eggs. If I had led my workers in the right direction, they could have flown to a safe place with the eggs. But I chose to take my eggs and fly without giving any directions to my workers, thus, endangering their lives. In the process, I dropped many eggs. My kids have learnt it all from me. They are now ill-treating all the workers in their respective beehives. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late! ”
The snake was next. ” Hiss! I was so happy spreading poison everywhere and I never realized that in the process I was killing too many innocent animals. My daughter never approved of my behavior and tried to convince me against taking innocent lives. But I wouldn’t listen! She got killed trying to save me from my enemies. My other kids are following my footsteps. They are spreading their venom everywhere. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late!”
The pig couldn’t wait for his turn. He said ” But I never told my kid about how I used to stray away from the herd and reach a place first so that I could get the best share of food. I always projected a good herdsman figure and told my kid to be one. But today, I can see that my daughter has got into trouble for straying away and trying to reach first. ” Eagle reminded the pig of the instances when his daughter had heard from the rest of the herd about how her father used to disobey the rules. His daughter had defended him telling everyone that her father could never do anything wrong. The pig agreed and nodded. ” Yes! She did what she thought she should be doing because according to her, I could never do anything wrong. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late!”
The beautiful eyes of the deer had filled up. All the animals looked at her. She said” I just had a vision of my little fawn. While he was small and did not still have his horns, he kept asking me when he would start growing his horns. I, instead of explaining to him that his horns would eventually grow, told him the story of how my dad got hunted down by a lion because his long horns got caught in the branches of a tree. My fawn started hating horns and now, when his little horns have started to appear, he is scared. He almost killed himself trying to rub his horns on the rock to get rid of it. I should have just explained things to him rather than pacifying him by telling the story. Now, how will he ever be able to accept the horns as his most distinguishable feature? I told that story just to stop him from asking me the same question again and again. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late!”
Cuckoo said ” I have seen my mother and aunts keep their eggs in other’s nests. We have to drop one egg from the host’s nest to fit in ours. We have been doing it for generations together. Once, in haste, I dropped my own egg down. And that’s when I understood the pain. I tried to convince my kids and friends against this tradition. But they wouldn’t listen.How could they stop something without having a solution! I now realize that I should have just taught them how to make a nest and take care of their own little ones rather than preaching to them. I realize my mistake. But I know I am late!”
All the other animals there started thinking of the different ways in which they had set bad examples for their kids. Some animals were upset for never being happy and content with whatever they had with them. They could see the same unhappiness and discontentment in their kids. Some animals saw reflections of their manipulative and greedy self in their kids and they cried.
All of them swore that they never wanted their kids to do anything wrong. They always told their kids to be good. They also realized how much their kids looked up to them and considered them as their role models. So now, the mismatch was clear.
As all of them sat there pondering about the things they should have done differently, the eagle announced that their transport for the next journey had arrived.
The eagle waved good-bye to this batch of animals and the next batch was waiting for him. With a smile, the eagle greeted the new batch and thought” the saga continues!”