The Little Sandpiper
The Little Sandpiper
A pair of sandpipers lived on a seashore. When it was time for Mother sandpiper to lay eggs, she said, “Find a nice safe place for me to lay eggs.”
Father sandpiper said, “This seashore is so beautiful. Lay eggs here.” Mother sandpiper said, “No. This place is not safe. When the high tidal waves lash the shore, the sea will carry our eggs away So you must find some other place for me.”.
Father sandpiper laughed and said, “How dare the sea carry our eggs away? You may lay eggs here without worrying about anything.” Hearing these words, the sea thought, “Ah! Look how proud this little bird is. What can he do if I carry away his eggs?” Mother sandpiper laid eggs on the seashore.
One day, Mother sandpiper went in search of food. When she returned, she saw that her eggs had disappeared! The high tidal waves of the sea had carried the eggs away.
Mother sandpiper gave a shrill Cry Tw…eet Tw.. .eet Tw…eet.. She could not stop lamenting.
When Father sandpiper came there, she said to him, “Didn’t I tell you that the high tidal waves of the sea will carry our eggs away? I had advised you to find a safe place. But you did not heed my advice and look what has happened. Bring my eggs back to me.”
Father sandpiper said, “Do not worry. I will not rest until I have brought the eggs back. I will dry up this cruel sea. I will drink all the waters of the sea with my beak.”
Mother sandpiper said, “Have you gone mad? How can you drink the waters of the sea with your tiny beak? Yet if you wish to make enemies with the sea, you must take the help of all the other birds.”
Father sandpiper liked the suggestion. He called all the birds and narrated his tragic tale to them. He asked them to think of a way to empty the sea.
The birds discussed the problem among themselves and said, “We do not possess the power to empty the sea. Therefore, there is no point in trying to make an effort to do so. Yet let us go to our king, the eagle.” All the birds got together and went to the eagle. They began to lament saying, “The sea has carried away the eggs of these good-hearted sandpipers. The high tidal waves may destroy many others. You are our king. Please help us.”
The eagle was grief-stricken to hear the story. He burst into a rage and said, “I can understand your grief. I will go right now and suck up the waters of the sea.”
As the eagle was saying this, a messenger of Lord Vishnu came there and said, “O eagle! The Lord wants to go to Amaravati. He has called you at once.”
Hearing this, the eagle said, “Convey my salutations to the Lord and please tell him to use someone else as his vehicle.” The messenger was astonished. He said, “Why do you say so? You have never been angry with the Lord. Why are you so angry today?”
The eagle said, “The sea is the abode of the Lord. The sea has carried away the eggs of our dear sandpipers. So please tell the Lord that he should leave the sea or else I refuse to serve him.”
The messenger went to the Lord and gave the eagle’s message to him. Hearing the message, Lord Vishnu Himself came to meet the eagle.
“Oh! The Lord himself is here to meet me,” thought the eagle and he hung his head in shame. He bowed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! The sea has carried away the eggs of the sandpipers. But I cannot dry up its waters because it is your abode.”
The Lord said, “You are right. Come with me. We will get the eggs back from the sea. We will duly honour the sandpipers and then go to Amaravati.”
The Lord went to the sea. He aimed the Aagneyastra at it and said, “O cruel sea! If you do not return the sandpipers’ eggs to them, I will dry you up.” The sea was frightened. It returned the sandpipers’ eggs. Mother sandpiper was very delighted.
She began to sing with joy. Tw…eet Tw…eet Tw…eet.