The Story of a White Pigeon

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Here is a delightful true story that was submitted to the Smarter than Jack website. We hope you enjoy it!

The white pigeon

It was the second day of the Gadhimai festival - the day of the massacre. There’s a small temple in the vicinity of the slaughter enclosure. Just below it were people holding cages with sacrificed pigeons inside - white pigeons, grey pigeons, mixed colors, etc, each without its head. I asked one of them what they were going to do with the bodies. “Eat them, what else? This is Prasad.” (Note: countless animals other than buffaloes, including pigs, goats, birds and mice, are slaughtered throughout the festival.)

A couple of boys had live pigeons in their hands. “Would you mind selling them to me?” 

“No way!” 

"I’ll give you double the amount you paid for each.” 

“We cannot. It’s against the tradition.” 

Nobody I asked there was willing to sell their sacrificial animals. Then I noticed a boy, probably in his early teens. Just above him, on a small temple roof, a little white pigeon was perched. The boy had his eyes fixed on the bird, and soon crept behind it with his legs firmly placed on the window bars of the temple. Before the bird knew, the boy had caught her by her tail. “Let her go, boy!” was my first reaction, catching him by the hand.

Boy: “Why? This is for the sacrifice.”

Raghu: “I’ll give you money for it!”

Boy: “Let me go! My brother’s waiting there.”

Raghu: “How much?”

Boy: “No way!”

Raghu: “How much?”

Boy: 200.

Raghu: Done.

Immediately after I took hold of the bird, I tried to make her fly. She wouldn't. Not old enough, perhaps. She wouldn't run either. I then placed her on my shoulder, and there she stayed for the whole two days while I stood with my banner. I remember the look on the boy's face after the bird accepted me - priceless! At first, I felt very insecure about being there in the crowd where my presence was not exactly welcome. But the bird on my shoulder made me feel very, very special - at home, at peace. After the festival, I brought her home to Kathmandu. She is with me all day long. Even as I write this, she stays on my left forearm, sleeping. What a beauty! What an honour!

True story by Raghu Aditya of Namibia




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