Genghis Khan, ruler of a vast empire, had trouble controlling his own temper.
One summer morning, he went out hunting with his friends. Genghis Khan was a skilled huntsmen, and he was ably assisted by his pet hawk. At a word from his master, the hawk would soar into the sky, and scan the ground below for prey. If it saw a deer or rabbit, the hawk would swoop down upon it with amazing speed.
That day, fortune seemed to favour Genghis Khan. He caught much game, and everyone rejoiced. Before dusk, the hunting party gathered together to make their way home. They took the shortest route back to the palace. Only Genghis Khan took another path. Even his pet hawk flew away. Genghis Khan knew that it would find its way back.
He rode along a trail that led to a spring. When he arrived where the spring was supposed to be, he realised that it had dried up. He rode on, and soon spied some water trickling down over a rock. He dismounted from his steed, took out a cup from his hunting bag, and made his way to the water.
He held it under the rock. The water was dripping down slowly, and Genghis Khan was really thirsty. Bristling with impatience, he managed to hold on until the cup got filled. Just as he was about to drink the water, he heard a whirring sound in the air. Looking up, he saw his pet hawk flying down towards him. To his shock, it knocked the cup out of his hand. All the water splashed to the ground.
Genghis Khan was surprised to see the hawk, and even more so at what it had done. He thought that it was probably being playful. The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.
Ignoring it, Genghis Khan picked up his cup, and held it under the rock again to collect the trickling drops. When it was half full, he brought it up to his lips. Just then, the hawk swooped down, and knocked the cup away again!
This time, Genghis Khan began to feel irritated. He was extremely thirsty, and the bird seemed bent on keeping him that way! "Accursed creature!" he muttered to himself.
Picking up the cup once again, Genghis Khan held it under the rock. He noticed that the hawk was perched on a rock higher up, and its gaze seemed to be focused on him. With the disengaged hand, Genghis Khan slowly slid his sword out of the scabbard.
When the cup was full, he slowly brought it towards his lips. This time, he kept his eyes on his pet hawk. Sure enough, it swept towards him rapidly. Mad with imperial range, Genghis Khan raised his sword and savagely slashed the hawk. Blood spurted from its neck, and it fell, lifeless, at his feet. "That will teach you, Sir Hawk! Never trifle with a world ruler," he said.
When Genghis Khan turned around to drink, he realised that he had dropped his cup, which had fallen between two rocks, where he could not reach it. He decided to go to the source of the spring.
After a long time, he arrived there, utterly tired and thirsty. He was about to help himself to the water when he noticed a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind, floating in the water. The sight made him forget his thirst. He understood why his pet hawk had tried to prevent him from drinking the water. "It was trying to save my life, and I repaid his kindness by killing him."
"I have learned a sad lesson today, and that is, never to do anything in anger."