Once there were two friends Kanakaksha the owl and Sumitra the swan. Sumitra was the king of the swans. But Kanakaksha was an ordinary owl. He was afraid to let Sumitra know that he was a poor owl. So he told Sumitra that he was also a king and also had subjects. Everyday the owl would fly to the pond where the swan lived.
One day as usual, Kanakaksha flew to the pond to meet his friend. “Good morning Sumitra, how are you today?" he asked.
“Good morning my friend, I am fine. Just caught up with the usual work of a king – solving disputes among my subjects," replied Sumitra.
Just then, one of Sumitra’s subjects came up to him and whispered something in his ear.
“Oh!" exclaimed Sumitra. “Kanakaksha, please give me a moment. I have to settle another dispute between two of my subjects."
“Very well Sumitra," answered the owl. “I will wait right here." After Sumitra left to find his subjects, Kanakaksha thought to himself, “If Sumitra comes to know that I am just an ordinary owl, he will stop being my friend. I have to impress him."
As Kanakaksha was flying through the woods in search of food, he saw a camp of soldiers and their commander. He suddenly got an idea. He flew back to the pond and called Sumitra. “I want you to visit my kingdom," invited the owl.
“One day I will surely visit your kingdom Kanakaksha," answered Sumitra the swan.
“Not someday," urged Kanakaksha. “You should come today. I come to meet you everyday." Sumitra agreed and the owl took the swan to the place where the soldiers had camped.
“This is my kingdom and these are my subjects," said Kanakaksha to Sumitra proudly. Sumitra knew that Kanakaksha was no king. But he did not want to hurt his poor foolish friend’s feelings.
“Wow!" exclaimed Sumitra.
“Are your soldiers getting ready to move?"
“No! How could they without my permission?" The Owl flew over the camp hooting aloud “Ho - hoo!" The commander heard the owl and said, “An owl is hooting. It’s a bad omen. We will have to postpone our march."
The next day Kanakaksha and Sumitra came to the same place. Just as the army got ready to move. Kanakaksha hooted again. The army stopped again. On the third day again, Kanakaksha hooted just as the commander mounted his horse.
“Oh this omen maker! Will someone take care of him?" shouted the commander angrily.
"This time my poor friend has gone too far," thought Sumitra the swan to himself.
A soldier stepped forward and shot an arrow at the owl perched on a branch. But Kanakaksha spotted the arrow and swiftly flew away. Sumitra who had been next to Kanakaksha did not see the arrow coming. The arrow hit Sumitra and he died.
“Oh my foolishness has caused the death of my good friend," thought Kanakaksha bitterly to himself.