The Ground Pigeon (Tekukur)

To the Ground pigeon (Tekukur) belongs the following story:

Once upon a time there was a maiden who lived in the forest with her parents and little sister. When she grew up she was troubled by an anxiety to accompany her father in his expeditions to the forest, where he was engaged in clearing the ground for a rice – plantation. Her parents, however, persuaded her to stay at home; first until the trees were felled, then until the fallen timber had been burnt off, then till the rice had been planted, and then again till it was cut.

When, however, they attempted to put her off yet once more, until the rice should be trodden out, she could bear it no longer, and taking off her bracelets and earrings, which she left behind the door, and placing her little sister in the swinging – cot, she changed herself into a ground-dove and flew away to the clearing. [She retained her necklace, however, and this accounts for the speckled marks on this dove’s neck.] On arriving at the spot where her parents were engaged at work, she alighted on a dead tree stump (changgong], and called out thrice to her mother, ‘ Mother, mother, I have left my earrings and bracelets behind the door, and have put my little sister in the swing.’ Her mother, amazed at these words, hastened home, and found her daughter gone.

She then returned to the bird, which repeated the same words as before, this time, however, concluding with the coo of a dove. In vain the distressed parents endeavoured to recapture her, by cutting down the tree on which she had perched; before they had done so she flew to another, and after following her from tree to tree for several miles they were obliged to desist, and she was never recaptured.

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