This story was recounted by Buddha to 2 kings after He stopped them from war.
The lesson to be learnt is that one should never belittle someone who is weaker. This story recounted a time when he was born an Elephant in his many previous life before.
In that time, there was a little bird who had a nest of baby birds amongst some bushes. She saw a large herd of elephants approaching her way and was extremely worried that they might accidentally crush her babies.
After identifying the leader, she approached him and ask for his protection to make sure his herd do not trample her nest by mistake. This elephant king agreed and stood over her nest to protect it. When the last elephant of his herd had passed, he informed the mother bird that there was another lone elephant coming that way. That elephant did not submit to his leadership and was alone. He therefore cannot control it.
The mother bird thanked this elephant king.
Worried that the lone bull elephant might trample her nest by accident, she flew to the elephant and seek the same favour. “Dear sir, you are a mighty beast, please take care of a little helpless creature like me. My nest is just ahead, please mind your steps and not hurt my babies.” She asked earnestly.
“Get out of my way you pathetic thing. What can you do to me even if I crush them on purpose?” He walked over to the nest and crushed it with a single stomp. Following that, he pissed on the nest to washed it away. Then he walked away trumpeting with wicked glee.
The mother bird was wretched with anger and sadness. She swore to revenge her babies. After designing her plot, she befriended a fly, a crow and a frog by serving them well. As a result they became very good friends and agreed to help the little mother bird.
The mother bird instructed the crow to peck the eyes of the bull elephant to blind him. After that the fly would lay eggs in the wound. They succeeded and the bull elephant was tormented by the maggots in both eyes. As a result, food and water became hard to find.
A few days later, the mother bird asked the frog to lead the bull elephant towards higher ground by croaking ahead. The Bull elephant followed the sound of the frog, believing there was water. In this manner he was tricked up a hill and approached a cliff. The frog then went the bottom of the cliff and croak at the bottom of the cliff. In this manner, the Bull elephant fell to his death and the mother bird got her revenge.
The Buddha recounted this story from an event he witnessed in his many lives before. The purpose is to caution us not to belittle anyone just because we believe we are mightier.
I found this story intriguing with the brilliant plot of the mother bird, not that I encourage revenge. I can imagine her anguish after seeing her baby crushed to death and washed with piss.
The story seems inconceivable that different animals and insect can work together.
However, if we look at the fly, frog and crow as a representation of humans with different skills, it isn’t far fetched to believe how someone who is weak can team up with others to cause the downfall of someone more powerful.
Hope you enjoy this story.