The Cooing Of The Doves

Of all the birds there are none that keep themselves more separate

than the doves. They do not peck at other birds as the crows and the

vultures do, but, on restless foot and wing, they quickly withdraw

themselves from every presuming neighbour.

The Ancient Khasis say that at one time the doves sang like other

birds, and the following story tells how they ceased their singing

and came to express their feelings in the plaintive "Coo-oo" for

which they are noted throughout the world.

Once a family of doves lived very happily in the forest, and its

youngest member was a beautiful female called Ka Paro. Her parents and

all the family were very indulgent to her, and never permitted her

to risk the danger of the grain-fields until they had ascertained

that there were no hunters or wild beasts likely to attack her;

so Ka Paro used to stay in the shelter of her home until they gave

a signal that the land was safe and clear.

One day, while waiting for the signal, she happened to go up into

a tall tree on which there were clusters of luscious red berries

growing. As the doves usually subsisted on grain, Ka Paro did not

pay much attention to the berries; she sat on a branch, preening her

feathers and watching other birds who came to pick them.

By and by there came a smart young Jylleit (a jungle bird with gorgeous

green and gold feathers) who perched to pick berries upon the very

branch on which Ka Paro sat. She had never seen such a beautiful bird,

and to please him she sang to him one of her sweetest songs. U Jylleit

was quickly attracted by the sweet voice and the gentle manners of

the dove, and a pleasant intimacy grew between the two. Ka Paro came

to that tree to preen her feathers and to sing every day, while the

Jylleit admired her and picked the berries.

After a time U Jylleit sent to the dove's parents to ask her in

marriage. Although their young daughter pressed them hard to give

their consent, the parents were wise, and did not want to trust

the happiness of their pet child to a stranger until they had time

to test his worth; they knew too that marriages between alien tribes

were scarcely ever a success. So, to test the constancy of the young

suitor, they postponed the marriage till the winter, and with that

the lovers had to be content. The parents remembered that the berries

would be over by the winter, and it remained to be seen whether the

Jylleit would be willing to forgo his luxuries and to share the frugal

food of the doves, or whether he would fly away to some other forests

where berries were to be found. Ka Paro was so much in love that she

was very confident of the fidelity of her suitor, but to her sorrow,

as soon as the berries were finished, U Jylleit flitted away without

even a word of farewell, and she never saw him again.

From that time Ka Paro ceased to sing. She could only utter the

longing and sorrow that was in her heart in sad and plaintive notes,

so the doves are cooing sadly even in their happiest moments.

The Conversion Of Amambar The Cookooburrahs And The Goolahgool facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail