“Till my land and grow crops. You don't need to own any land. Give up your desire to own land. At least then you might fill your stomach halfway,” said the large landowner to the coolie in a fit of anger.
The laborer went home, filled with sorrow, and lamented to his spouse, “The landowner doesn't want us to prosper. He refused to give us grains for sustenance. We and our children are doomed to constant hunger. This is our fate.”
A bird built a nest on their hut.
The observant wife remarked, “We live in constant fear of our hut collapsing from the fierce winds and torrential rains. Yet, look at this bird building its nest.”
The husband responded, “It's a simple creature, without foresight. When danger comes, it will just fly away. Don't worry about it.” But soon, the bird laid four eggs, which hatched into four chicks.
Suddenly, a snake slithered into the nest and began eating the chicks, who cried out in terror.
The laborer, hearing their cries, rushed over, struck the snake, and killed it. However, by then, it had already consumed three of the chicks. Only one chick, which had fallen to the ground, survived.
He gently picked up the injured chick, noting its broken leg. With care, he applied a splint, bandaged the leg, and fed the chick several times daily.
In time, the chick's leg healed, and it flew away. Meanwhile, the coolie and his family continued to suffer from hunger.
The wife lamented, “How long must we endure this hunger? Is there no hope for us?” As if in answer, there came a knock at the door.
Opening the door, the husband was surprised to see the bird he had nursed back to health. The bird, holding a seed in its beak, dropped the seed into the laborer's hand. “Plant this seed in your backyard. I'll return shortly,” it chirped before flying off.
The bird returned with another seed. “Plant this in your front yard,” it instructed. And on its third visit, it handed over a final seed, advising, “Plant this by the window. Thank you for the love and care you showed me.” With that, the bird flew away.
Following the bird's instructions, the laborer planted the seeds. The next day, three large pumpkins had grown. To their amazement, when the family cut open the first pumpkin, a bounty of delicious foods poured out. The two halves of the pumpkin could be brought together, and it would miraculously become whole again.
The joyous family exclaimed, “Whenever we're hungry, we just open the magical pumpkin, and after we're done, we can close it again. No more hunger for us!”
Curious, they cut open the second pumpkin to find it filled with clothes and jewels. The third pumpkin, when split, spilled out gold coins.
From then on, the family enjoyed good meals, wore fine clothes, and even began building a larger house.
Word of the laborer's sudden prosperity reached the landowner. He summoned the man and demanded, “Dey* Muniya! Where did you get such riches? Tell me now.”
Muniyan recounted everything that had transpired.
The greedy landowner, wanting such riches for himself, built a nest in his terrace, hoping to attract a bird. When a bird finally nested and laid eggs, he lost patience and harmed the chicks, pretending to show compassion to the one he injured.
However, his insincerity led to a very different outcome when he tried to replicate the miracle of the seeds and pumpkins.
The landowner waited anxiously for the bird's return, and sure enough, it did come back, delivering three seeds just as it had for Muniyan. With an eager smile, the landowner planted the seeds as instructed.
The next morning, he awoke to find three massive pumpkins in his yard. Filled with anticipation, he cut open the first pumpkin from the backyard. Instead of food, a swarm of insects burst forth, devouring his crops and leaving nothing behind.
Panicking but still hopeful for the next pumpkin's treasure, he sliced open the one from the front yard. This time, a fierce blaze erupted from within, reducing his opulent mansion to cinders within hours.
Terrified of what might come from the third pumpkin, the landowner approached it hesitantly. His greed, however, got the better of him, and he decided to take the risk. But before he could lay a hand on it, the townspeople, having heard of the calamities the previous pumpkins brought, intervened.
"It's clear these pumpkins are a curse upon you for your greed and cruelty," declared the town elder. "We will dispose of the last one safely, ensuring it brings no harm to our community."
The third pumpkin was tossed into the deep river, its contents forever remaining a mystery. Rumors about snakes, scorpions, and centipedes inside the pumpkin spread, but no one would ever know for sure.
The landowner, now bereft of his wealth and status, lived the remainder of his days in humility and penitence. Meanwhile, Muniyan's generosity grew with his wealth, and he became a beacon of hope in the community, sharing his good fortune with those in need.
The story of the two pumpkins became a tale often recounted in the village, serving as a reminder of the perils of greed and the rewards of genuine kindness.
Note: "Dey" has been previously defined as a disrespectful way of addressing someone.