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Animal Folk Tales, Part 3

By Joseph Thomas

The owl, or Nok Hoog in Thai, is an unusual animal in that it can turn its head completely around. This was not always the case. In fact, the owl used to be much like most other birds, hunting by day and associating with the other animals. That all changed one day when the owl decided to play a trick on a monkey, unfolding a chain of circumstances ending in disaster.

One dull day the owl spotted a monkey quietly eating corn in a nearby field. He silently glided up to the monkey and hooted with all his voice. The monkey was quite startled and ran off, accidentally snapping the stem of a pumpkin vine in his haste. The pumpkin rolled down a hill and collided with a nat or sesame plant. This caused the nat plant to shower its tiny seeds, some of which fell into a rooster's eyes blinding him. The rooster, who had no means of clearing his eyes, began to run about pecking and scratching at the ground. He accidentally pecked some ants, and the others rushed to safety in their anthill. As the ants hurriedly dug into the ground, their tall hill collapsed onto two small chicks crushing them.

The mother hen was furious at this turn of events and asked the anthill why it had crushed her children. The anthill explained and sent her to ask the ants, who explained and sent her to ask the rooster. The rooster explained that he had been blinded by sesame seeds. The nat plant explained that it had been struck by a pumpkin which had been kicked by a monkey who had been startled by an owl. The hen finally found her way back up the chain to the owl who was sitting calmly on the hill watching the strange unforeseen events. The hen asked the owl why it had given the loud call that frightened the monkey and started all the trouble. The owl simply sat and looked at her, refusing to give a hoot. This infuriated the hen so much that she grabbed the owl's head and began to twist it back and forth until the owl's vision was altered and its head could turn backward. The hen left saying that since the owl did not feel the same as other animals did, it should not be like any other animal.

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