Story of Shibi Rana

The king Shibi was famous for his truthfulness, justice, and keeping his word. The king of righteousness, Dharmaraj, himself decided to test the strength of character of Shibi Rana.

Once when the king was alone on the terrace of his palace, he saw one dove coming towards him with great speed. An eagle was after him, and to escape from the clutches of the chasing eagle the dove made frantic effort to hide some where. Seeing the king on the terrace, the frightened dove took shelter in his lap. The dove said, "O king, save my life, I have come under your shelter."

The king had vowed to protect anyone who took his shelter. Thus the weak and deprived could not be exploited by the rich and strong. However, this was a new experience for Shibi Rana. Was he in any way obliged to protect a bird who seeks his refuge? Contemplating for a while, the king decided that even tress, animals, and birds require protection and help as do human beings.

Therefore, the king said, "Have no fear my son. That eagle would not be able to touch even your feather. Relax in peace, have no worries." So saying the king readied himself to face the rapidly approaching eagle. The eagle landed in front of the king and said, "O king, you have hidden my prey. Please release him so that I can appease my hunger."

The righteous king saw the point in eagle's demand. He faced a peculiar dilemma of protecting the dove, and at the same time not to deprive the eagle of his rightful prey! He decided to resolve the issue by offering the eagle equal amount of meat from his kitchen. But the eagle insisted on having his prey -the dove - as his food. After some discussion the eagle agreed to set the dove free on two conditions.

The eagle said, "O King, I shall let the dove go, if equal weight of flesh from your body is offered to me as food."

Shibi Rana was quite pleased with the adjustment. He thought that a pound (or two) of flesh from his body would not kill him and the life of the dove in his shelter would also be saved.

Thus he was happy that he was saved from a great sin of 'inability to protect the weak'.

The eagle then put his second condition, saying, "O king, if a single tear drops from your eye I shall be constrained to accept you flesh as my food.

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