A forest is the dwelling place of many animals and birds. Of all the animals, the rabbit is the most timid by nature. At the slightest sound, he is frightened and he runs away. All the animals in the forest, therefore, teased the rabbit by calling him ‘fainthearted’.
The rabbit greatly disliked this teasing. He do not like to be known as a ‘fainthearted’ animal. He did not know what to do. He was quite disheartened by the behavior of other animals!
There stood a big old banyan tree in the forest. An owl lived in the hollow of the tree
trunk. The owl was known for his wisdom. He had the solution to the most difficult problem. The rabbit decided to take the advice of this wise old owl.
The rabbit went to the owl and said, “All the animals in the forest call me ‘fainthearted’. I feel hurt. I want to remove this impression. What should I do?”
The owl said, “Never fear anyone.”
The rabbit wondered, “But how is it possible?”
The owl explained to the rabbit, “First, you should mix with all the animals who are smaller than you. After that, you can start moving around in the company of your peers and make friends with them. And finally, you should respect the elders. When you meet them, you should ask them what you can do for them. If you follow these three steps, nobody will call you ‘fainthearted’.”
The rabbit thanked the owl and returned home. On his way, he saw a bat. The rabbit
stopped and said, “Hello, dear bat! How are you?” The bat was surprised and said to herself, “I can’t believe this! This rabbit was always frightened of me and he used to run away even if I just flapped my wings. And today he dares to talk to me!” So she said, “I am fine, dear rabbit! And how are you?” Saying these words, the bat flew away.
The rabbit merrily hopped his way to the river bank. There he saw some frogs jumping about. The rabbit stood there and said, “Hello, friends! I often come here to drink water, but we have never spoken to one another.”
One of the frogs said, “Yes, that is right. You drink water and go away immediately. You never wait here. We will enjoy talking with you.” The rabbit made friends with the frogs. He was no longer afraid of them.
The rabbit said bravely, “Now I am not afraid of anyone.” At that moment, a fox came to the river bank. The rabbit said proudly, “Hello, dear fox! How are you? May I help you? Dear fox, do you know that I am no longer afraid of anyone?” “Hey, you rabbit! Aren’t you afraid of me?” asked the fox.
The rabbit said, “No. Now I do not fear anybody.” The fox was very angry at this reply. He pushed the rabbit into the water. With great difficulty, the frogs saved the rabbit and brought him out of the river. One of the frogs advised him, “It is true that one should not fear anybody. But at the same time, one should be cautious and not cross one’s limits.”
Moral: Know your limitations!!!