Prince Siddhartha saw the wild swans one day, flying white as clouds over the palace. His cousin took a bow, drew back the string, and let an arrow fly. One swan fell. Both boys ran, and the prince came first to the place where the swan lay. She was still alive. He took her in his arms and pulled the arrow from her.

“Give the swan to me,” his cousin said. “She is mine, for my arrow brought her down.”

Siddhartha gave the arrow back and said, “Let us seek the counsel of the wise.” The palace wise men weighed the question carefully.

Then the oldest of them spoke. “A life does not belong to the one who brings it harm,” he said. And all agreed. So the swan remained in Prince Siddhartha’s care. And when her wound was healed, he rejoiced to see her fly again.

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