Of all the animals in the jungle, swans were considered to be the most beautiful. And even the swans agreed that Sohana was the most beautiful of all of them. The other animals would often stop to look at her big, dark eyes, her long graceful neck and the way she delicately flapped her wings while preparing to fly.
Sohana was very proud of the fact that she was considered to be the most beautiful in the jungle. She would lift up her chin and move about in the water with a lot of pride. All the other birds would groom her and tell her nice things about herself until she became very spoilt and arrogant and started looking down upon the other birds.
Seasons came and went and winter gave way to spring and spring gave way to summer. As summer peaked, the animals spent more and more time on the river bank drinking water and taking long baths now and then to keep them cool. Sohana would often think to herself “Oh, they have all come to see me. How beautiful I must be!” and so thinking she would swim about in the water feeling very proud of herself and thinking all the other birds and animals to be lesser than her.
Then, one hot humid day, summer finally gave way to monsoon. The sun hid behind dark clouds and the bright sunlit day turned gloomy. The sky lit up with lightning and thunder. The frogs croaked joyously anticipating the rain that would follow soon and Piyu the peacock spread his tail around in a neat circle and started dancing. He swayed from side to side and danced shaking his glorious feathers. His blue and green feathers glistened and shone catching everybody’s eyes. All the animals stared in silent wonder. He danced and danced till the big drops of rain rolled down from the sky and all the animals ran for shelter.
After the rain stopped, all the animals could only talk about how beautifully Piyu had danced. Everybody took turns to meet and appreciate him for dancing so well.
Every afternoon, as thunder and lightning filled the sky, Piyu would dance and dance and all animals would gather around to watch him.
Sohana was upset that nobody paid her any attention any more. She sulked around and complained to everybody that Piyu was a big show off and was just trying to get attention. But the animals did not believe her for they knew Piyu was simple hearted. Piyu would often hear Sohana say mean things about him but he would continued to dance every time the rain came for he loved the monsoon and he loved to dance.
One day a hunter came to the forest to catch some beautiful birds which he could sell at the market and make some good money. He was looking around wondering which bird would make a good catch when he happened to see Sohana. He felt sure such a beautiful bird would definitely bring him a lot of money and so, decided to catch her.
Sohana was busy admiring her reflection in the water and did not see the hunter’s net fall over her. She flapped her wings and tried to escape but the net was too heavy for her. She cried for help but all the other birds and animals were too scared to help her. The hunter started pulling the net towards him.
As he caught hold of Sohana’s neck and started to remove the net around her, Piyu who had been watching made up his mind to help her. He came close to the hunter and started dancing his beautiful dance. He showed off his bright feathers that shimmered in the sun and cried out melodiously. The hunter thought such a beautiful peacock that danced so well would definitely fetch him a higher price in the market. He released Sohana who swam away as fast as she could.
The hunter then silently approached Piyu who pretended not to notice him. As the hunter threw his net to catch Piyu, Piyu flew away and perched himself as high as he could on a nearby tree. The hunter again threw the net and Piyu again flew and sat on a high branch on another tree. Thus he hopped from tree to tree until he had brought the hunter far away from the river. Finally the hunter was too tired to chase Piyu any more. He gave up and retuned home empty handed.
Sohana thanked Piyu for having saved her life and apologized for being jealous of him and for being mean to him. Piyu was happy that he had been able to help Sohana. Piyu and Sohana became very good friends.
Then on, whenever Piyu danced, Sohana would be the first to appreciate him and had only good things to say about him. She was no longer proud of her beauty and moved about well with all the other animals.
Everybody agreed that a good heart had made Sohana look even more beautiful.
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