‘The Swan and The Princes’ is a folk play. A folk play is a creative form of theatre and pageantry centred on tradition and cultural history, usually in rural areas.
The story encompasses a conversation between Suddodhana, the King of Kapilavastu, Siddharta, Prince of Kapilavastu and his cousin, Devdatta. A small dispute between the two princes has been discussed in this play. The King’s ministers are also present in the setting.
The Swan’s Ownership
Once, King Suddodhana was seated on his throne when a guard approached and informed him that Devadatta wished to meet him. The Ministers began to speculate as to why Devadatta had visited. Devadatta entered the room and narrated the problem. He stated that he had shot a swan, which had then fallen to the ground. When Prince Siddhartha noticed this, he picked up the swan. He cleaned the wound, applied medicine, and saved the animal’s life. After that, the two lads fought about who owned the swan. Each of them claimed possession of the swan. Devadatta claimed ownership of the swan, claiming that he shot it down. Siddhartha, on the other hand, claimed ownership of the swan since he had saved its life. They couldn’t come to a conclusion, on who owned the swan.
Both of them seemed to be right. Because he didn’t know how to make a decision, the King sought the advice of his Chief Minister. The Chief Minister came up with a solution. He suggested an idea that would let the swan make the decision.
Devadatta was requested to summon the Swan after they placed the swan on the seat. He called out, but the swan was frightened and it shivered. Next was Siddhartha’s turn, he called out to the swan in a consoling tone. The swan immediately flew up and perched in Siddhartha’s arms as it felt safe. The Chief Minister informed the King that the matter had been settled by the swan. Everyone agreed that the swan belonged to Prince Siddhartha. Each one in the court praised Siddhartha for his compassion.
This play emphasizes the important role of mercy and kindness towards animals. Animals, too, have feelings and are affectionate towards those who care for them.