Once upon a time, there lived a hen with her three little chicks in a beautiful little hut in a far off valley. The names of these chicks were Billy, Milly and Lilly, and all three were of different colours. Lilly was pure white, Milly was half black and half white, while Billy was completely black.

Every morning the family used to set out in search of food, the mother hen in a different direction and chicks in the other. The chicks normally searched for food closer to their home but one day, unfortunately, when they could not find any food nearby, they decided to go a little further towards the lake.

At the lakeside, Milly and Lilly began to search for food behind the bushes while Billy wandered around the lake. All of a sudden, a crow flew and sat in front of Billy, intending to attack him any moment. Billy became extremely terrified as there was no way to run or hide. He regretted coming to the lake but kept all his senses active and signalled to his brothers to stay behind the bushes.

“Aha! Finally I have gotten you, young kid! I am so much hungry and a fat chick like you will be a delicious lunch for me!” the crow said mercilessly.

Billy remembered that their mum had once advised them to never panic in any situation but to work out their way by using their intellectual capabilities.

“Uh, Mr Crow … you are right, but don’t you want to hear the biggest secret of your life before you eat me because it can be really beneficial for you,” Billy began hesitantly.

“Which secret are you talking about?” the crow asked suspiciously.

Billy relaxed a little that at least the crow was listening to him. “My mum once told me that your ancestors used to be white not black, and they actually looked very charming and attractive,” Billy started telling a story.

“Yes, I have also heard that. I wonder what made our colour change into black in the present generation,” the crow said unhappily.

“But was that the secret? Sorry I knew it already! Ha-ha! Now say your prayers!” the crow mocked.

“Oh no, no! Wait! The real part is going to come now. So the secret I wanted to tell you was that I know a method which can again turn your colour into white. And believe me it’s really simple and easy,” Billy said.

“What! Tell me quickly!” the crow said eagerly.

“Ah, you just have to dive two times in the lake and you will become white,” Billy said smiling.

“Oh, I got it. You are fooling me right? I will sink in the lake in the first dive only and will be dead meat! I won’t believe you until you demonstrate it to me yourself,” the crow said suspiciously.

“Ok, as you wish but it would take a few minutes,” Billy said to the crow innocently and rushed behind the bushes where the water was shallow and the other chicks were hiding. After a few seconds, Lilly which was full white, came out from the bushes all wet.

“Gosh! I don’t believe this. So this is actually true. Oh wow, finally I can also become a good looking bird!” the crow flew in excitement.

“Aren’t you ready to try your luck? You can surely eat me after that,” Lilly said with a smile. “And yes don’t forget… two dives ok?” Lilly reminded the crow.

“Yes, yes whatever!” the crow said dismissively. Without thinking further, the crow dived into the lake. Of course, he couldn’t come out from the water, let alone take two dives. While trying to stay on the water surface, he saw the other two chicks coming out from the bushes. That very instant, the crow realised their trick! He shouted for help.

Milly said, “Now you are crying for your life, don’t you feel any remorse when you saw me and thought of eating me?”

The few seconds in the lake gave the crow a big lesson of life. And he was utterly sorry. Then the three chicks threw a long twig into the lake and the crow immediately held it with his beak and in a few moments he managed to come out of the lake.

Then Lilly said, “I hope you know how precious a life is, and we could have left you there and you could have been some big fish’s scrumptious meal!” With that the three chicks left the scene and headed back home.

The mother hen was worried, strolling around when they returned. She rushed towards them, hugged and scolded them for making her worried. Milly then narrated the whole story to her. The hen was really proud and told them that she was blessed to have them as her children.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 25th, 2016

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