Shibi’s Sacrifice


Actors: Actors, hawk, dove, attendant holding scales

Props: Knife, 2 steel plates as scales, robes for Indra and Agni

Narrator: Once there was a great king named Shibi. He was very generous and kind. One day a hawk was flying after a dove, trying to catch and eat it. In fright, the dove fell at Shibi’s feet. King Shibi understood. He gently stroked the frightened bird.

King: Don’t be afraid. I will protect you.

Narrator: Soon the hawk arrived.

Hawk: Give me that dove. I am very hungry. I need to eat it.

King: No. This dove came to me for protection. I cannot give her to you. Ask me for anything else, but not this dove.

Hawk: I am very hungry. I only want this dove to eat. If you don’t give it to me, I shall die of hunger. Then you will be responsible for my death.

King: I don’t want either of you to die. Please ask me for something else.

Hawk: Okay—you can give me your own flesh equal to the weight of the dove. Then I shall be satisfied.

Narrator: The king got a set of scales. He set the dove in one pan of the balance. He cut off a chunk of his own flesh and placed it in the other pan. But the dove’s pan did not rise. She was heavier than his flesh. He cut off more of his body and placed it in the pan, but the dove was still heavier. He kept cutting more and more of his flesh, but the dove was always heavier. At last he put his whole body on the scales, offering the hawk his whole body.

At once both the hawk and the dove turned into their real forms: the gods Indra and Agni.

Indra: You are truly great, King Shibi! You were ready to give up your own life to save the life of a dove.

Agni: We bless you that you will have a very long and healthy life and you will be a very great king.

Narrator: The places where King Shibi had cut off his own flesh were healed at once. King Shibi because very famous. Now when a person makes a great sacrifice for the sake of someone else, we call him a Shibi.