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The Starling And The Apple Tree This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Only one starling a year was chosen to join those birds considered to be the most wise and the most accomplished, who made their nests in the branches of the Old Apple Tree, situated on a hilltop, far above the rest. To be chosen to perch in that tree was the highest honor one could achieve. The tree was the oldest in the country, and it had long been a symbol of strength and competence. Every spring, a test was given to see if any bird was worthy to join this exclusive group.

One starling, named Lily, belonged to the flock of starlings that lived in the valley, below Old Apple Tree Hill. Lily was recognized by her community as creative and compassionate, and occasionally quite clever. Her nest was intricately woven, with hay from the local milking barn, and grasses mixed with multi-colored mums from the nearby meadow.

Lily enjoyed helping others repair and build their nests, without expecting gifts in return. She had a sunny disposition and was beloved by all who knew her. Although she was not yet a mother, she often spent long hours warming the eggs of others whose conflicting responsibilities took them elsewhere.

Lily was blessed with the most beautiful chirp in the region. Her song greeted the rising sun in the morning and bade it farewell in the evening. There was no creature alive, within earshot, who didn't benefit from being in her audience. And there was no starling in her flock who didn't believe the award of merit would be hers when it came her time to be tested.

Lily prepared long and hard for the test, but it favored the birds who could simply fly the highest. Flying high was not one of Lily's strong points and she was unable to dominate the event. In the end, a starling who rarely participated in the community, but who possessed the strongest set of wings, was granted a branch in the Old Apple Tree.

Saddened by her loss, Lily questioned why such an important test failed to address her talents. But the test's administrators insisted that flying high was a proven test of aptitude and could predict the likeliness of an individual achieving success in life.



Moral: An aptitude test is no measure of an individual. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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