Oct 11, 2009

A Story of Friendship

The “lazy Sunday” disease got to me. And because of my aversion to sheer boredom, I decided to read the spines of the books that were piled away neatly in a tall bookshelf in one corner of the room, in a great desire to at least have something to do. I chanced upon my favorite book of compiled stories, retrieved it and started to read.

The book did not fail me. I read word after word, flipped one page after another, as if it were my first time to read the stories held in that one frail binding of paperback. As I went halfway through the book, I stumbled upon a touching story I knew I shared only to one person. Allow me to share it to you as I recant with my own narrating of the events that took place and the lessons we should always hold close to our heart.

I’m sure you all know Genghis Khan, the great Mongol warrior and conqueror. He founded one of the largest empires in world history, the Mongol Empire. He utilized his charisma to gain loyal followers and applied brilliant military tactics in his conquests. Yet amidst all the myth surrounding his birth, life and triumphs, lay a story of pure friendship. A story not told and recalled by many. The story of Genghis Khan and his falcon. This is where the tale begins …

One morning, Genghis Khan and his court went out hunting. His companions brought bows and arrows and other hunting paraphernalia with them. The great warrior only brought his beloved falcon. They hunted, even went deep into the forest, but despite their zealous determination, they found nothing. They got so disappointed that they just went back to their encampment to rest.

In his frustration, Genghis Khan rode out alone, accompanied only by his trusted friend --- the falcon. He and his court had stayed longer than expected, and the warrior was desperately tired and thirsty. It was summertime and the streams had dried up, Khan had found nothing to drink. After wandering for some time, he came by a thread of water flowing from a rock. Finally, he would be able to suffice his thirst.

Genghis Khan removed the falcon from his arm and took out the cup he always carried around and filled it with water. As he was about to raise the cup to his lips, the falcon dived and plucked the cup from his hand. The water splashed to the ground.

He became furious, but because the falcon was his favorite, he let it pass. Maybe it, too, was thirsty. So, he picked up the cup, dusted off the dirt and tried to fill it again. This time, he only managed to fill it half-full. When he was about to drink it, the falcon attacked once again, spilling the cup of water.

The great warrior adored his bird, but he could not allow, under any circumstances, such disrespect. He was afraid that someone might be watching nearby and would tell his court that he, a great conqueror, was incapable of taming a bird.

Once again, he tried to refill his cup. This time he held out his sword. He kept one eye on his cup, the other on the falcon. As he was about to drink the water, the bird once more took flight and flew towards him. Genghis Khan, with one thrust, pierced the bird’s breast.

The thread of water now dried up. In his desperation, Khan climbed up the rock determined to search the spring from which the thread came from. To his surprise, there really was a pool of water. And in there, lay, dead, one of the most poisonous snakes in the region. If he had drunk the water, he too would’ve died.

Genghis Khan returned to the camp, in his arms, the dead falcon. He ordered a golden figurine of the bird to be made. On one of the wings he had engraved: “Even when a friend does something you do not like, he continues to be your friend.” And on the other wing, he had these engraved: “Any action committed in anger is an action doomed to failure.”