The proverb literally means that when there are many birds vying with each other to catch a single worm, the bird that arrives early has the best chance of catching the worm. Similarly in life a person must be well ahead of others in terms of efforts or preparation. Only then can he make best use of the limited opportunities that are available. One must plan well in advance and grab at chances before the others arrive. Only then can success be yours.
Daya was a vegetable vendor in a small village. The vegetables and fruits that he sold in his shop were always fresh and everyday there were loads of people frequenting his shop. Daya opened his shop much before the others and invariably all his stocks were exhausted by noon and he went home a happy man with a bag full of money. This caused a lot of jealousy among the other vendors in the market because the crowd was always more in Daya’s shop than in theirs. They agreed that his stocks were fresh but never really understood the reason.
The other vendors decided to spy on Daya to find out the reason for his success. So one afternoon they followed him as he closed his shop for the day. Daya went home, rested and then set out in his bullock cart by evening to the nearby town where the wholesale market was located. Daya rested there for the night and got up very early in the morning and bought all the stocks that he required and returned to his village before sunrise. This way he was able to get fresh stocks from the wholesale market at cheaper rates and open his shop much before the others. Moreover there was no wastage since he could sell all his stocks.
The other vendors realized that the secret behind Daya's success was his hard work and good planning. He made sure he was well ahead of all the others in procuring the vegetables so that he got fresh stocks, even if it meant sacrificing his sleep. Daya was well aware that to succeed one had to grab opportunities at the earliest because that was the only way to have an edge over the others.
Other vendors in the same market where Daya sells his vegetables now understood the reason for the success of Daya. They started to follow the methods of Daya in order to make success.
Mary was a selfish, disagreeable, bad tempered little girl who lived in India. Her father was a British official so he was busy with his job. Her mother was a beautiful woman and she spent all of her time at parties. They had a big house and a lot of servants.
One morning Mary learnt that there was a disease which made people die like flies. And her servant, Kamala, died because of the disease. The disease killed her parents too. Everyone alive left the house but they forgot about Mary.
First she was taken to an English family. They had known Mary's parents. But she didn't stay there long. She had an uncle and she was going to live with him in England. She had never heard anything about her uncle, Mr. Archibald Craven, before. When Mr. Craven's housekeeper came to take Mary, she told something to her about Mr. Craven. He had a crooked-back and his lovely wife died years ago. Since then, he had been very sad and disagreeable. And he didn’t want Mary to wander all over the house.
At her new home, Mary's new servant was Martha. She had a crowded family and she was different from Mary's other servants. So Mary wasn't happy about the situation. Martha told Mary there was a secret garden. It was locked when Mrs. Craven died. Mary interested in secret garden.
Mary became friends with the gardener, Ben Weatherstaff, and a friendly robin. One day, she found the key of secret garden with robin's help. And the other day she found door of the secret garden. When she came in to the garden, she thought it was the loveliest and most exciting place she had ever seen. She met Dickon and told him about the beautiful place. They started to take care of the garden together.
Since she arrived in Manor, she heard a crying sound many times. Finally she disovered where it came from. It was Mr. Craven's son. No one ever told anything about him before. His name was Colin and he was ill. He was about to die and even if he lived, he would have a crooked-back. Mary told him about the moor, the secret garden and Dickon. They became friends.
Mary has started to visit Colin nearly every day. But one day Mary was in secret garden with Dickon so she couldn't come to see Colin. Colin got very angry and they started to shout at each other very crossly. When Colin said he was going to die again, Mary wanted to see his back to make him sure about he wasn't ill. And they saw that Colin's back was as straight as other children's.
After that terrible fight, Colin met Dickon and he liked Dickon. They were working in the secret garden every day and Colin felt so much healthier and stronger. He could even started to walk.
One day, Mr. Craven had an interesting dream about his wife. And Dickon's mother wrote a letter and told him he had to go back home. He came back home as Dickon's mother said. He heard voices inside the secret garden. He came in to figure out what was it and he saw an unbelievable view. His son was totally healthy. Colin ran into her father's arms and they both knew it was the start of a father-son relationship they had never had before.