How Flamingos Got Long Legs and Pink Feathers

May 8, 2008
By MacKenzie Stahl, Barrington, IL

In a small community of land-dwelling animals in a desert-like region south of the equator, there resided a brown flamingo. Now this particular flamingo happened to live up to some negative stereotypes that revolved around his kind in these parts. Unfortunately for him, a lot of the other animals tended to give him a hard time based on certain attributes he possessed. Flamingo was the only animal in his whole town that was small and boring. The elephants laughed at him because he was too tiny to play any games with them without getting stepped on. The eagles scoffed at him because he wasn't able to fly. The snakes teased him because he wasn't as colorful as they were. The monkeys howled when he tried to talk because of his quiet voice. On top of all that, he had an abnormally long, ugly tail which accounted for its fair share of the insults he received. The whole town had made fun of him and taken him as a joke. They had told Flamingo he was worthless. Wait until they see I'm not a joke. Who will be laughing then?

One day some of his fellow animal neighbors all started to pick on him when he went outside to get his mail. For the record, and never in aid of flamingo, this was not an uncommon occurrence with the desert community. Actually, it was a pretty typical part of flamingo’s life. Now normally this did not bother him so much, and he had began to
be able to ignore it. But for some reason on this day, Flamingo felt an uncontrollable urge to finally do something about this endless antagonizing. He formulated a plan in his head throughout the remainder of his day and came to the conclusion that he needed to do something drastic in order for him to have a respectable place in his society.
The following day he awoke with a feeling of determination. He was prepared for a day to be remembered. He quickly began to venture down to the watering hole. On his way there, he deeply and intricately pondered how he would word his upcoming announcement. He had the whole thing pretty much worked out in his head; short and simple, to the point. Realizing he had slowed down while thinking, Flamingo immediately began to speed up as his waddle turned into a jog. He cringed thinking back to what had happened the previous day. Why did everyone have to be so mean? Why was I chosen to be the animal who sticks out?
Flamingo arrived at the water source and casually bounced up to the edge of the pond to refresh himself. He bent down so to the naked eye he was only getting a drink of water, but in all reality, he scanned the crowd for who would hear his proclamation. He decided the time was finally right to speak up. He had caught everyone's ear when he made an announcement that he would be traveling through the Falcon State Desert.
"Th-th-the Falcon State Desert? You've got to be kidding me. You'll get killed!" the snakes stammered.
"No one who goes through there comes out alive! The Bandit Falcons will eat you," the monkeys warned.
"It'll take days! You're much too small. You'll never make it, “the elephants jeered. Yet as a response, the cool and calculated bird of unique appearance naught but chuckled to himself as he was ready to prove everyone wrong. He made his departure that day with the perseverance of an iron horse and the wind at his back.
The wind blew harder and harder as Flamingo continued on his trek through the desert, still fuming from days before. He had been hiking through the Falcon State Desert up the edge of Venezuela for many days now, and was very tired of traveling. His brown feathers were caked with mud and sand blown up from the desert floor. His short skinny legs lifted him only an inch off the ground and made it very hard for him to walk as far as he had. Flamingo huffed as he quickly waddled up and down sand dune after sand dune. His journey seemed like it would never end, and at the top of every hill he expected to be able to see some form of refuge from the intense heat and the lack of water, but was continually disappointed. Then as he was far to near being too tired to walk any longer he spotted it; a green dot in the distance. Motivation surged through him as he racked his brains for some kind of explanation. Then he recalled a story he had heard when he was but a wee flamingo lad. At the end of the falcon state desert, there is a well of wishes. No one has ever made it to this legendary phenomenon, but rumor has it your desires will be rewarded upon your arrival. Energy infiltrated his exhausted body like moths to a flame.
Flamingo began to sprint with everything he had towards the oasis. The wind was so hard that as he entered the final valley, he needed to close his eyes because the sand was being whipped through the air by Mother Nature like a pit-bull would attack a rag doll. As he ran with his eyes closed and head down, he began to feel an upward incline at his feet. With every bit of strength he could muster he tore at the ground with his feet with an intensity he had yet to call upon in his life. He finally opened his eyes and saw he was near reaching the top and he gave it one final push; his last stand. As he reached the peak his vision went blurry and he collapsed on the desert floor.
He awoke the next morning in a cool puddle of water amidst the lush jungle growth that inhibited the area he was in. The oasis that contains the well of wishes! Did I actually make it?!?! Flamingo gathered himself and rose to his feet as he began to trot through the fog into the middle of the oasis. He saw a clearing up ahead and noticed a shallow but crystal clear pool of water in the center of the area. He approached it with extreme anticipation and realized he had not thought of what he should wish for. Originally he would have wished that everyone would like him, but his journey had given him a whole new perspective on life. He understood that he could be happy by not having unfair biases and stereotypes of his own, he could feel good about himself. The water began to glow and emanate an aura of light and energy that was unlike anything this bird had ever seen. It was as if the well had sensed his thoughts and freed all of his fellow village dwellers of their negative thoughts and energy.
He stepped into the pond and the mud began to wash off of him only to reveal the brightest, most radiant pink feathered coat a bird of his kind could desire. He felt as is his legs were being lengthened and his tale was being retracted. He sensed the reality he was in being sucked away from him, as if he was in some kind of vacuum. His vision blurred and he felt as if he was spinning. When everything came back into focus and his world settled down he saw his village less than five hundred yards away. As the sun set in the distance, he smiled to himself as he knew he had really changed lives for the better. He casually strutted towards his village into the sunset, he returned an enlightened flamingo.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Parkland Book