An interesting folktale, The Two Storks, prevalent in the Sindh province of Pakistan, sends a very interesting moral message.
According to this story, in a tamarind tree beside a lake, a stork and a she-stork made a nest and had babies. Early every morning both of them flew out in search of food to feed their chicks.
One day, while flying, they sighted a field of millet. The stork asked the she-stork, to wait for him on a tree while he quickly went and got some grains. The she-stork however stopped him from doing so, as she felt that it was too late and they should fly away, instead of stopping to collect grains. But the stork would not hear of it, and, leaving the she-stork behind, went to graze on the millet.
He had barely eaten two or three grains when the farmer arrived there, and deftly throwing his net caught the stork. Then slinging the net with the stork over his shoulder, he headed home. Seeing this, the she stork cried out that if only he had listened to her, then she wouldn’t have lost him.
The stork regretted his actions, but urged her to return to their young ones. The she-stork went flying to her babies and after giving them food and drink, and putting them to bed, headed for the farmer’s house for news of the stork.
When she arrived there she saw that the farmer had killed the stork and was cutting him into pieces.
She said to the farmer, that by killing her partner, he had committed a great wrong. The farmer replied that there was nothing wrong in what he had done as the stork had eaten his millet, without seeking permission.
The she-stork then requested that after he had cooked and eaten him, he should give his bones to her.
The farmer’s wife and farmer cooked and ate the stork. When they put together the bones in one place, the she-stork came and sang over them a sweet song that displayed her sadness and how she had warned him not to eat, but he did and met with his death.
No sooner had she sung the song, than the bones rustled, and they came together and were made into the stork. He flew out and sat next to the she-stork.
The two of them flew back to the nest and to their chicks, and the stork swore never again to eat another’s crop.
Interestingly this story reveals a world where love may not be able to ward off death, but where it wields the power to resurrect and make death void. From the moment the stork decides to go into the millet field the she-stork is apprehensive, a fear she expresses in her warning. And when the stork is captured and killed, she recourses to the same song whose occult powers make the stork come alive. And yet the happy reunion of the two birds at the end is still strange. They are together in the phenomenal world, but their lives have different categories. While the she-stork continues to live her natural life, the stork has been raised from the dead, and is living his afterlife.