STORIES - Genghis Khan and His Hawk

Anger is one of the most fundamental aspects of human nature. We were all born with an inclination towards it and that's why curbing anger is such a challenge. It's like trying to suppress a part of us that seems to surface involuntarily.

But great is the need to restrain ourselves from doing things out of anger, these can have very serious consequences. Take the story of Genghis Khan and his hawk, for example.

One morning, Genghis Khan, the great king and warrior, rode out into the woods for a day's sport. On his wrist sat his favourite hawk, for in those days hawks were trained to hunt.

The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His pet hawk left his wrist and flew away. It would be sure to find its way home. The king was riding slowly along, when to his joy, he saw some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up.

The king took a little silver cup from his hunting bag and held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops. It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink when suddenly, the cup was knocked from his hands.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops. When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth. But before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

Now this happened a few times. The king was so overcome by anger that when the bird swooped down again, he struck it with his sword. The hawk fell to the ground and lay dying at its master's feet.

"That is what you get for your pains," said Genghis Khan.

But when he looked for his cup, he found that it had fallen between two rocks, where he could not reach it.

"At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring," he said to himself.

With that he began to climb the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. When he reached the pool, he noticed something lying in the pool, almost filling it. It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind.

The king stopped. He forgot his thirst.

"The hawk saved my life!" he cried, "and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him."

Genghis Khan learnt a sad lesson that day - and that was to never do anything in anger.


Eugine Loh, 938Live, MediaCorp Pte Ltd