The health conscious crow

What happens when an ecologically-aware crow decided to end his burning thirst, and finds a jar of water?

Published - March 04, 2023 07:08 pm IST

Illustrations: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Illustrations: Satheesh Vellinezhi | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

It was a hot and sunny day. Everything in the jungle looked parched. The trees looked dull and lifeless. The leaves had turned brown. The grass had become dry and brittle. All the water in the river and the stream beds had dried up. The empty water-bed had developed cracks.

All the animals sat under the trees, leaning against the tree trunks, where they had collapsed with exhaustion. They felt dull and their throats had become dry. No one was making any kind of sound, as none had any energy left.


A thirsty crow flew all over the jungle in search of water. Everywhere he looked, he saw signs of dryness, and was dismayed. There was not a drop of water available anywhere. He started to feel weak. Tears spilled out from his eyes at his plight. Feeling giddy, he immediately perched on a tree in the field for some time.

He searched the branches of the trees nearby for the juicy berries they were famous for. But sadly, there was no sign of the red berries. “I think the monkeys and the birds must have eaten all the berries,” the crow muttered.

His eyes roamed all over the ground for a sign of a green plant, so that he could get some moisture by chewing its juicy leaves. But all around he saw signs of dryness. The leaves looked so brittle and brown. “Even the rocks don’t have a bit of moss, some hungry animals must have eaten the moss too,” the crow said. “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

He saw a pitcher of water underneath a tree and a few wrappers. Looks like they were leftovers of a picnic. The crow’s eyes widened and hope flared in his heart. He flew down towards the jar.

“Water at last,” the crow smiled as he saw some water at the bottom of the jar.

Unfortunately, he was unable to drink the water, as the pitcher had a narrow neck. He tried everything but he still couldn’t reach the water.

“If I tilt the jar, the little water inside will spill out,” he groaned. He looked around, searching for some inspiration.

He saw some stones nearby. He remembered the story he had heard in childhood. His ancestor too had found himself in a similar situation many, many years back.

His thirsty ancestor had dropped stones into the water until the level of the water had risen and he could quench his thirst.

“But I’m health conscious, I can’t risk my life,” the crow muttered. “Who knows which germs these stones carry? Some animal may have pooped over the stones, some bird may have vomited on it, or some creature could have peed on the stones. It will be unhygienic to drop these stones into the jar to raise the water level.”

The crow thought of a plan that could enable him to safely drink the water without harming his health.

His eyes sparkled as he saw a cluster of ferns on the far right. He had missed seeing them earlier.

“Yes,” he said flying towards the plants. The ferns looked green and clean. “Perfect for what I’ve in mind.”

Illustrations: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Illustrations: Satheesh Vellinezhi | Photo Credit: Satheesh Vellinezhi

Plucking a long fern, he rolled it until it resembled a straw. He had seen the humans in the cities drinking through the straws and had always found it very cool. Holding the straw in his paw he looked through the tiny hole.

“My eco-friendly and safe straw is ready,” the crow flew back to the pitcher, carrying the straw in his beak.

He alighted lightly on the edge of the pitcher. Inserting the straw into the pitcher, he drank the water, sighing with contentment as the water nourished his dry throat. After sipping all the water, the crow cawed with delight.

He knew that centuries later, one of his descendants would come up with a different idea, using his method as an inspiration.

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