This is a tale from the PanchaTantra, a collection of children stories from India. Take a moment to read this story and notice what comes up for you. My own reaction has changed over time.
“Somewhere in the jungle, there grew a huge tree. On its long branches, a pair of sparrows had made their home. One day, in winter, whilst the pair was sitting happily together, a light rain began to fall.
After some time, a monkey, battered by the strong winds, came and stood under the tree, his teeth chattering with cold.
When the female sparrow saw him in this state, she said to the monkey,’With your hands and feet, you look like a human being.
So why don’t you make a home yourself?’
The monkey got angry and shouted, “Why don’t you shut your mouth, you stupid woman ?”
But the female sparrow kept on advising the monkey.
Then the monkey said to himself, ” What a cheek this female bird has, giving me advice! This insolent woman thinks, she is an educated woman and won’t stop yapping. She makes me want to kill her!”
Then the monkey said ,”Why should you worry about my situation?”
But the female sparrow kept chattering ceaselessly.
Without much ado, the monkey climbed up the tree and tore up the nest in thousand pieces.
The wise indeed say : Give your advice only to those who deserve it else you will come to grief.”
When I read this story a few years ago, I could really relate to the sparrow. I would come across people who were unhappy and not open to accepting help or advice. When I read the story back then, I wondered how the sparrow could change her approach so that the monkey would listen to her and learn from her, instead of resenting her and getting angry.
Now I know to let angry monkeys be.