Once, a king went out hunting with his pet hawk. The hunt was good, and by afternoon, the king was hot and tired, as were his horse and his hawk. The king had once seen a spring of clear water near this pathway. If he could only find it now! He was extremely thirsty.
At last, to his great relief, he saw some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up the mountain. The king leaped from his horse, took a little silver cup from his hunting bag, and dipped it into the stream.
It took a long time to fill the cup. The king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and drank eagerly.
All at once there was a whirring sound in the air. The king looked up and saw his pet hawk. The hawk flew circles in the air, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.
“The hawk is glad to see me drink,” the king said to himself contentedly. “All my subjects are happy when I am happy.”
From sheer joy he began to climb the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water. But what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it? It was a huge snake of the most poisonous kind.
The king stopped. He forgot his thirst. He thought only of the danger to himself.
But his hawk had been well trained. The brave creature plunged downward through the air, pointing its beak straight at the snake. With a sudden jab, the bird pierced the snake and lifted it into the air, dead.
"That snake will never harm me now!" the king cried. “I’m glad I’m such a good hawk trainer!"
He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently and placed its hood upon its small, intelligent head. Then he had the bird sit, as usual, on his forearm as he mounted his horse and rode home.
He said to himself, "It’s been a good day’s hunt. I’ll be glad to get home."